I'm not really one for... uh... I don't know. Cop dramas? Who knows. For a I while, I was really behind Serpico, which is big to say because I really didn't like it or have any interest in it at first. The counter-culture angle certainly helped win me over. He's such a silly man, at first. Showing off ballerina moves and attending NYU and whatnot. And Al Pacino is charming as hell. Naturally, the actually conflicts kick in and his general quirks are pushed aside. I rooted for Serpico at first, but I wonder if we were supposed to get a little impatient with him after a while. Or at least, I wasn't feeling Serpico's rage anymore. Al Pacino seemed to be kicking and screaming like a little baby. It made me care a little less, or at least sympathize as much. This must have been somewhat premeditated in some sense, and I certainly don't mean to say anything to detract from Pacino's performance, which is outstanding. It is a really interesting arc of a fairly honest and laid back man becoming and raging Pacino asshole, but at least he's still honest! Pacino seems incapable of playing a decent man, every time he has a chance to play a protagonist, the sonuvabitch explodes. Lumet is a fine director, and perhaps is what keeps the film from being a mediocre cop movie with a fine lead. He also keeps the two plus hours running smoothly.
Al Pacino keeps his acting underneath his hat.