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Donnie Brasco: Special Edition

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Donnie Brasco

Current Status:
In Season
127 minutes
Johnny Depp, Anne Heche, Joe Pistone, Mike Newell, Al Pacino
Mike Newell
Paul Attanasio
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a B+

With its sharply observed dialogue and sparing (but effective) use of violence, Donnie Brasco has rightfully earned its place in the Mob-movie pantheon. What this special edition brings to the surface is how much humor director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Paul Attanasio (Quiz Show) injected into the true-life undercover-cop drama. Newell acknowledges this on the disc’s rather dry commentary track — one of several so-so extras, including two behind-the-scenes featurettes and a few deleted sequences — but those revisiting Brasco may be surprised by how many comic notes Al Pacino strikes as washed-up wiseguy Lefty Ruggiero, one of his most fully inhabited roles to date. For the film’s first hour, Pacino is like a well-connected grumpy old man — bickering over Cadillacs and cooking, and barking the all-purpose Cosa Nostra catchphrase, ”fuhgeddaboudit,” to incredulous FBI agent Johnny Depp. Though their relationship (and the film) ultimately hits a heart-wrenching chord, it’s a testament to Pacino’s skill that he mines so much comedy from tragedy — and a shame he isn’t featured more in this special edition’s supplements. B+