Movie Donnie Brasco (1997)

Watched 20100627 (Netflix, Instant)
Watched 20150319 (Netflix, Instant)
Donnie Brasco (1997) Mike Newell. 127 min [based on the autobiography Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia (1988) by Joseph D. Pistone]

Donnie Brasco / Joseph D. Pistone (Johnny Depp)
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20100627: [20100627][20150319 Edit]
Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.

Benjamin 'Lefty' Ruggiero (Al Pacino)
Overall, this was a great movie, but I will also try to compare it with The Departed (2006).

"Forget about it."

Intuitively, I like The Departed more. Going past the intuition, it has more action, more climatic events, bigger brawls, and a strong finish. In addition, Donnie Brasco was less about fitting in and more about fitting in too well. As a result, there was generally less tension in the movie.

Maggie Pistone (Anne Heche)
From my point of view, the cast in The Departed was also bigger (by popularity) than the cast in Donnie Brasco. Sure you have Al Pacino and Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco, but with The Departed you have Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson.

Finally, while The Departed was a remake of the Hong Kong film Internal Affairs (1990), Donnie Brasco is based on real-life events as depicted in Joseph D. Pistone's book Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia. Perhaps this restricted the plot of the movie and kept it grounded.

Donnie spends Christmas at Left's home.
Note: Anne Heche, Maggie Pistone in Donnie Brasco, played the female lead in Six Days Seven Nights (1998).

Today I watched Donnie Brasco again and I think I enjoyed it more than the first time I watched it. While watching it, I thought the story would heavily involve cocaine, but I probably just confused the plot of Donnie Brasco with that of American Gangster (2007) (which apparently involves heroin, not cocaine).

Sonny Black (Michael Madsen)
In any case, the movie is character driven and as you watch, there is no mistake that Donnie (Johnny Depp), despite being undercover, cares for Lefty (Al Pacino). While I generally enjoy story-driven movies more than character-driven ones, the relationship built here was coupled with a lingering danger.

Instant Comments:
Michael Madsen from Reservoir Dogs (1992)

"Forget about it."
The lion.
"I'm not becoming like them Maggie, I am them."
Earlier Lefty says that you put the hundred dollar bills on the outside of your money. His final possessions reveal that the bills on him are perhaps just fives and ones (because the five is on the outside).

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