Erik [Auk]’s review published on Letterboxd:
Serpico tells the real life story of Frank Serpico, a New York police officer who exposed rampant corruption within the department only to be marginalized and looked down on by his fellow officers.
Directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino, the movie is directed well and features a strong central performance by Al Pacino. There are some moments of greatness to be found in Serpico, but ultimately I found the film to be quite hollow thanks to a weakly realized supporting cast, repetitive storyline, and an overall lack of momentum.
By no means do I think Serpico is a bad film, and it does start off very well, but the character of Frank Serpico is faced with situations dealing with corruption over and over again with the same results, and I eventually started to lose interest. It doesn't help that the character of Serpico himself does start to get annoying, especially as his personal life crumbles really preventably. I also did not like how the film jumps around in time so much, with little indication of the time elapsing besides the length of Serpico's hair. The jumping also means that none of the characters besides Serpico is ever fleshed out enough to make the audience invested in anything else, and is what does make the film feel hollow at times.
I can respect the idealism behind Serpico, but the film as a whole just has a poorly realized narrative as well as other issues that are only somewhat saved by some competent direction and a good central performance.