Impact | VIFF Impact
He was perhaps the most famous whistleblower of 20th-century America: the cop who helped expose widespread corruption in the New York Police Department, and who achieved iconic status when he was played by Al Pacino in Serpico. The real Frank Serpico makes for a great subject here: still a magnetic presence in his 80s, he looks back with wisdom and pride on his life as a rebel. Witness to police misbehaviour in his youth, our hero nonetheless grew up believing in the righteousness of the law. He became a patrolman in 1960, and from then on it was hard times, as he turned down every cash envelope, ignored every threat from his fellow officers and bucked the system at every turn, eventually becoming the star of a large-scale government probe.
Old age has diminished none of Frank’s energy, and he relates his adventures with gusto. He’s joined in his commentary by the cops, lawyers and journalists who were around him during his years on "the job"; this footage includes testimonials, backstory, and even an awkward exchange with the cop who was present when Serpico took a bullet in the face. Righteous, intelligent and zealous, Frank is a guy with a hell of a story to tell—and as we hear him speak over footage of present-day police brutality, we’re reminded that the fight against corruption is far from over.
"An enjoyable expansion on the fictional account, with a where-is-he-now bonus."—John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter