Donnie Brasco - 10 stars out of 10
“The Godfather” and “Goodfellas” are so iconic that there isn’t really space for any other crime film in the conversation, but “Donnie Brasco” will forever be the sleeper in this race. I am not foolish enough to suggest that this film is better than the aforementioned classics, but it does set itself apart by approaching the mob from a different angle: the FBI. This true story plays out perfectly as Joe Pistone (aka Donnie Brasco) is drawn so far into the Mafia that he has trouble separating his alias from his real life. Johnny Depp is magnificent as Pistone and it may be his greatest emotional role. The film has a few iconic moments, particularly Depp’s “forget-about-it” explanation. The real draw of this film is Al Pacino. Just when you think that he’s played his last great role, he steps into the shoes of Lefty Ruggiero. Lefty is not the type of Mafia member that we are used to in the movies. He is loyal to a fault and continually passed over by the family, struggling to make ends meet and wondering what has happened to his life. Pacino captures that frustration with perfection. I did not expect much from Anne Heche (especially after seeing her in the “Psycho” remake), but she was absolutely stunning. The emotions behind her dialogue as she confronts her changing husband have resulted in one of my favorite lines from any movie: “Why do you hate me, when I love you so much?” I also have to point out that Paul Giamatti and, no matter how small the role, he makes every movie better. This film was honored with a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay but with movies like “The Fully Monty” and “L.A. Confidential” in the running, it is hard to believe that this was not nominated for Best Picture. “Donnie Brasco” is an amazing true story that will satisfy your need for the mob while letting the good guys win for once.