Johnny Depp plays an undercover FBI agent, who infiltrates the New York mafia by being taken under the wing of "Lefty" (Maestro, Al Pacino), a wiseguy who can't get ahead. Something akin to Stockholm syndrome whacks him, as he is rather taken to the life of a gangster. Under the codename "Donnie Brasco", Depp builds a real father-son bond with with Pacino, whose own son is a smack-head. A few other standard Hollywood schmuck writer moments are oiltankered in there, with Depp's wife struggling to cope with the anonymity and the fact that her hubby don't come home anymore. He even misses his daughter's confirmation. Lady: forgedaboudid! There's an interesting build-up of tension and mild confusion as somebody smells a rat when a new scheme to set up an illegal gambling club in Miami is busted by the police on the first night. It ends on what could have been an intruiging note as Depp is evidently a Changed Man. Until, that is, the rather pro-establishment blurt about how many asses the Donnie Brasco case busted.
There's an admirable supporting cast, including Michael Madsen as Sonny Black, the bossman about Pacino who gets promoted; and Bruno Kirby trying to be Joe Pesci in a role which he would have turned his nose up at. Forgedaboudid! He would have said. None of them are really given much rope to play with.
Nugget: worth a look-in for Mohammad Al Pacino (when is it ever not?), but don't expect a GoodFellas or Godfather. At times it's like a rather ironic, self-aware black comedy: all these wiseguys called Paulie and Sonny This, Sonny That. Donnie can't wear a mustache or jeans because he don't look the part. Where did all these big collars and leather jackets come from? Don't they know they look like gangsters?