Coming to theatres and to VOD today, Wednesday, November 1:
Traverse City, Martha’s Vineyard, Poland’s American Film Festival, Athens, Vancouver
A portrait of the famed 1970s police corruption whistleblower.
Immortalized by Al Pacino in Sidney Lumet’s 1973 film SERPICO, the titular subject of Antonio D’Ambrosio’s documentary emerges from decades relatively out of the public spotlight to share his story personally. As recounted in that classic street drama, Frank Serpico, an Italian-American cop morally opposed to the extensive corruption within the NYPD, reported his fellow officers only to face retaliation in what he considers to be a set-up that nearly cost him his life and left him with bullet fragments in his head. As a result, the Knapp Commission was set up to investigate police corruption, and, after testifying there, Serpico left for Europe to deal with the aftermath of his travails, including PTSD. D’Ambrosio has the charismatic Serpico’s full cooperation for this real-life retelling of the story, which also features a surreal reunion with one of his partners, who still denies that he was involved in any kind of set-up or cover-up. Ultimately, the doc serves not only as a candid supplement to Lumet’s dramatized version but also a reminder of the ability of ordinary individuals to affect change, no matter how systemic or daunting the issue may seem.