Last weekend, I watched ‘Donnie Brasco’. I have not heard about the movie before and so did Smita who picked the DVD since the cover had Al Pacino and Johnny and she thought that I would like it.
And boy, I liked it like hell. Brilliant work by Mike Newell. Its a 1997 movie about a FBI undercover Agent Joe Priston (played beautifully by Johnny) who gets into mafia, gets close to Al Pacino who sort of acts like his mentor, falls in love with Al and after a while he finds himself so much into mafia-dom that it gets difficult to get out of it, for the simple reason that if he does then Leftie (thats the name which Pacino carries in this movie) gets whacked. Its so simple out there.
Mike is an old chap and one quick search on google will let you get up and think more about him, off late he directed ‘Harry Porter and the goblet of fire’ and I just came to know that recently he finished ‘Love in the times of Cholera’, an amazing love story by Garcia Marquez, king of reality-n-illusion. To read more about Mike, click here
Coming back to movie. It starts with Joe trying to get inside the gang by feigning as jewel-guy. After the usual tricks (where Al Pacino tries to validate his jewel knowledge), Left (Pacino) starts to like him and introduces him into the gang. He gives him a new name ‘Donnie’. Some of the gang terminology
“….while introducing if I say…. meet Donnie, a friend of mine…” then it means that you are a in-guy or someone to be trusted and all that where as if you say
“….meet Donnie, a friend of ours……” then you are a made guy 🙂
So Donnie joins the gang, unlike hindi movie he doesn’t have to do any stunts to win hearts. The movie goes with usual Mafia killings, new bosses, whacking etc etc. Over time Donnie gets more and more involved, his relationship with his wife starts getting bad, then to worse. Donnie is now a big cat among them, he starts to neglect FBI. His wife wants to get out of relationship and goes to a counselor. All this while, Donnie and Al Pacino gets closer and closer. When Left’s son gets admitted to hospital (because I guess he took more coke then he could possibly swallow) Joe spends time with Left.
The beauty of the movie is the gradual change in character of the agent, from a normal agent in the beginning to more of a Mafica guy in the end, Joe fights the battle. The character has been developed so well that at all points of time you can feel the dilemma which Joe is having over whether he should expose the mafia and get ‘Leftie’ whacked.
Finally in the end, FBI catches him, gives him a reward of $ 500 for his good work. FBI reached out to Mafia to tell them that its all over. They don’t believe that Donnie was a rat and think that FBI is bluffing them. In the last shot, Left gets a call, he tells his wife that it might be a long evening, gets off his ring, watch and other stuff, most likely he is….
Its based on a true story and if you search on Joe Pristone or Donnie Brasco, you would find lot of text.