Movie Review: Donnie Brasco (1997)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Al Pacino and Michael Madsen

Directed by: Mike Newell

Donnie Brasco is the true story of FBI undercover agent Joe Pistone, who used the name Donnie Brasco to infiltrate the mafia in New York in the 70’s. As he got deeper into his life as a mafioso he found himself torn between his job and life undercover and his family life.

I generally enjoy movies that are based on or even loosely based on true events and this was no exception. Johnny Depp plays the title character and puts in a stellar performance for the majority of the movie. His performance isn’t that much of a surprise as around the release of this movie he was putting in a host of good, quality performances, unlike the majority of movies he’s featured in over the course of the last decade or so, The Rum Diary and Transcendence both spring to mind. Al Pacino plays Lefty, a mafia veteran who trusts Brasco and introduces and vouches for him and provides Depp with a way in to conduct his undercover work. Pacino also puts in a terrific performance, despite being a little mumbled at times. Both Depp and Al Pacino share very good chemistry together and are supported by a decent performance by Michael Madsen. The rest of the cast though are very bland and are largely replaceable. Donnie Brasco is definitely worth watching for people who enjoy a good gangster flick, while it has its flaws they are few and far between.

Thankfully after yesterday’s calamitous start to the new year with Dorian Gray, Donnie Brasco has put me on the right track, let’s hope it can continue.


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