” A Pale Green Mermaid Blog “
While watching snail TV ( non – cable tv) I cane across a movie station that had Serpico playing. What a film, what a story, what an actor. Al Pacino, in this film, is equivalent to Citizen Kane in its production, in its subject and in its acting. If you have not seen this movie, do it. Mr Pacino along with director Sidney Lumet capture explicitly the heart of democracy. Dissent.
Our country is based on dissent it rose out of dissent take the boston tea party as an example, but this movie is about one person taking on the powers that be in the name of an ideal that he holds in his mind about law and law enforcement. We are a country based on rules and laws from its inception. Enforcing those laws in a fair and transparently just way is the daily display of democracy either expanding or waning.
Al Pacino is superbly human in his nuanced portrayal of all the conflicting emotions that someone who stands up against a system that is corrupt encounters. He reaches down into the spirit of the character. That kind of acting is rare and exceptional. It touches that deep sense of fair play that we all feel but don’t always act on.
The scenes in this movie, how they are set up, the color and placement of objects ( and characters) are each like a single work of art in their intensity and beauty.
3 scenes that stand out are –
When Serpico is meeting with the representative of the commissioner, in a field of green- the betrayal of trust sears through the images.
When Serpico is working for the narcotics division and the camera pans from a man with a hat on in the street to the tops of two buildings where Serpico is, it is pure art – so full of minimal beauty and suggestion.
The third scene is when they arrest a person then sit and joke with him. Serpico is so furious with indignation, his actions are unbelievable precise and heart wrenching as he slams the chair into the ground twice then types saying through movement alone… no, no I won’t do that, I wont be that. . I can not express how moving his portrayal is.
Check it out. It pulled me in and never let go. What a movie -an updated Mr. Smith goes to Washington 70’s style when idealism about one’s country was a fact of life.
An unbelievable slice of humanity up for display.
The movie sets a standard by which all art can be measured because when art reaches that level it transcends genres and is a tour de force like the Sistine Chapel or Van Gogh’s Starry Night, it is an example that all artists and people can strive to meet in their work.
Below From http://www.wikipedia.org ,
Serpico is a 1973 American crime film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino. Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler wrote the screenplay, adapting Peter Maas‘ biography of NYPD officer Frank Serpico (born 1936), who went undercover to expose corruption in the force. Both Maas’s book and the film cover 12 years — 1960 to June 15, 1972 — in the life of Serpico, who wanted to do the best job he could do as an honest policeman.
So thought provoking and profoundly sincere.