One of the great Sidney Lumet's thoroughly hypnotic New York movies, where you can smell the sweat of the tension and the barely-repressed panic in the streets. An Oscar-nominated Al Pacino is in hell-for-leather form. Made in '73 and based on Peter Maas' book of the trials faced by real-life cop Frank Serpico, who ended an 11-year career by blowing the whistle on his colleagues, it follows Pacino as the committed crusader exposing corruption in the force. He's abused, ostracised, and ultimately has to flee the country. Pacino relishes the scope to wrestle with his demons, destroy his love life not once but twice, and face off a superb supporting cast (including the neglected Cornelia Sharpe, John Randolph and Barbara Eda-Young). If you like watching Al do his thing for two hours, you'll be in fan heaven, but as with Dog Day Afternoon, he's skillfully abetted by the gritty, gripping work of a most undervalued director.
Rating: 5 / 10
Retail dvd (paramount home entertainment, widescreen)