(out of 5)
One of Al Pacino‘s best cinematic creations is in this impressive cop drama by Sidney Lumet. He plays Frank Serpico, a real-life New York City police officer who couldn’t stand back and watch his colleagues indulge in corrupt practices without blowing the whistle on them. Working the streets undercover (in some of the most entertainingly vivid costumes imaginable), Serpico abstains from taking cuts of the dirty money that the criminals he is busting offer him, leaving him at the mercy of distrustful cops on the force and a board of officials who turn a blind eye to the entire mess. Now, whatever danger is out there on the streets is no threat to him compared to what he’s got coming at him from within his own force. Pacino never rests for a second in this excellent performance, and he’s aided by a marvelous, perfectly cast roster of supporting actors. And if that doesn’t draw you in, watch it for the hats.
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Cinematography by Arthur J. Ornitz
Produced by Martin Bregman
Music by Mikis Theodorakis
Production Design by Charles Bailey
Costume Design by Anna Hill Johnstone