State of Grace - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

State of Grace Reviews

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½ January 18, 2017
Terry Noonan (Sean Penn) returns to Hell's Kitchen in New York City after a 10-year absence, where his unpredictable childhood friend Jackie Flannery (Gary Oldman) is involved in an Irish crime organization run by his older brother Frankie (Ed Harris). Terry also rekindles an old relationship with Jackie's sister Kathleen (Robin Wright). Terry is actually working as an undercover cop, and confesses it to Kathleen, who is reluctant to have anything to do with him after being told by her brother Frank that he is now a member of his gang for killing two people, although he explains it was staged with his undercover boss Nick (John Turturro), firing only blanks. Soon, Terry is torn between his loyalty to his friends and his loyalty to his profession...

Janet Maslin, film critic for The New York Times, wrote, "Mr. Joanou attempts to capture the sense of place that defines urban crime, and the ethnic and territorial distinctions that give it shape. He is successful much of the time here." Maslin praised Oldman and Harris, writing, "Jackie Flannery is played by the phenomenal Gary Oldman, who since Sid and Nancy has taken on a string of new accents and dramatic identities with stunning ease", and "Jackie's icy older brother ... is played by Ed Harris with an eeriness to match Mr. Oldman's." Critic Vincent Leo praised Penn's performance, noting, "While Oldman gets the accolades for his energetic performance, it is really Penn's inner demons that provides the film with the right amount of conflict, always letting us be aware that fine lines are the difference between life and death, as well as right and wrong, out in the streets of New York. Is Penn doing the noble thing by taking down the criminals, or is he a rat bastard, disowning himself from the way of life and people who helped him along the way? It's the question that makes him sick to the pit of his stomach, and Penn shows it in his face with almost every scene." Roger Ebert, film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times, felt the film begins as "original and challenging" but then "turns into a story filled with familiar elements". He nevertheless awarded it three stars out of four and had particular praise for the work of Gary Oldman, writing: "Oldman's performance in the movie is the best thing about it...What's best about State of Grace is what's unique to it - the twisted vision of the Oldman character, who lives in a world of evil and betrayal and has somehow thought himself around to the notion that he is doing the right thing." State of Grace has been recognized as a cult classic.

