Sean Penn is one of those actors who seems to get better with age. State of Grace was made in 1990 and has a great cast along with Penn including Gary Oldman, Ed Harris and Robin Wright.
Terry Noonan (Penn) decides to return to Hell’s Kitchen where he grew up but left suddenly for over 10 years. He finds his old friends and an old flame Kathleen (Wright) who he still has affection for. After getting in too deep with the gangster community his loyalties are torn between his friends and other outside influences.
Released in the same year as Goodfellas and King of New York, State of Grace was slightly overlooked but turns out to be a fine gangster picture that pulls no punches. All the cast are excellent, especially Gary Oldman as Noonan’s friend who is so on the edge you never know when he is about to explode into violence.
The action when it comes is brutal and bloody, the finale very reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah at his peak. With good direction from Phil Joanou and a haunting score from legendary Ennio Morricone, this is a film no fan of the genre should overlook.
The Blu ray released by Second Sight is a solid release with a strong 1080p transfer, its a little flat in places but brings over the atmosphere of the locations superbly. Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and is central heavy mainly because the film is so dialogue based but overall its a very good sounding disc, especially during the action scenes. Extras are a good 20-minute making-of documentary and an interview with the director and a very short interview with Ed Harris. Shame the audio commentary from the limited edition USA release from Twilight Time could not be ported over.
A Good solid gangster film and definitely worth another viewing.
FILM: 7.5 PICTURE: 7.5 AUDIO: 7 EXTRAS: 6