Newest Reviews
Female Fight Club
Fateful Findings
Transformers: The Last Knight
Foreigner, The
Clones, The
Monster Hunt
Happy End
Ugly American, The
Ritual of Evil
Vigilante Diaries
Happy Death Day
You Can't Stop the Murders
Legend of the Mountain
Man: The Polluter
Wolf Warrior II
Journey to the Seventh Planet
Ghost Story, A
Lady in the Lake
Devil at Your Heels, The
Paddington 2
Two Jakes, The
Re: Born
Dracula Sucks
Perfect Weapon, The
Hollywood Babylon
True Legend
Die Laughing
Newest Articles
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
  State of Grace Sentimental BlarneyBuy this film here.
Year: 1990
Director: Phil Joanou
Stars: Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, John Turturro, Burgess Meredith, R.D. Call, Joe Viterelli, John C. Reilly, Deirdre O'Connell, Marco St. John, Thomas G. Waites, Michael Cambridge, Michael Cumpsty, Mick Cunningham, James Russo
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Terry Noonan (Sean Penn) has a secret, and he is heading back to New York’s Hell’s Kitchen where he grew up for reasons he is unwilling to disclose. What he has done is be involved with a drugs deal where he apparently shot dead two of his contacts in front of his associate, then ran off, which could have prompted him to seek shelter in his old haunts, but earlier in the day he had been given the guns he was holding by one of the men, Nick (John Turturro), he shot, so it could well be there is a degree of subterfuge occurring. Whatever, once back home he immediately seeks out his childhood friend Jackie Flannery (Gary Oldman) who is delighted to see him and welcomes him with open arms; he is the brother of up-and-coming Irish-American mob boss Frankie (Ed Harris)…

And all three are ludicrously overacting in a crime drama that attempted to do for Irish-American gangsters what a whole bunch of other movies had done for the Italian-American Mafia, only these guys were supposed to be a lot wilder and out of control, so you were offered what you imagine director Phil Joanou wanted to be an answer, or at least a companion piece, to Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America. However, 1990 was the year Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas was released and that was the only mob movie anyone wanted to talk about back then, so State of Grace slipped under the radar somewhat, though it did amass a cult following by and by, mostly from those who responded to its sentimental treatment of thugs.

But while it has that band of champions who will sing its praises and make sure to watch it while getting drunk on St. Patrick’s Day, for everyone else the big deal was rather more difficult to discern. The trouble was everyone in the cast was attempting to outdo one another as far as authentic gritty performing went, which resulted in embarrassing scenes such as a group of them seeing who could yell “Shut the fuck up!” the loudest for what seems like a full minute, as if this passed for great thespianism. Oldman and Penn especially appeared to be in competition to out-macho the other, with a dollop of teary eyed soul searching to deliver something approximating a rounded reading of their roles, but none of it rang true.

Take the dreaded examples of cigarette acting. Many actors love a prop to enable them to adorn their performances with bits of business, but the humble coffin nail was employed to absurd lengths in State of Grace as the cast underlined their characters’ lower class roots by speaking through it held between their lips, or taking a drag in contemplative manner, or gesturing with it for emphasis – you name it, if this lot could find something to do with it to decorate an already ripe piece of acting and once you noticed it was incredibly distracting. There was only one female role of any importance, as Robin Wright declined to puff away but even she was skirting close to parody with combination accent and shoulders out behaviour, as if endeavouring to keep up with the big boys.

You could just about excuse this if the story was able to carry the over the top cast, but the script had everyone going about their days as complete idiots, and only the way that they felt very sorry for themselves was supposed to make them sympathetic. Jackie in particular drinks enough alcohol to fell a horse but keeps jumping around, waving his arms about regardless as Terry fights with the affection he feels for the moron and his guilt at actually being prepared to sell him and his cohorts down the river. The overall effect if you did not buy into the world of violence as somehow noble because of their European roots was unbelievably tiresome, and there was over two hours of it to sprawl through patience-testing limits of endurance for those not enamoured of movie gangsters as it demanded you be. The point was how out of control these individuals were so that they were capable of anything, but it was the actors who were out of control as they chewed the scenery in a film Goodfellas rightly bettered in every respect. Music by Ennio Morricone.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 414 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Jason Cook
Paul Shrimpton
  Jony Clark
  The Elix


Last Updated: