7.2/10
20,773
117 user 50 critic

State of Grace (1990)

A New York cop is recruited to return to his hometown and infiltrate the mob ran by his best friend's brother.

Director:

Phil Joanou

Writer:

Dennis McIntyre

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Terry
Ed Harris ... Frankie
Gary Oldman ... Jackie
Robin Wright ... Kathleen
John Turturro ... Nick
John C. Reilly ... Stevie
R.D. Call R.D. Call ... Nicholson
Joe Viterelli ... Borelli
Burgess Meredith ... Finn
Deirdre O'Connell ... Irene
Marco St. John ... Cavello
Thomas G. Waites ... Frankie's Man
Michael Cambridge Michael Cambridge ... Frankie's Man (as Brian Burke)
Michael Cumpsty ... Frankie's Man
Mick Cunningham ... Frankie's Man (as Michael Cunningham)
Edit

Storyline

Terry Noonan returns home to New York's Hells Kitchen after a ten year absence. He soon hooks up with childhood pal Jackie who is involved in the Irish mob run by his brother Frankie. Terry also rekindles an old flame with Jackie's sister Kathleen. Soon, however, Terry is torn between his loyalty to his friends and his loyalties to others. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bar | anger | betrayal | weeping | gang war | See All (78) »

Taglines:

The Irish mob in Hell's Kitchen. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Joe Viterelli. See more »

Goofs

When Terry and Jackie are shooting at beer bottles on the roof at the start of the film, Terry's bottle is noticeably delayed in shattering after he fires his pistol at it. See more »

Quotes

[about Stevie]
Jackie Flannery: Is he fucked up or is he fucked up?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clerks (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Trip Through Your Wires
Written by U2 (music) / Bono (lyrics)
Performed by U2
Courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

One of Oldman's best
16 November 2000 | by Dodger-9See all my reviews

You don't need to be a film genius to realise the gangster thriller is as old as cinema itself, although by the Seventies, it was looking a little ragged around the edges.

The Godfather revitalised the genre and then things grew quiet again in the land of wise talking hoods and their molls.

Hollywood has always been a place where trends mean a host of movies with the same theme all opening within a few months of each other. After body swap comedies and underwater thrillers in the late Eighties, the turn of the Nineties saw the turn of the post modern gangster drama.

So we had a third helping of The Godfather, Goodfellas, Billy Bathgate, Mobsters, the sublime Miller's Crossing and one of the best of the bunch - State of Grace.

The drama centres on a band of low-level Irish-American hoods who operate in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York City. Rising rents are forcing them out of the neighbourhood, so needless to say, yuppies are not their favourite breed.

Sean Penn is Terry Noonan, a New York cop who used to live in the area, and has been on the road for a few years.

Now he's back and glad to see his old mate Jackie Flannery (Gary Oldman). But inflitrating his band of ne'er do wells soon leads to unbearable dramatic tension and a finale which will leave you hooked.

While Sean has always been an okay actor, Gary blows him off the screen as Flannery, the Irish American gangster who keeps severed hands in his fridge so he can use the fingerprints on his firearms.

Yes, really.

Before Oldman started making big budget confections such as Lost in Space, The Fifth Element and Air Force One, he really proved himself in roles such as this.

A self-confessed alcoholic, he never let the booze get in the way of delivering a knockout performance - although by the time he made the dreadful Scarlet Letter, Gary decided to give the sauce a rest and concentrate on his acting.

One of the reasons that Oldman is one of the most sought after actors in the world is his utterly manic style mixed with a conviction that can chill you to the bone.

Although his performance here isn't quite as focused as corrupt DEA officer, Norman Stansfield in Leon, there's still enough menace in Flannery to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention.

For example: There's a scene in which Flannery takes Noonan along one night when he burns down a construction office on a site that will soon be a yuppie apartment building. Oldman's character decides to make arson fun by pouring the petrol between himself and the door - and then see if he can run through it without killing himself.

Yes, Noonan really is that unhinged but while some actors would have used such pyrotechnics as a dramatic crutch, Gary makes you believe the scene was shot for real.

The supporting cast is also pretty good. Ed Harris has always been excellent value for money in The Abyss and The Rock. Here he is on fine form as the mob leader, and Jackie's brother, Frankie, who attempts to reign in his errant sibling. While the only woman in the film, Robin Wright, is wasted as the love interest, don't worry girls. This is not just a film for the lads.

Ennio Morricone's haunting score perfectly accentuates Phil Joanou's direction and as the title suggests, there is a state of grace to the drama which makes it one of the most under rated big screen gems of the last decade.

Written by Dennis McIntyre (his only screenplay sadly) and photographed by the legendary Jordan Cronenweth of Blade Runner fame, this dark fairytale of New York will haunt many for weeks to come.


37 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 117 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

State of Grace See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$179,927, 16 September 1990

Gross USA:

$1,911,542

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,911,542
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed