STATE OF GRACE, directed by Phil Joanou, is a violent, tortuous melodrama that labors mightily to be an Irish MEAN STREETS or a latter-day WILD BUNCH. Sean Penn plays Terry Noonan, an undercover cop who returns unannounced to New York's Hell's Kitchen, "dropped off by the angels,"
according to Jackie Flannery (Gary Oldman), his childhood best friend. Noonan's task is to infiltrate the gang led by Jackie's brother, Tommy (Ed Harris). In the process, Noonan discovers he is still in love with his childhood sweetheart, Jackie and Tommy's sister, Kathleen (Robin Wright). Noonan
is torn: Can he abjure loyalties to old friends or does he return to the habits of his youth?...