Al Pacino received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Frank Serpico in Serpico.
Frank Serpico as a character is one of some repetition that is sure. It is a lot of him coming into a new part of the police in New York City seeing some sort of corruption and responding to it publicly in a low key fashion, although becoming more upset by it in more private settings. In between being upset by corruption he usually gets upset by his current wife, and yells at her, or responds quietly to her.
I don't know Pacino's performance here just never really amazes it me as it does seem to some. In the early scenes Pacino sets up how his character reacts with a quiet passion at first over the corruption he sees, and he keeps reacting in that same way throughout, thrown in with some angry disbelief over the ability of others to actually help him, and his feelings of danger by putting his neck out.
I don't know his whole plight never became as interesting as it seems it should have, because Pacino I feel should have done even more to show how the problems really stacked on Serpico in a better fashion, rather than just that tired face, along with the occasional scene of yelling. It always seemed to be less than Serpico really could have been in this film.
I think the whole incredible honesty of Serpico really needed to be better explored by both the film, and Pacino's performance. Was all what he did because of his nature, or because of of something else, I really felt Pacino really needed to more heavily develop what about Serpico made him want to be so honest, since it was not just to be a descent guy since frankly he does not seem to be always one.
Also another problem I had with his performance was his relationships with his two major wives. I will admit they are not helped by the two rather stilted performances by the actresses playing his wives, but Pacino himself does not create a very interesting relationship either. The relationships in the film feel rather cold, by the lack of energy Pacino puts in them, nor are they made into another type of relationship, like say mutual desperation or something like that, none of the three actors develops the relationship into anything the least bit interesting.
Pacino has yet another problem I feel and that is Serpico whole odd policeman persona, when he slowly seems to become more and more unlike a cop as the film progresses with his growing beard, and continually more hippie like clothing. Why does Serpico do this other than for cover, and one would think it would be more than just for cover, never is realized, is it because he is really a hippie, or anti establishment or something, I don't know the film, and Pacino just do not develop it well enough.
Although I have been very negative I think up until this point, I do not think this is really a bad performance, but just a lacking one that could have been a lot more. Pacino certainly has good moments throughout, and he is believable as well as technically realistic, I just never felt what he did amounted to any sort of an interesting characterization or performance.