Showing posts with label Barbara Eda-Young. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barbara Eda-Young. Show all posts

24 February 2014

Masters Of Cinema Blu-ray Review - Serpico (1973)

No comments: Links to this post

Genre:
Crime, Drama, Biography
Distributor:
Eureka! Entertainment
Rating: 18
BD Release Date:
24th February 2014 (UK)
Director:
Sidney Lumet
Cast:
Al Pacion, Jack Keghoe, John Randolph, Barbara Eda-Young
Buy: SERPICO (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)


Serpico is one of the crowning achievements in two careers, which had plenty the director Sidney Lumet, and the film’s star Al Pacino. It came off the heels of Sidney Lumet’s little seen but brilliant Sean Connery cop film The Offence and Pacino’s star making role in The Godfather and his equally great performance in Scarecrow.

Al Pacino shines as the title character of Frank Serpico, who starts life out as a uniformed police officer. He gradually discovers a world of police corruption and plans to blow it open. Serpico becomes increasingly idiosyncratic such as read literature not associated with a police officer and basically becomes a hippie. His behaviour makes his partners, superiors to be suspicious of him cause he refuses to take any payoffs. They eventually start to threaten his life.

Sidney Lumet was the undisputedly the king of gritty New York realism and Serpico was the beginning of what would make his name despite working since the 1950s and making many great films by this time. It’s both a pioneering cop film and a brilliant examination of a man who is a flawed moral crusader. Serpico along with The French Connection became the blueprint for the gritty realistic cop film we now know and love today.

The film is also very much a product of the time. It’s a film made at the climax of the Vietnam War, Watergate and the death of the Hippie dream. Lumet was always a political director even though his politics never made his films inaccessible to people of the left or the right is evident in the right leaning Tea Party appropriation of the “I’m not gonna take it anymore” line from his later 70s masterpiece Network despite his liberal politics. It could also just be there were fewer films then and people of all political persuasions would see what was new.

Lumet would return to the topic of police corrupt in the New York police force in later films such as Prince of the City and Q & A but he never bettered Serpico on the subject. Pacino and Lumet really were at the top of the game; both star and actor rarely put a put a foot wrong in the 70s. The most amazing thing about the film is that Pacino and Lumet topped it with their next collaboration Dog Day Afternoon but that’s a different story altogether.

★★★★½

Ian Schultz