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DVD: SERPICO

| 10 May 2018 | Reply

DVD: SERPICO
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Starring Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe
Shock Entertainment
Dec 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9/10

Based on Paul Maas’s biography of NYPD cop Frank Serpico, who went from uniformed beat cop to undercover detective and regaled against the deeply ingrained corruption in the force, Serpico was a breakout 1973/74 hit around the world. The guy refused to take a slice of payoffs, faced bullying and distrust from fellow officers, then when he decided to expose the corruption all around him, he was harassed and eventually shot in the face during a drug bust, before accepting a commendation and moved to Switzerland.

Serpico’s whistle blowing prompted New York Mayor John Lindsay to appoint The Knapp Commission into corruption in the NYP, which was a huge deal at the time.

Lumet brings a gritty realism to the film, using his cast’s inexperience to his advantage. Even Pacino, his star, had only The Godfather under his belt before taking on this role. If anything, Pacino downplays Frank Serpico compared to his later larger-than-life starring roles, but his performance is so everyman, so real, that it is irresistible.

Al Pacino was nominated for an Academy Award for his brilliant performance, and won his first Golden Globe for Serpico. It remains a powerful indictment of corruption and a beacon of what one person can do when they refuse to ‘go with the flow’ and face down corruption, despite the ostracisation he suffered.

Shane

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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