Final Analysis and Heaven's Prisoners have ensured that Phil Joanou is now regarded (if he's regarded at all) as a Hollywood nearly man. But when the Rattle And Hum director made his major fictional bow with this 1990 gangster flick, he was The Next Big Thing. Pity for him, then, that the result was overlooked in the clamour to praise GoodFellas. Ironic, too, given that State Of Grace owes a significant debt to Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets.
Sean Penn fills Harvey Keitel's boots as a morally conflicted wanderer returning to his roots in Hell's Kitchen, while Gary Oldman plays his Mobster best mate with the same charismatic insanity that made Robert De Niro's Johnny Boy indelible. The performances overcome the slowish story, in a movie that's muddled, but graced by moments of magnificence.