Saturday, April 16, 2011

Capsule Review: Serpico (1973)

Al Pacino confirmed his position as one of the great young Hollywood actors by following up his star-making performance in The Godfather with a very different portrayal of organized crime. Based on the non-fic­tion book by Peter Maas, Sidney Lumet's Serpico details the deep corruption that plagued the police force in New York city throughout the late 60s. Pacino plays policeman Frank Serpico in a surprisingly subdued fashion, with occasional emotional outbursts being the result of his near constant frustration with the bribery and unscrupulousness that surrounded him, and is tolerated (if not promoted) by those further up in the force. Alienated from his fellow officers, Serpico finds himself an unwilling martyr for simply trying to do his job honestly.Even Serpico's Green­wich Village apartment separates him from the buttoned down officers who despise his long hair and playfulness, and Lumet makes good use of authentic New York locations and avoids flashiness to tell the story economically and intelligently. Hampered slightly by a distracting soundtrack, this is still an engrossing story told with obvious passion from all involved.

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