Joanou has an intricate, beautifully built script to work from (David Rabe did a lot of uncredited rewriting) and he unfolds his charged story of violence, fratricide, and betrayal with masterly assurance. [17 Sep 1990, p.54]
The movie is marred by overkill, especially in the brutal and bloated allegorical ending, which feels lifted, clumsily, from The Godfather. State of Grace is most powerful and gripping when it stays true to the emotions of its characters.
Things you will not find in State Of Grace: a script that makes a modicum of psychological sense; a performance that isn't either desperately overwrought or numbly underplayed; and anything resembling grace. [18 Sep 1990]
State of Grace is a high-powered, luxuriantly textured Irish gang movie that you keep watching, convinced that at any moment it's going to come together and really grab you. It doesn't. [05 Oct 1990, p.45p]