Serpico ★★★★★

Once upon a time Al Pacino was the greatest actor alive, and his work throughout the 1970s was a masterclass in acting. The same cannot be said today unfortunately, but at least we have his classics to fall back on. Filmed in between The Godfather Parts I and II, yet not nearly as well known, Serpico documents the true story of one ideological New York police officer putting his life on the line in order to expose the high level corruption within the NYPD. Despite being a man of moral upstanding, Frank Serpico’s hippie lifestyle makes him a target within his own ranks - his colleagues seeing him as a threat to their macho superiority image. As he begins to uncover crimes being committed within his workplace, his life becomes endangered and his allegations fall on deaf ears, as those at the top don’t want to know. While Pacino’s performances in The Godfather films defined his storied career, his take on Frank Serpico is easily just as praiseworthy. Direction is from Sidney Lumet, a legend in his own right, who paces this police epic perfectly while creating some of the most iconic images of 1970s New York City. Yet despite being a superbly realised piece of film making, it remains somewhat of an obscurity.

(I wrote this for a college newspaper article)