Coming out of Southern California film school, Joanou showed immense talent and film making skill. Spielberg became his protegé, and he made his first feature…a cult classic…”Three O’Clock High” in 1987. Adults may not have seen it at the time, but the trailer alone had us kids interested.
High school, while you are in it, is dramatic as fuck. And even after you leave and you get to know the world, you can look back and realize how hard-core your experiences there were…how influential the experience of school as a whole will be to your development on this big blue ball we call home for now, and this film played as seriously as a public hanging. It was darkly funny, every corner was filled with stylized editing and camerawork, great performances and pretty remarkable first offering from the director.
During post on this this film, Joanou was contacted by U2. They had just cracked the music scene wide open their massively successful 1987 album…
“The Joshua Tree”
They wanted to film a documentary of their upcoming American tour and they were interviewing directors. They asked him to come to Ireland the next day, he dropped what he was doing, pissed off the producers of “Three O’Clock High” and 24 hours later he was in Ireland.
He spent the next five days randomly being abandoned all over Ireland by U2, being left by the band at various events around Ireland…having to find his way around by himself as a sort of initiation before, after five consecutive days of this, they finally approached him and told him he had won the job.
He also directed the video for the bands ballad, “One”
By the time he began “State Of Grace” he was 28 years old.
There were high expectations for him which I think he satisfied, but visual accomplishments are initially measured by their financial success what he and his team achieved tends to be overlooked.
McIntyre was an accomplished playwright from New York City. He had a terrific ear for dialogue and a blunt and honest approach to his subjects, this was his first screenplay. Sadly, McIntyre passed away in February of 1990 of stomach cancer, months before the film was released. He never saw the finished work. The story from everything I can gather is original, with moments and anecdotes taken from true story’s as told, freely and given as testimony, by members of The Westies. The Westies are he Irish Mob that ran Hell’s Kitchen on the west side of Manhattan for many years and is what the film is loosely based on.
With his playwrights sensibilities for character development, he wrote primary characters that each suffer with their own personal moral dilemmas. Along with his ability to write engaging dialogue, which rang both funny…and authentic more often than not, while also adding tense plot twists, and giving us a protagonist with a deep inner struggle with which even we the audience aren’t sure which is right and which is wrong for him by the end story…in my book he crafted the perfect original crime drama.
Jordan Cronenweth is legend. You know his work even if you don’t realize it. He and Joanou had worked together before on “Rattle And Hum” Jordan Cronenweth shot the color footage segments for that film, but 10 years earlier he made his mark when he was the director of photography on another sci-fi movie directed by Ridley Scott that was so visionary it altered and influenced the visual aesthetic for everything from filmmaking to music-videos, from photography to graphic design from the moment it was released and still to this day.
That film is “Blade Runner”. The man who photographed that film, is the cinematographer here.
Jordan has since passed, but his visual legacy lives on through his son, Jeff Cronenweth.
Jeff, like his father, has the eye of a brilliant photographer, his talents have been on display also altering the visual storytelling world.
He was the cinematographer for a film directed by another one of the film worlds great visual storytelling pioneers named David Fincher on a film called “Fight Club”.
The Cinematography of Jeff Cronenweth
The music to “Grace” is one of my favorite aspects to the film. The music was written and composed by legendary composer Ennio Morricone. Ennio has done the score for such films as:
- The Untouchables
- Once Upon A Time In The West
- Once Upon A Time In America
- Days Of Heaven
- The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
He has over 214 soundtrack credits to his name and is one of the most respected and established film score composers of all time. His score for this film is haunting and beautiful. It is my ringtone actually, because the phone annoys me so much I have to have music I love play when the damn thing goes off or i’ll freak the fuck out.
Now, when my phone rings and I hear the score to this film play…I’m transported
His score adds an emotional depth to the film and atmosphere that amplifies the mood and draws you into its world. The film wouldn’t have as thick a weeping and tragic air to it without this amazing score.
Now I haven’t seen it mentioned or given credit anywhere officially…but when I first saw “Infernal Affairs” in 2003, I recognized the story immediately.
This was a retelling “State Of Grace”.
This was a Hong Kong film, and tells a similar story…this time of a man who grows up in and around the Triad, leaves and joins the police force only to return years later to infiltrate the Triad undercover. There is a retooling of the original story here also in that there a secondary charter that also grows up in and around the triad and goes to the police academy…but not to infiltrate the triad, this one is sent to infiltrate the police dept.
Both officers know of each other and must eek each other out in a tense cat and mouse game.
this film was a massive box office smash in Hong Kong…then world wide.
Then in 2004 it was announced that Martin Scorsese would direct an american remake of infernal Affairs, which he would call “The Departed”
Hey man, I love “The Departed”, and the Academy needs to stop fucking with Leo…he acted his ass off in this movie.
In every movie.
“COSTELLO IS FUCKING FBI INFORMANT!!!!!”
But you can’t tell me, that these 2 movie would have existed had it not been for “State Of Grace”
Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” was one of the reasons that “State Of Grace” was overshadowed at the box office…and when oscar season came around, Scorsese was denied the Oscar and “Dances With Wolves” won. (Don’t get me started)