Terence Winter has written a semi-autobiographical film, BROOKLYN RULES, based on his experience growing up in Brooklyn with his two best friends. It’s a classic coming-of-age gangster drama where three young men discover the meaning of friendship during John Gotti’s rise to power in the mid-80's. Directed by Michael Corrente, this buddy film is positively charming and offers a great deal of entertainment despite surface clichés. The story is characteristic of the gangster genre, with familiar catholic allusions and the Italian-American stereotypes we all know and love. An innocent friend pays for the sins of another, followed by revenge. We all know what to expect, yet Terence Winter's talented writing brings life to a genre that's thought to be dead.
What makes this film shine is an authentic bond between the three characters - MICHAEL TURNER (Freddie Prinze Jr.), CARMINE MANCUSO (Scott Caan), and BOBBY CANZONERI (Jerry Ferrara). Their camaraderie is best portrayed by the sincere, often comical, dialogue. The narrator, Michael, resists Brooklyn stereotypes by dressing in preppy clothes and conning his way through Columbia University where he meets ELLEN (Mena Suvari), an upper class girl from Connecticut. On the contrary, Carmine struggles to fit the mold of a mobster and earn the respect of local gangsters without messing up his precious pompadour. Bobby, the cheapskate of the trio, simply hopes for a job in the postal service so he can get married. Different as they are, the friends are connected by their Brooklyn roots. The performances in this film (including Alec Baldwin as hot-headed gangster, CAESAR MANGANARO) are absolutely outstanding. Terence Winter fills “Sopranos” expectations of mob violence, but friendship is truly at the heart of BROOKLYN RULES. He has crafted a solid script with the personality and truth to generate laughter as well as tears. A truly enjoyable film!