Wednesday, 29 February 2012

State of Grace

There were aspects of State of Grace that I remember from before, and is the film which I suggest made Sean Penn an international star and which also featured Ed Harris and Gary Oldman.

The clever opening of the film gives the impression that Terry Noonan born in New York’s Hells kitchen is forced to return from Boston where he had acquired a gun and is involved with a shoot out killing two gangsters in a drugs and money venture. Later we learn that the drug sellers were police wearing vests and with gun firing blanks. The third party at the scene guaranteeing that the authenticity of the incident will be passed on within the criminal underworld.

Terry returns to his roots and re-establishes contact with his childhood friend Jackie played by Gary Oldman whose elder brother (Ed Harris) runs the local Irish Mobsters and their sister Kathleen with whom they were young lovers and where he is surprised she remains unmarried and living in the district.

She has distanced herself from the criminal life of her brothers and is disappointed to find that Terry is involved with them again although their original love is rekindled. This poses a problem for Terry who is in fact undertaking an undercover assignment as member of the police. When under pressure he reveals his identity the girl reacts with horror appreciating that his purpose is to place her brothers in prison.

Jackie, the young brother is a hot head and ambitious to prove himself. Jackie is horrified when a friend is murdered and he believes by the Italian Mafia although in fact it is his brother who carried out the killing in order to make peace with the Mafia. When Jackie encounters three members of the Mafia in a bar one evening there is a fight in which he kills all three. This leads to a sit down meeting between the two heads of families and Frankie(, the gang leader takes the precaution of having the rest of the gang on standby. The deal is for Frankie to kill his brother.

Terry accompanies Jackie to collect $25000 which the brother has requested because he senses that Jackie is under threat. When they are sent to a different location to that where Terry had ranged back up forces Jackie is killed by his brother unseen by Terry who is trying to phone for help.

Much of the film centres on the build up to the annual St Patrick’s Day parade and the sister is left to watch the parade on her own while Frankie and the gang learn that Terry is an undercover cop at a bar. Terry arrives and there is a shoot out when finally Terry and Frankie confront each other. Frankie is shot dead and Terry is shot three times and falls. The film ends without knowing if he survives.

I was impressed by the performances of all three principal actors especially Gary Oldman.

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