in about 100 words or less
US 147m, Colour
Director: Mike Newell; Cast: Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Michael Madsen, Anne Heche, Bruno Kirby
Donnie Brasco is a well-scripted and intelligent crime drama based on the real-life events of Joseph D. Pistone – a young FBI agent, played by Depp, who infiltrates a New York City crime syndicate during the 1970s. By befriending Lefty, an established hit man, played by Pacino, Brasco finds himself within a place of trust within the mob and quickly establishes himself as a useful associate. This trust, however, comes at a cost to Pistone, who begins to lose himself to his undercover character, which eventually damages his relationship with his wife and family. The film’s strength is its realistic and unapologetic portrayal of the stress and danger of Pistone’s undercover work and the toll on his personal life and psyche (Klaus Ming June 2011).