STATE OF GRACE (1990)
script: Dennis McIntyre director: Phil Joanou
THE PLOT: After disappearing for ten years, Terry Noonan (Sean Penn, stoic) returns to Hell’s Kitchen, the neighborhood of his youth, where he’s quick to fall back into good times with bad people. That means hanging with best friend Jackie Flannery (Gary Oldman, greasy) live wire younger brother to Frankie (Ed Harris, oily) the brutal boss behind the Irish gang racketteering the Kitchen. Terry also manages to reignite the flames with lost love Kathleen (Robin Wright, icy), sister to Jackie and Frankie.
What they don’t know is Terry is as an undercover cop, sent in to take down Frankie’s operation. And Terry soon finds himself torn between two different types of loyalty and the ones he loves becoming collateral damage.
THE SHOUTOUT: It’s basically a love letter to Sam Peckinpah. From the cross-cut editing between joyful St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the gun battle blazing away in the bar to the huge, crimson bursting squib hits, Joanou does “Bloody” Sam proud. Keeping things in killer cool slo-motion, the action’s easy to follow as Penn double guns his way through Frankie’s men, although not without taking some hits himself.
With his crew pooling blood on the barroom floor, Frankie comes a calling for Terry, who struggles to pick himself up behind the bar. All this set to a haunting score by Ennio Morricone. What more do you need?