Goodfellas (released the same week as the superior State of Grace) is often thought of as rewriting the book of mob films. But, I think it's easier to seem quote-unquote transgressive when there's no real conflict or centralized story to speak of. My big problem with that film. State of Grace, however, rewrites the book by upending many melodramatic cliches into pure drama by traditional storytelling. That's harder.
***1/2. Another film that seems to have sunken under the radar. Don't miss the opportunity to watch Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, John Turturro, John C. Reilly and Robin Wright in their prime some 28 years ago now. It's an Irish mob movie that doesn' take place in Boston but in NYC. Same bars, same fog, same sense of family. Highly recommended.
An acting masterclass from Penn, Oldman, Wright and Harris. A superb exposition of New York, appropriately atmospheric cinematography and an authentic re-enactment of sub-cultural diaspora. Joanou's best film in a year that was overshadowed by the auteuristic triumph of Scorsese's 'Goodfellas'. 3.5
Released around the same time as Scorsese's GOODFELLAS, this 1990 gem from Phil Joanou and regular collaborator d.p. Jordan Cronenweth was unjustly overlooked. Yes, Gary Oldman is well-known for playing "insane", but his character Jackie Flannery is pure: a product of instincts and loyalty to family and friends. Him and Sean Penn's Terry Noonan belong to a tribe. And when this tribe breaks, all hell breaks loose.