Friday, November 29, 2013

Donnie Brasco (Extended Cut) (1997)

Donnie BrascoBased on a true story that is so amazing and shocking, "Donnie Brasco" is a fantastic film that hooks you from start to finish. With stars like Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, and many more, this is a movie that should be seen by all.

FBI Joseph D. Pistone is an undercover agent who's goal is to get into the violent and unpredictable mob world. He goes the by name of Donnie Brasco. Soon he is discovered by Lefty Ruggiero, who sees potential in the kid, not aware of who Brasco really is. He brings him into the family and the world of the Mafia. It doesn't take long for Joseph to get so deep into the action that he starts to become one of them. This unforgettable picture shows us that sometimes you can become what you chase if you're in too long, and that in order to catch a monster you may become one yourself in the process.

I became addicted to this film in no time. It's one of my favorites that I have seen over and over again, and it hasn't gotten old yet. The acting and directing is all fantastic. Al Pacino really shines, as always, and Johnny Depp gives an Academy Award performance as the FBI agent. He actually spent time with the real Joseph Pistone to get his character down, as he did when he was working on "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Michael Madsen is also terrific and can once again send chills down our spines just as he did in "Reservoir Dogs."

This new special edition of the DVD is much, MUCH better than the original. First off, the sound and picture quality has really improved. Especially the picture; it looks a lot better than the first version that came out. There are also a lot of extras, including features such as director's commentary, and exclusive featurette, the original featurette, deleted scenes, trailers, and more. The featurettes are very interesting and makes the DVD that much more special. A very high quality special edition, if you ask me.

All in all, "Donnie Brasco" is an outstanding picture on all fronts. Filled with drama and suspense, this is a film that will take you deep into the world of the Mafia. The only question is how far would you go? And would you risk becoming one of them when it's all said and done? Excellent all the way!

None of us knows what it's really like to go undercover. We think we do but we don't. Sure, we've watched the movies, read the books and all but what it's doing to your soul, your family life, everything, that it destroys all you have and feel, that is what this movie is about.

When Lefty (Al Pacino as a low level mobster) takes in Donnie (Johnny Depp as an undercover FBI agent) he tells him "Wiseguys are always right. Even when they're wrong they're right," he is wrong. Dead wrong. He just doesn't know it yet.

Lefty treats Donnie as a son and Donnie gets emotionally involved. In his own way Lefty has a big heart, his hopes and dreams. But the dirt gets in the way and they don't materialize.

Bit by bit both Lefty's and Donnie's lives derail. Donnie starts losing his wife and kids and Lefty his rank in the (crime)family.

Can they do anything to save what's left? Do they want to and if so, what is more important, life as it was, friendship or the uncertain future? Does risking everything justify the costs?

Based on a true story this marvelous film shows the dirt as it is. Forget about the romance of other mobster movies and enter loyalty and misery. Both Al Pacino and Johnny Depp give larger than life performances. The supporting cast is terrific as is the directing. The 70s style indoor lighting helps turn it into a timeless masterpiece.

The Blu-ray disc is sharp as can be. This one should be in your collection.

Buy Donnie Brasco (Extended Cut) (1997) Now

"Donnie Brasco" is a true mafia masterpiece and what is more interesting about it is that it is based on an amazing true story. This is the true story of FBI undercover agent Joseph D. Pistone, who when faced with the task of infiltrating a New York City "family," he not only does that, but he did it with perfection. As you will soon learn with this movie, FBI undercover agent Joseph Pistone infiltrated and stayed within this "family" for six years and if it weren't for his superiors' intervention he would've stayed with them even longer, as he was within months of becoming a "made" wise guy when he was brought out.

"Donnie Brasco" represents a sort of coming out for Johnny Depp in that this was really his first adult dramatic role that didn't portray him as a teenager or something in the Science Fiction range. He truly deserves all of the accolades that he earned for this role. Al Pacino's performance was superior for this movie. In so many movies he's made, he's played pretty much the same guy with a different name, this is not the case with his role in "Donnie Brasco," he truly became the character he was playing. This was an Oscar winning performance on his part, the only missing part was the actual best supporting Oscar. The performances by Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, Anne Heche and all of the other actors in this outstanding film all served beautifully in making this film the true silver screen masterpiece that it is.

It's kind of odd that British director Mike Newell of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" fame would get the directing nod for "Donnie Brasco" but in the end, it worked out perfectly and he deserves a great amount of credit for the "style" and "atmosphere" of this film. The score for "Donnie Brasco" plays perfectly with every scene of the film, serving to enhance the story.

