Serpico (1973)


Al Pacino stars in a true life story of an honest cop who is stonewalled by his superiors and hated by his peers when he tries to expose the institutionalised corruption of the police department.

Pacino puts in a typically strong performance as a man fighting alone against the system, and he and Lumet bring a gritty realism to the proceedings. The supporting characters seemed to flit in and out of the story at random intervals however, which means that Pacino never really gets to share any relationships or dialogue of any real depth leaving the story feeling a little dry and uninvolving. I also felt that it concentrated a little too much on his domestic situation which is clearly far less interesting than the action on the streets which combined with the painfully misplaced and corny soundtrack made it feel more like soapy melodrama than a cop drama in places. When the investigation finally begins in earnest, it is worth waiting for but it does seem a very long time in coming.

On the whole a solid, well acted character driven cop film that didn’t quite live up to its reputation for me, but if you are a fan of Al Pacino it is certainly worth seeing if only for his performance.



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