7.3/10
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108 user 41 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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Terry Noonan
... Frankie Flannery
... Jackie Flannery
... Kathleen Flannery
... Nick
... Finn
... Pat Nicholson, Frankie's Lieutenant
... Borelli
... Stevie McGuire
... Irene
... Jimmy Cavello
... Frankie's Man
Michael Cambridge ... Frankie's Man (as Brian Burke)
... Frankie's Man
... Frankie's Man (as Michael Cunningham)
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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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

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Release Date:

14 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Im Vorhof der Hölle  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,911,542
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Sean Penn, Gary Oldman and three Oscar nominees: Ed Harris, Burgess Meredith and John C. Reilly. See more »

Goofs

About half way through when Terry tells Kathleen that he is a cop, behind them an arm can be seen as it waves past for a couple of seconds. See more »

Quotes

[about Stevie]
Jackie Flannery: Is he fucked up or is he fucked up?
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Connections

References The Shootist (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Child O' Mine
Written by Slash, Axl Rose, Steven Adler, Izzy Stradlin, and Duff McKagan.
Performed by Guns N' Roses
Published by Guns N' Roses Music
Courtesy of Geffen Records
By arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
Electrifying portrait of one man's battle with his own demons.
7 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

Once in a while a movie comes along that is a gift for an actor. It is like a golden opportunity that has been given to them, but there is a catch… they have to deliver. Three actors were given that opportunity in State of Grace: Ed Harris, Gary Oldman and Sean Penn. All three deliver performances that easily merit a Best Actor Oscar, but it is the chemistry between Penn and Oldman that issue forth true gold. Oldman completely and utterly loses himself in the role of Jackie Flannery, a small-time Irish gangster that happens to be the younger, impulsive, reckless brother of the head boss of the Irish mob in Hell's Kitchen, Frank Flannery. Frank is brokering a deal with the Italian Cosa Nostra that will result in a major windfall of money and power for the much smaller gang of Irish mobsters. Frank is one of the only people who seems to understand how important this deal is, while the rest of the gang bristles against the direction of the much more powerful and organized Mafia. Every time it looks like the deal will go through, some member of Frank's gang does something stupid to insult the Italians, and each time this happens Frank is called upon (by the Italians) to do their retribution upon his own people.

In the midst of this very dangerous situation enters Terry Noonan (Sean Penn), Jackie's best friend from childhood who is now a cop and undercover with the directive to do no less than take down Frank's entire gang. In the beginning Terry seems eager to do his job, but as the reality of what he must do comes crashing down he is torn between his love for his old friend, and his duty as a policeman. This is further complicated by the fact that Jackie's sister Kathleen (Robin Wright Penn) and Terry were childhood sweethearts. As Terry renews his relationship with both Jackie and Kathleen he begins to lose his identity and his soul as he is torn apart by the things he must do as a policeman, what he sees being done by Frank and his gang, and his deepening relationship with Kathleen.

Oldman delivers an explosive performance and he seems to become even more unhinged and unpredictable each moment that he and Penn spend together. The true beauty of his performance is the fact that we know how intelligent Oldman is; yet he is totally believable as this half-witted madman who is rushing towards his own demise. It is Penn though that has the heavy lifting to do, because he doesn't have the luxury of hiding behind the frenetic machinations that Oldman's character does. You actually feel pain as you watch Terry get in deeper and deeper, drinking more and more, sleeping less and less, losing his direction and his mind.

The music by Ennio Morricone is haunting, brooding and electrifying; perfectly suited to the evolving story on screen. As we watch Terry betray his friends and himself, it seems as if pieces of him actually float away, carried on the wings of Morricone's music. Robin Wright Penn also delivers as a young woman who is desperately trying to escape the mean streets of the Kitchen, the violent world of her brothers, and her meager upbringing. She also underestimated what being with Terry would mean, especially after learning Terry's true identity. She is sucked back into what she has tried so hard to become free of, and must watch as her family and Terry disintegrates.

The entire movie is set upon a collision course between Terry and Frank, and when they finally collide, director Phil Joanou films it almost like a dream sequence. The power of this film is how it manages to so vividly portray one man's attempt to finally confront his past and his own character flaws. All of us have demons and we promise and strive to finally confront them, but do we ever? Facing our fears is one thing, but the true measure of a person's character is how we perform when that fear stares into us, face to face. Here, Terry comes full circle and finally confronts the demons of his youth, and the showdown might cost his life.

Watch this film for the terrific performances of all the lead actors, for the fantastic music, the frenetic action, and the moving drama, but watch it also to ask yourself, what are your demons, when will you finally face them and what will happen when you do?


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