23 December 2007 | rsoonsa
Neatly-Plotted Work Showcases Some Disadvantages That May Result From One's Nucleus Of Honour.
An opening enscripted frame states "...based on a true story", and therefore a viewer of this well-crafted film must accept the probability that incidents taken from Bill Davidson's published biographical title "Collura: Actor With A Gun" somewhat faithfully relate to actual events, but if there remains a persistent notion that dramatization has overwhelmed available facts, it will be preferable that the narrative be accepted upon its face and as a work of conception, as well. For indeed, there is a good deal within this production that viewers will find commendable, its storyline effectively depicting an episode in the life and career of a young New York City policeman, Collura (Grant Show), who had been recruited to enlist with the Department for the specific purpose of attempting to infiltrate the Carlo Gambino Mafia family, and who becomes so successful with his mingling that he develops a romantic relationship with Gambino's goddaughter Maria (Maria Pitillo). This affair of the heart unsurprisingly leads to increasing risk for Collura, who will face ineluctable destruction if his true identity becomes known to the Gambino set, and when it eventually is his duty to testify before a grand jury against Gambino, Steve's multi-faceted loyalties, sense of honour, and passion for Maria will all require his keen self-examination and less than simple choices for an increasingly equivocal future. A conversation held upon a television film set between former Detective Collura (who tellingly performs here in a featured role) and Show planted a seed for this picture that is inherently of the Gangster Melodrama genre. Production standards are high, able direction comes from Sam Pillsbury, and the cast is consistently spot on, with Show earning the acting laurels here as an undercover operative not terribly fearful of endangerment. In spite of an excess of cutting during the last half that lessens the film's overall impact, it remains a nicely crafted piece that has been undervalued and virtually ignored. A DVD release benefits from fine visual and audio reproduction while providing no supplemental features.