MovieChat Forums > State of GraceĀ (1990) Discussion > Gary Oldman makes the whole movie

Gary Oldman makes the whole movie


Well maybe not all of it, but a lot of it.

The movie was based on the book "The Westies." Book's better than the movie, but I really liked the movie. However, Gary Oldman is the one that makes the movie work. He's based on Micky Featherstone, who eventually turned on the Westies to the Feds. Ed Harris' character is based on Jimmy Coonan, the head of the Westies (close too, but unreleated to Oldman's character in real life) who eventually is seen as a sell out to the Italians by his neighborhood folks and crew.

Gary Oldman plays the part of dysfunctional but lovable psycho better than anyone in any mob movie. He flies off the handle better and just gives a better performance than anyone else has done in the genre. This movie also has the best mob movie fight scene, when they save Stevie from the guinies who are trying to take their money. Its a sloppy fight, with punches barely landing, and people grabbing necks...hair...anything to get the upper hand. Just like real life. This movie does something else better than any other mob movie - shows the real ugly, nasty side of the mob. There's nothing pretty about the crime or lifestyle in this movie.

Sean Penn, though, is dirt terrible. Sorry, but you have to try to get someone who doesn't seem whiney and sissy-like. His voice and disposition just aren't right for this character (a 100% fictional character, by the way).



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How right you are. Gary,gary,gary.
He was hot in this film.
Did you not think so???

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Hotter than hell! I wish he'd gotten as many (and as extensive) love scenes as Sean Penn!

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Gary Oldman was great but is it me or did this guy over act when he was yelling at Sean in his apartment. If anyone is an actor check that scene out again. But overall he is a tremendous Actor who is never recognized by the Ocars.

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The character he was based on actually spend time in a mental facility. He was a complete psychopath. I thought the scene was great.

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He was annoying,, I was glad when he got killed,, movie sucked.

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His performance was definitely spirited, BUT he didn't come across as New York Irish to me. I have a few friends from Manhattan, Bronx, and Long Island (all ethnic Irish) and Gary doesn't really emulate to me what an Irish-American roughneck would sound like. Rather, he sounds like he's got a sandwich in his mouth.


Hi, I'm God. Can I touch You?

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While I agree with you about Mr.Oldman, I disagree with you about Sean Penn, I thought he was fantastically fitted to the part!

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yeah Penn was good (as always) but Oldman stole this movie, he was magic. kinda reminded me of Joe Pesci but even better............this is a really good movie.









"Do you believe in...time travel?" - Frank

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Gary knows how to perfectly orchestrate the most complex of characters like Jackie Flannery. He has this brilliant ability to let himself go in a role, which I think is one of the reasons the scene where Jackie goes crazy at Terry works really well and is so powerful. But, he also knows how to play the more vulnerable and naive side of the character who's skimming stones just before his brother leads him to his death, which helps to make such an impact during that part, too. I was bawling my eyes out, may I add!

Gary Oldman

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Totally agree! I just really started to notice Gary within the past few years, now I can't get enough. I watched this one last night...awesome! The church scene where he is mourning Stevie's death "sniff". I think one of the reasons I miss him in a movie is because he completely changes physically and mentally in every role! He's up there with Harrison and Johnny for me!

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To my mind, Gary Oldman is the greatest actor of all time. State of Grace and Sid and Nancy were both deserving of best actor Oscars. It's just a pity that he ended up doing crap like Fifth Dimension, Lost in Space, and just about every movie I can think of that he's been in............

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i like the 5th Element, i own it and pop it in to watch quite frequently, and Gary gives me a good laugh everytime i watch it because of his character("ma favorite"). Lost in Space was horrible beyond meaning of the word though.

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Oldman is a genius, no doubt. Without him, the movie wouldn't be half as good as it is.

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i like Penn, and his performance in State of Grace was good. with that said, he was definately the weakest link out of the 3 actors that got top billing. Penn does deserve some love for his duties on the movie, but he is overshadowed by Harris(who gave one of the best performances of his carrer IMO), and Harris is overshadowed by Oldman.

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over-act my ass, he played the character how the character was written. Jackie was a lovable psycho. psyscho's are known to flip out and over-do it from time to time. now that your in on the secret, go try and rip on a newer Pacino movie if your REALLY lookin to brand something or someone with over-acting.

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Nooooooo, don't make fun of Pacino. Pacino and Deniro don't act anymore because of the laziness from most contemporary actors in Hollywood today. They've played their roles in the past, the most treasured ones. But I think Oldman was awesome in this movie, did it beat out his small cameo performance in True Romance....hell no!!!

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don't get me wrong i'm a huge Pacino fan, huge. i just am not fond of anything he's come out with since "Heat" pretty much. "Insomnia" was alright, a little bland, nothing really stuck out in the movie for me, but Pacino was still alright. other than that though, he's just used to look creepy and psychotic and yell a lot, and thats about it. i keep hoping something new comes out that i can enjoy with Pacino in it, but time will tell on that one. as far as Oldman's performances in "State of Grace" compared to "True Romance" goes, that strictly oppinion.

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personafied_EVIL have you seen Al Pacino in Angels Of America??? He was ok in that, nothing great, but like you said looked creepy and he yelled a lot , but there was a lot of chemistry to his character, I totally agree though, Pacino does scream and yell out his parts anymore and it's sad that the past ten years in doing so he could've chalked up some great performances!!!

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agreed on everything, pretty much. with the exception of "the Game" which i really want to see, Penn is an awesome actor and displays it very well in the movies you mentioned. very good in everything i've seen him in. Harris goes the same way, and you couldn't have picked a better example than Glengarry Glen Ross. my decision for Oldman is just a matter of personal preferance. he can play a psycho so well, its ridiculous.

i hope the Jim Gordon role in the new Batman franchise really lets him explore the "good-guy" role that i've been wanting to see from Gary for a while.

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Or watch something like "Turtles Can Fly". These kids are acting, yet they're not actors, they're real, reflecting their real experiences.

Leaves Shawshank and the rest for dead.

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I spent the first half of this movie thinking Gary Oldman was Mickey Rourke. It wasn't until I got a really good look at his face that I realized it had to be someone else. Oldman is such a chameleon, I don't think I've ever seen him in a movie where I instantly recognized him. I just watched Murder in the First the other night and it's hard to reconcile the fact that the sadistic warden and Jackie Flannery were the same guy (although they were both psychos).

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I think it's the one of the best Oldman's performances. I don't like him too much as an actor, I beleive he's over the top, but this role suits him like a glove.

As for the movie itself, I adored it some 15 years ago when I saw it for the first time, now I see many weak spots; anyway it's just OK.

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You can't go wrong with Gary Oldman. He's one of the best and he's excellent in this movie. Brilliant actor

"I'm just a happy camper! Rockin' and a-rollin'!" - Patrick Bateman, American Psycho

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