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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A character acting free for all
Phil Joanou had an incredible palette of talent to work with in creating this dark and troublesome work of art. Even the lesser parts are filled with personalities such as John Turturro, Robin Wright (then without the Penn), RD Call, John C. Reilly and Burgess Meredith. The score composed by Ennio Morricone has a haunting, eerie saunter, infected with an obvious full note...
Published on June 2, 2005 by Torval Mork

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A GANGSTER FILM WITH A UNIQUE AND ORIGINAL STYLE.
*** 1/2 stars rating for this film. "State Of Grace" is not a copy of "The Godfather" or "GoodFellas", it's a story about a second-rated group of gangsters that are trying to gain respect and territory in New York. The first thing that you can notice in "State Of Grace" is the cast: Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, Ed Harris, Robin Wright,...
Published on February 10, 2004 by Alejandro Cortes


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A character acting free for all, June 2, 2005
By 
Torval Mork (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: State of Grace (DVD)
Phil Joanou had an incredible palette of talent to work with in creating this dark and troublesome work of art. Even the lesser parts are filled with personalities such as John Turturro, Robin Wright (then without the Penn), RD Call, John C. Reilly and Burgess Meredith. The score composed by Ennio Morricone has a haunting, eerie saunter, infected with an obvious full note that jerks you out of its hypnotic trance. Watching this film in 2005 takes one back to a number of other great and powerful films of the early 90's that used the noir anti-heroes as their central character. Comparing State of Grace to Abel Ferrara pieces such as Bad Lieutenant and King of New York would not be far-fetched.
Penn's performance as Terry is wrought with inner turmoil, culminating in his bedside confession to Wright's Kathleen. While explaining Hell's Kitchen and it's irk to Turturro he wanes "we're Irish, all we know how to do is drink," a telling testimony that typifies the culture soon to be taken over by the newly christened Clinton inner-city development. His inward reflection is mirrored by the exuberance of Jackie, played with perfection by Oldman. With his cavalier swagger he seems to lack the part of the genetic code that relays fear. Jackie takes risk to new levels while seriously jeopardizing older brother Frankie's (Harris) plans to form an alliance with elements of the Italian mob. Harris's taught composure throughout the film is a fine study in character definition; a true Jeckyl and Hyde persona, playing the suburban family man by day, and slitting the throats of childhood friends by night.
We've seen little in the form of feature offerings from Joanou, aside from U2's Rattle and Hum and Heaven's Prisoners. It is interesting to note his continuing contribution to U2's music video collection, as well as a number of TV commercials. His close association with the mega band lent a big break in acquiring music rights for his 2000 production Entropy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood, guts and betrayal in gritty neon Westside New York., January 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: State of Grace [VHS] (VHS Tape)
From the opening scenes where a hood describes how to punish a disreputal dog you get the feeling that State of Grace is not going to have a happy ending. What it does have is an array of outstanding performances, an intricate feel for place and a dark brooding atmosphere that engulfs all and sets the tone for the blood thirsty tradgey. The basic plot (which reveals itself after the throwing opening) has Sean Penn inflitrating a gang of Irish/Americans who are on the verge of setting up an alliance with the Mafia. Penn, a childhood friend of the ruling Flannary brothers (Gary Oldman and Ed Harris) and ex lover of their sister (Robin Wright) returns to Hells Kitchen, Manhatten. Ten years away and now an undercover cop, he rejoins his old friends participates in the typical wild and reckless lifestyle of ambitious gangsters and resumes his love affair with Wright. Duty,friendship,love and honour are all challenged as Penn gets sucked into a violent vortex. The "State of Grace" that he looks for ultimately comes in bullets. What makes State of grace stand out from most gangster movies is the ferousity of the performances. Gary Oldamn as the younger Flannery brother, Jackey poetrays a character that is unforgetable.How Oldman did not even get nominated for an Oscar is beyond me. Jackey Flannery with his worn out black leather jacket, greasy unwashed hair is a volcano of negative energy.He smokes non stop,embraces violence like some berserk warrior and swears moans and loves as if everything is his last breath. Oldamns success is however that when he is murdered by his equally vicious more ambitious and calculating brother, we feel for him. For all his violence Flannery loves his friend and like a dog to his master clings to what he knows. the crux of the movie is that all he knows is changing, his sister has moved away, Frankie is collaborating with the "Guineas" who he believes killed his friend Stevie and Yuppies have taken over his neighbourhood "not even leaving ten blocks for the Irish" A violent world gone alien with Oldman even stating at one stage that he feels like he is on Mars. Oldman here with a flawless Irish/New york accent is captivating with his death representing the end of the gang, the resolution of Penns anger and the end of a way of life for that part of the world-money over loyality. Harris and Penn backed up by an excellient cast add to Oldmans sterling work. The film is loosely based on the activites of the Westies(a real life Irish/American street gang) who clashed with the mob. The set piece in the movie are brillienly staged notibly the Hands in the fridge,the sprint through a burning building, the the near annilation of a Mafia boss to the slow motion shoot out at the climax useing the St Patricks Day parade as a backdrop. This is film amking at its best, great performances, with the past and present used to establish tone. the dialog is rapid fire and course and Ennio Morricones haunting score as the closing credits appear, adds to the shock and numbness that of what has just accoured. A truely affecting movie and one I cant recommend enought.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Irish "Novel" of friendship and betrayel, December 2, 2002
By 
This review is from: State of Grace (DVD)
I watched this movie about ten times and think it's one of the most underrated movies around. Coming along with a great cast like Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, Ed Harris and Robin Penn Wright, this movie caught me again and again from the first second to the last.
Set in Hell's Kitchen New York the movie let's you breathe in the Irish athmosphere and tells a bloodthirsty story of friendship & betrayel. Sean Penn plays Terry Noonan, an undercover policeman who was infiltrated in an Irish gang lead by the Flannery brothers ( fantastic play by Gary Oldman and Ed Harris ). The film reflects very good Noonan's split emotions beeing a cop investigating against his former friends and the growing love to the sister of the Flannery brothers ( above average play of Robin Penn Wright ).
The film combines a good story, great actors, silent and short eruptions of violence and maybe one of the most impressive shoot out final ever ! Fantastic camera work!
If you like films like "Good Fellas" and "Reservoir Dogs" you should not miss this one. If you hide yourself behind a pillow when violence comes into play, leave it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The irish connection., February 27, 2006
This review is from: State of Grace (DVD)
I think that this is one of the best movies ever made. The elegance of cinematography, a perfect performance of director Phil Joanu, a great casting (Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, John Turturo), a complex story, and a very fine ethical dilemma. All these components, in a equilibrated mix, with a perfect result: a masterpiece.

