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Donnie Brasco (1997)

(R) 127 mins

Plot Summary: An undercover FBI agent’s close friendship with a gangster endangers both their lives.

Cast: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Bruno Kirby, Michael Madsen, James Russo, Anne Heche

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: Paul Attanasio

Producers: Patrick McCormick, Alan Greenspan, Mark Johnson, Barry Levinson, Louis Digiaimo, Gail Mutrux

Serious Jest:  (Must Own)  This is one of the all-time best gangster flicks, and, not surprisingly, based on a true story.  Depp’s versatility as an actor is amazing, and he actually stole the show from Pacino.  The whole cast is first-class.  The story is also solid, and the script is captivating.  This movie is simultaneously a tutorial about the Mafia (although I’m sure some of it is not exactly accurate), both its celebrity-like and brutal, dog-eat-dog sides; an examination of the psychological toll that undercover agents have to endure when they make people their closest friends for years only to build a case against them; the similarities in some characteristics of law enforcement officers and the people they hunt; and an example of how law enforcement, firefighting, and military jobs can absolutely rip a family apart (that’s why it is important for all family members to be prepared for the sacrifices that they will be forced to make).  To this last point, Heche was brilliant in displaying the frustrations, insecurities, loneliness, love, and strength of an agent’s wife, who is forced to shoulder a great amount of patience, understanding, and courage herself in support of her husband.

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About Serious Jest

Film & TV Reviewer by Choice, Attorney at Law, Marine to the Corps (excuse the pun), Nupe Under Pressure, and MC by Nature

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