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In DONNIE BRASCO ($30), Al Pacino delivers what has to be his best performance in years. Pacino portrays Lefty, a middle management gangster with little to look forward to, since he reached the apex of career a long time ago. Johnny Depp portrays the title character, an FBI agent who has gone undercover to infiltrate the mob. Lefty takes Donnie under his wing and teaches the ins and outs of that particular industry. Because of his relationship with Lefty, Donnie begins to look for a way to protect Lefty and get him out of his chosen profession. After being part of Lefty’s world for so long, Donnie comes to care for Lefty as a father figure and begins to lose touch with his real reason for becoming part of the mob, and with his real life outside. DONNIE BRASCO is a well acted character study with both Pacino and Depp delivering memorable performances. The cast of DONNIE BRASCO also features Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo and Anne Heche.

Columbia TriStar Home Video offers DONNIE BRASCO in both Letterboxed and pan and scan transfers on opposite sides of the DVD. The pan and scan transfer is severely cropped, and distracting to watch. The transfer does offer very respectable image quality and vivid color. The Letterboxed transfer is a knockout and restores most of film’s 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. This presentation also features the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. Digital compression artifacts were never really a consideration on either presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack had good stereo imaging in the front channels, but I could not detect anything happening in the surround channels. Other soundtrack options include a Dolby Surround track as well as a French language track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer, plus the standard language and scene selection features.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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