I triend to record it in several times from cable TV, but it's time is over 2 hours, and I forget it every time, and never had a complete record. Often, the TV version it was translatedd to spanish, losing a part of actor's performance.

I don't understand why the DVD wasn't released before 2005. I expected it long time ago.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great and gritty mob movie, February 16, 2007
This review is from: State of Grace (DVD)
This is one of my all time favorite mobster movies. You have a great cast of actors including Sean Penn, Ed Harris, John Turturro, John C. Reilly, Robin Wright and Gary Oldman. This is Gary Oldman's movie by a mile and if you appreciate the man and you haven't seen this film, you need to put this one on priority. Definitely an overlooked gem and well worth two hours of your life.

The DVD for the film is okay. The picture is crisp and the audio is a pretty decent 5.1 surround mix. The only special feature is the theatrical trailer which in my opinion is way too revealing. Other than that, I can't really complain about this disc being that it's being sold for so cheap. Definitely worth at least a look.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Turning Point in Gangster Movies, August 8, 2003
This review is from: State of Grace (DVD)
I first seen this movie soon after it was released (VHS) and was very impressed considering most people hadn't heard of it. It was refreashing to see a director who finally wanted to make a movie about the Irish Mob, who afterall were the longest established organised crime group in NY. I strongly disagree with a reviewer from Medford, NY who described Oldman's character as somewhat over the top. In my opinion, this is Oldman's finest performance to date! Having read many books on the Westside Irish Mob (as they refered to themselves) including The Westies by T.J English, Oldman brought the real life character Mickey Featherstone to life on our screens in Oscar style fashion! Believe me , these characters are not your average Italian style gangster; slick-back hair, well dressed killers. Most of these men had no such delusions of grandeuer when it came to how they looked. Many were hard drinking heroin addicts who if hadn't been shot, would have killed themselves anyway! These story lines have a much harder edge than your average Italian/Jewish gangster film because of a notorious drug and drinking culture that the other two etnic crime groups considered to be sloppy and unprofessional. Other films such as Southie have tackled these issues also, portraying a family from the projects coming to terms with alcoholism, drug abuse and gun culture. Don't get me wrong, I love Goodfellas and The Godfather but you have to admit, you won't beat the Irish when it comes to telling a story with typically unique ingredients. Jonau, indeed, could have been far more brutal in his portrayal of these men. Storys of a victem's head being taken on a pub crawl of the westside are now legendary. Ed Harris and Sean Penn turn in fantastic performances also, but Gary Oldman steals the show. I couldn't believe it when I found out shortly after watching the movie that Oldman is infact English. His portrayal of what is generally accepted to be Mickey Featherstone, is awsome! Those of you used to your typical Italian gangster movie be prepared for a crash landing into the world of psycotic, alcoholic, drug addicted killers! No dyed hair and flashy suits here! Just cold blooded, knee jerk reaction murder!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How did this movie go so unnoticed?, September 20, 2002
By 
"cerulean100" (charlotte, nc United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: State of Grace (DVD)
It's unfortunate that this movie received so little marketing and went largely unnoticed. First off, amazing cast. Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, and John Turturro star in this movie.
Sean Penn gives one his best performances as Terry Noonan, who goes undercover into New York's Irish mob. He was selected because his childhood friend, Jackie (Oldman), is one of the top Lieutenants, and Jack's older brother Frankie (Harris) is the boss. Noonan quickly becomes encompassed in a life he had forgotten, and falls back in love with Frankie & Jackie's younger sister Kathleen (Wright), who is trying to get away from the life her brothers have chosen. Turturro plays the cop/mentor for Terry who has to try and convince he's doing the right thing.