I did see "State of Grace" at the movies when it came out in 1990 as I had strong beliefs it was a great movie and that is almost an understatement. I haven´t changed my opinion since then. "State of Grace" have a familiar core with love, friendship and betrayal as the main topics, but directors Phil Joanou and Michael Lee Baron makes this film stand out due to a fine handling of the script, excellent performances by Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, Ed Harris and Robin Wright, beliveable characters, beautiful cinematography of New York in general and the shady Hell's Kitchen, frenetic action, dramatic moving vibes and gritty tension plus great direction from Joanou/Baron. With such a strong focus on the characters and their lives you need a great cast and "State of Grace" truly has that. Penn delivers on a top level and so does Harris and Wright, but I need to say that Oldman is truly brilliant as the hot-headed madman Jackie. Oldman is a fine actor who can play anything. I can´t think of a better cast. I love the ending that feels like a dream sequence set in slow motion and with that classic western showdown feeling to it. Terry finally faces his demons of his youth and he simply don´t care if it will cost his life. "State of Grace" is truly a great movie in my eyes.
January 14, 2017
This movie is long, boring and NOT that good. decent performances by the cast. It is very slow paced and the only good part is the end shoot out.
December 16, 2016
State of Grace showed a great performance for Sean Penn, but ultimately, Gary Oldman stole the show!
June 20, 2016
Undercover cop must take down a dangerous Hells Kitchen street gang led by Ed Harris.
May 30, 2016
Only the fact that Oldman delivers one of his best performances should make this crime drama a must-see. But 'State of Grace' has so much more to offer. First off, the chemistry between Oldman and Penn is just amazing. Harris and Wright are on top of their game as well. The movie is shot beautifully and the New York setting and score by Ennio Morricone gives it a unique feel to it. The unoriginal story is the only negative really. I wish more people knew about this movie.
February 29, 2016
Just a good old must see crime film set in context of the Irish in Hell's Kitchen.
February 20, 2016
State Of Grace is not only a good movie with a good cast but is also a slick New York gangster movie that puts Cops and Criminals in the same situation. I would like to say the performance by Gary Oldman is praised.
July 14, 2015
The best film of its kind (Goodfellas, Run All Night, Thief) "State of Grace" is an extremely rare example of integrity and heartfelt criminals who aren't proud of what they have to do, an just that very fact that they question or regret their actions makes this a horse of a different color. I absolutely love this film.
½ June 19, 2015
It features good acting (Oldman is amazing as always) and a great final scene. Deserves much more attention.
April 15, 2015
Good Irish mob movie with a suspenseful attitude and decent acting.
½ September 28, 2014
Very good till it runs out of steam at the end.Oldman's bent madman steals the show and no surprise after his demise the movie peters out.
½ September 14, 2014
Depois de tantos filmes focados na máfia italiana, é com bastante agrado que se vê um "State of Grace" que mostra o lado irlandês do crime em Nova Iorque, embora os italianos estejam também muito presentes nesta saga com características claramente Scorsesianas. Paixão, traição e tiroteios, nas ruas de Nova Iorque, costuma ser o suficiente para que um filme valha a pena e este "State of Grace" é realmente enaltecido pela grandeza da cidade que é a mostarda no cachorro destas sagas criminosas. Isto porque, de resto, o filme de Phil Joanou é demasiado exagerado e desorientado na sua duração para ser o "Goodfellas" irlandês. Serve ainda assim para provar que Sean Penn é um dos grandes actores trágicos do seu tempo.
½ June 29, 2014
its no donnie brasco and the ending is a bit of a cop out speaking of cops it would have been nice seeing there view/input in this. instead we have an undercover rogue going after his old neighborhood/friends that dont know hes a cop, pretty much just making things worse. some cast but didnt even realize that was gary oldman
May 11, 2014
Good Irish mob movie with a suspenseful attitude and decent acting.
April 20, 2014
This is a film I've always had a soft spot for. It's a fairly standard mob story about Sean Penn returning to his old Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, finding his greasy haired childhood friend, Gary Oldman, the #2 man in the Irish mob and his older brother, Ed Harris, now the mob boss of the Kitchen. Harris is looking to move up in the world and is starting to align himself with the Italian mob, though Oldman is a wild card who could mess things up. There's also Harris and Oldman's younger sister, Robin Wright, who's doing everything she can to leave the Kitchen and the criminal life behind, but then becomes involved with Penn. Director Phil Joanou is a director I've loved ever since "Three O'Clock High" and regularly made smart and visually arresting films, this one fitting that bill as well. Jordan Cronenweth provided some amazing photography and paints the Hell's Kitchen setting with rich vivid colors. Ennio Morricone did the score (one of his last big American films) and the film was the sole effort by playwright Dennis McINtyre, who died shortly after completing the screenplay. I've read that David Rabe did some rewrites on the screenplay, which may account for some of the more more overwritten speechifying moments in the film that take you out of the gritty dialogue that makes up the rest of the film. There also a good supporting cast that includes John Turturro, Burgess Meredith (in a great one scene performance), R.D. Call (as Harris' very scary henchman), Joe Viterelli as the Italian mob boss and John C. Reilly loser friend of Oldman and Penn's. Reilly was very memorable in "Casualties of War" but it was this film that really made me think this guy can really act and made me remember the guy. Watching this film almost 25 years later, it still holds up and it really makes me want to see a new phone from director Phil Joanou. It's not a perfect film, but it's got great atmosphere, some terrific performances (especially by Oldman and Harris), a great Morricone score, and is a visually sticking film. This is a must see for fans of mob films for fans of Gary Oldman.
April 14, 2014
very underrated gangster film!
March 11, 2014
Oldman? Penn? hellish-well played on this movie.
½ December 31, 2013
Oldman , Penn, Harris in a bit of an overlong gangster film, but it does have itsoutstanding performances, especially oldman. Excelente actuacion aunque es un poco largo, el papel de Oldman es especialmente bueno
½ December 30, 2013
Plot-wise the movie is predictable as hell!
December 18, 2013
St. Patricks day massacre--Tension building mob movie that keeps you watching!!
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