Wednesday, 11 September 2013

FILM: Serpico (9/10)

Why did I watch it?
I'm a big fan of Al Pacino but I think I was saw caught up with his career defining turns in The Godfather and Scarface that I neglected to even research any other films of his from this period. Serpico first came to attention by chance in a DVD shop and since then I've been looking to get it watched.

What's it all about?
Based on a true story, NYPD recruit Frank Serpico doesn't fit in with the rest of the boys in blue. Staying true to his principles, Serpico refuses to be part of the corruption evident at all levels of the department. Over the 12 years the film spans, Serpico sacrifices his own happiness and puts his life at risk to stay clean and expose those around him.

Should you watch it?
Absolutely. Everybody should watch this just for Al Pacino's performance alone. Another Oscar nominated, passionate and all round fantastic leading man performance from one of my favourite actors of all time.

Serpico begins with the film's protagonist being escorted to hospital with a gunshot wound to the face and as the police chiefs begin to discuss the ramifications of it being Serpico that was shot and not any other police officer, the audience begins to understand that Serpico isn't just the average cop. It was a brave decision to start the film on this note but it works brilliantly as the audience is aware for the whole film of where Serpico's actions are leading him towards and it makes for gripping viewing as even being at work places his life at risk from those whose motto is to protect and serve.

The film does look dated, the blood in the first few scenes leaves you in no date as to the film's age, but as a character study and crime drama, Serpico really is a great film that I now consider to be a classic.

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