The premise:

FBI undercover agent Joseph D. Pistone is tasked with the mission to infiltrate Lefty Ruggiero's (Al Pacino) mob family. Posing as a jewel broker Donnie Brasco, Agent Pistone does this with apparent ease. He soon learns that this will not be a quick task to complete and his six year run begins, jeopardizing his family, his career and his life as he becomes so intertwined with this crime family and starts to care about his mob "mentor" Lefty, whose life will become forfeit when the truth is revealed.

For any fan of the "mob" movie genre, I highly recommend this film as it gives a perfect look at the mob lifestyle and it easily ranks up there with many of the famous mob movies. This movie will certainly bear multiple viewings. {ssintrepid}

Special Features:

Director's Commentary

Exclusive Featurette "Donnie Brasco: Out from the Shadows"

Original Featurette

Deleted Scenes with or without commentary

Isolated Music Score

Theatrical trailers

Talent Files

Production notes

Read Best Reviews of Donnie Brasco (Extended Cut) (1997) Here

Working undercover as a jewel dealer Joe Pistone (Johnny Depp) earns the trust of Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino). Lefty vouches for Joe and brings him into his mob family. What was supposed to be a three-month assignment for Joe turns into several years. Joe begins to drift away from his own family and deep into the mob. He and Lefty form a strong bond and a father son relationship. When the investigation is coming to an end Joe realizes that his only way out of the mob is to betray his friend.

The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. It is a very nice transfer the only flaw I noticed was a hint of grain occasionally. A Dolby Digital 5.0 audio track is provided. The surround speakers are hardly used. When they are its mostly only for music. With a movie like this that is mostly dialogue its understandable. This special edition DVD has several extras. The highlights are a director's commentary, two featurettes, deleted scenes and trailers. The featurette titled "Donnie Brasco: Out of the Shadows" was excellent. It gives a lot of background on the film and contains several interviews with the cast and crew. The deleted scenes are nice to see but I can understand why they were cut from the film.

For those of you thinking this is just another mob movie, you are wrong. Instead of showing the top of the crime family tree like many other films this one shows the bottom. It shows soldiers that are scraping at the bottom of the barrel and are just trying to make ends meet. This is a film that stands on its own on many levels. It was perfectly cast with Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Michael Madsen and Anne Heche. If you like mob movies or just fine acting this is one film you need to see.

Want Donnie Brasco (Extended Cut) (1997) Discount?

Filmed entirely in NYC and some in N.J. "Donnie Brasco" is one suspensful realistic gangster film. Excellent classical soundtrack by composer Patrick Doyle. Great acting from Al Pacino and Johnny Depp portraying real life gangster Benjamin Ruggierio, and N.Y.P.D. officer Joeseph D. Pistone. I swear at times watching this movie Pacino and Depp were the charachters and forgot that these superstar actors were acting. The late Bruno Kirby plays an excellent but lovable gangster. Mike Madsen plays a tough authentic, believable Boss Sonny Black. The story for "Donnie Brasco" was taken from the real eyewitness, and experiences of former cop Joe D. Pistone. From what I've read, and from what I've seen on tv documentaries on the real "Donnie Brasco", this movie is portrayed as close to the eyewitness accounts and experiences of Joseph D. Pistone as possibly could be portrayed. Director Mike Newell did an incredible job not only directing, but going to the real Little Italy in Manhatten and speaking to real life gangsters to get a real feel of the life that real mobsters lead. Newell really did his research on Donnie Brasco, as the result is one fine realistic gangster movie. Believe me there is nothing Hollywwood about this gangster movie. "Donnie Brasco" may not be as good as "The Godfather" movies or "Goodfellas" but as I will tell you, it is more authentic than any of the afore mentioned movies. Donnie Brasco is gory at times. There is a scene were Donnie (officer Joe D. Pistone) was forced to cut up dead human bodies to get rid of the evidence. During this time, when the real Joseph D. Pistone was undercover (1976-1981) real gangsters in NYC were performing these horrible acts. During these times real life gangsters like Roy Demeo and his Gang were performing these violent acts at will and made quite a name for themselves in La Cosa Nostra. Even the N.Y.C. Godfather himself Paul Castellano was very intimidated by the likes of Roy Demeo and his savage gang. Castellano although intimidated, tolerated Demeo for his awesome earning rackets. "Donnie Brasco" brings this horrific gangster act to life as well as the illegal money rackets going on at this time. Director Mike Newell read up on Roy Demeo and his Gang and brought their actions to the screen and left Hollywood make believe far behind. All I can say is watching "Donnie Brasco" made me see the guts undercover officer Joseph D. Pistone had. It really took a special person to do what Joe did. For all his troubles, all Pistone got was a $500.00 check, a medal and a several year stay in the Witness Protection Program. Joe D. Pistone lives in annomity today as there is still a price on his head. "Donnie Brasco" is highly recommended viewing as it is portrayed realistically and authentically. Director Mike Newell definintly left the hollywood gangster out of this film........

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