When Frankie has another childhood friend (John C Reilly) killed, Terry has to figure a way to take Frankie down, but is conflicted due to his love for Jackie and Kathleen. I won't spoil the rest, but that's a synopsis of what the movie is about. It's about love, hate, betrayal, and revenge.
Penn gives a remarkable performance as the conflicted cop (similar to Donnie Brasco), and Oldman plays a bad guy that everyone loves. Harris plays the role of a cold, ruthless mob boss with perfection. Wright & Turturro give above average performances as co-stars, and the remaining actors are well cast.
To sum it all up, one of the best Organized Crime movies of all time and starring 4 men who have been nominated for Academy Awards. Above average plot, great cinematography, brilliant acting, and a very original ending, make this movie a must for all mob movie fans, and recommendation to all others.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Totally underrated gangster movie, December 9, 2000
This review is from: State of Grace [VHS] (VHS Tape)
State of Grace is a great movie.I don't know why it's not more popular.It's got great directing,dialogue,action,atmosphere and Sean Penn,Ed Harris & Gary Oldman all give the best performances of their careers.And there's lots of swearing and bloody violence.All the things a good gangster film should have. State Of Grace tells the tale of the Irish mafia in New York. Cop Terry(Penn) returns to NY and is thorn between his loyalties for his old gangster buddies,Frankie(Harris) & Jackie Flannery (Oldman),and his duties as a policeman. After the likes of The Godfather & Goodfellas,it's refreshing to see another ethnic group of gangsters rather than Italians,in this instance,the Irish.Oldman gives an amazing portrayal as the crazy,hard-drinking hood Jackie but I my favourite character in the movie is Harris' evil henchman.He's just such a cool character. The fine cast also includes Robin Wright Penn,John Turturro and John C.Reilly.I'd like State of Grace to come out on DVD soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great One With A Great Story, Great Actors and Great Action!, February 26, 2009
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This review is from: State of Grace (DVD)
As an Irishman I love anything about the Irish, especially in NY where my family is from! This is a great movie and is based kind of on the story about the fall of the Irish mafia in New York, and is very close, as it was one of there own who brought them down in NY!

Sean Penn is great, John Turturro is always cool and very good, Ed Harris is a favorite actor of mine and he is outstanding and so darn cold as the Irish mafia leader, and finally Gary Oldman is my favorite actor in all of movies and entertainment, and he is so very cool as Jackie, the brother and enforcer to Ed Harris's character in the movie!

This is a great one and if you like mob movies, action, gunfights, a cool story and great actors, then this is for you! I recomend this one to everyone!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars State Of Grace..., January 18, 2009
By 
D.C. Willis (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: State of Grace (DVD)
I wasn't really expecting to overly enjoy this movie when I bought it. I love Gary Oldman but I'm not too crazy about movies on the subject matter. After watching it I've got to say that my only complaint is the length: I can't sit still that long! I had to split the movie into two separate viewings. Gary Oldman was, as expected, fantastic. His Jackie was the most interesting and intriguing of the characters (even beating out Sean Penn's Terry, the hero of the piece) and really steals the show. But Sean Penn, Robin Wright (not yet Penn) and Ed Harris all gave good roles. And a few people might be interested in seeing John C. Reilly pre-Will Ferrel.
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State of Grace
State of Grace by Phil Joanou (DVD - 2002)
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