After ten years away, Terry Noonan returns to his childhood neighbourhood in New Yorks Hells Kitchen, and meets up with his former pal Jackie, whose brother, Frankie, now runs the local chapter of the Irish mob. But as friendships are rediscovered, loyal
If you’re looking for a dour thriller, heavy-weighted with the Method mood of Sean Penn, the itchy wildness of Gary Oldman, and Ed Harris’ reliable stoicism, made yearning and tribal with is slabs of U2 on the soundtrack, here you go. A gangster movie on the tough-guy streets of Western Manhattan, which is really a Western in disguise, thick-headed and self-important but enjoyably pretentious.
The theme is of loyalty and family ties versus justice. Will Terry Noonan stick to his task of bringing down the Oirish mob from within, and thus breaking ties with former best pal Jackie and former flame Kathleen? Will treacherous Frankie catch on to the deception? How long before holy Irish blood is spilt on the paving stones of Hells Kitchen?
While Phil Joanou (who would keep with the Irish-thing directing the U2 movie, Rattle And Hum) seems to think he is making a tale of brotherhood strained, it’s a blarney-fied nothing with silky-smooth slo-mo gunfights and few jokes. But the atmosphere is taut, its smoky streets and ruptured neon is Michael Mann-lite, the actors doing some damn serious scowling. Forgiving its obvious faults and luminous shallowness, it’s got grudging romantic allure.
State Of Grace never really adds up to much more than a watery Irish imitation of gutsier Italian-American models.