(Review originally written at 5 September 2007)

Lets face it, all of the best gangster movies were all made before the '90's. That however doesn't mean that some good gangster movie are stopped being made. "Donnie Brasco" is such a good movie, that's a typical gangster movie with most of the usual ingredients, with as an extra touch some drama added to it.

Perhaps that the movie tries to be a bit too dramatic at times. Some moments feel too forced and fabricated, just to enhances the movie its dramatic moments. It's just not always interesting and distracts from the movie its main plot. Still lot of things work out, such as the growing sympathy, from Donnie Brasco/Joseph D. 'Joe' Pistone for the small time gangster Lefty, who has never really made it- and gets drawn into the gangster-life. But lots of things also don't. Such as the whole plot with Pistone's wife and children.

The main story is good and compelling. Its all the more interesting since its a true story. Its a typical gangster movie story that is solidly written, with all of the much needed ingredients and characters in it. Genre fans will most definitely be not disappointed with this movie.

Al Pacino is as great as you would expect from him, in a this sort of movie. Johnny Depp also suits his role well. James Madesen also plays a rather big role in the movie but I don't know, he sort of feels out of place in a this sort of gangster movie. Works for Tarantino movies but just not the 'Scorsese type' of movies, so to speak. Further more the movie also has Paul Giamatti and Tim Blake Nelson in small roles, before they were really known.

Too bad that at the time of its release this movie never really got the praise it deserved. The people mostly ignored the movie, myself included. Luckily now more and more people start to 'rediscover' this movie and are given it the praise it deserves. For "Donnie Brasco" is a well made gangster movie, that perhaps was made at the wrong time, when the gangster genre was already presumed death and dried up. It's the same reason why "Casino" failed. Who knows, if this movie was made in the '70's, people might regard it as a classic by now.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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