FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last Friday, I saw “Glengarry Glen Ross,” which stars Jack Lemmon (The Apartment, Some Like It Hot), Al Pacino (Scarface, The Godfather), Ed Harris (The Truman Show, Run All Night), Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, Argo), Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, House of Cards [TV series]), Alec Baldwin (Boss Baby, 30 Rock [TV series]), and Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Taboo [TV series]). It was directed by James Foley (At Close Range, Fifty Shades Darker) and written by David Mamet (House of Games, State and Main). Four agents’ jobs at a real estate office are put on the line after a long dry spell at their company. Subjected to a competition where only first and second place get to keep their jobs, these agents will do all they can with the leads they are given in order to make a close.
A rather random feature to watch on a Friday night, “Glengarry Glen Ross” was a shot-in-the-dark buy at Target, based solely on the titanic cast that plagued the cover art. Seriously guys, could it get any better than this? Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, and Alan Arkin sharing the same screen. It’s unbelievable for a film buff; I could only imagine how much money was poured into this to get them all together. The broadway-to-screen adaptation of land salesmen competing against each other for their jobs is an interesting one, even though it took me an eternity to understand the mechanics of the occupation itself. The performances, as you would expect, are astounding; the best part of this release. Some of these actors are favorites of mine (Harris, Arkin), and through this feature I discovered an admiration for even more of them, mainly Lemmon. I’ve never sat through a Jack Lemmon picture, however he has proven to me that I should through “Glen Ross.” His role was stellar, and by far the best of all. Pacino did what you’d expect, as well as the others; Alec Baldwin surprised me in his only scene (I thought he had a bigger role), and Spacey was pretty solid, scandal aside (it’s hard to watch him act anymore). I thoroughly enjoyed watching these guys interact with each other. To be honest, they could’ve been delivering the most incomprehensible lines and I would still be entertained. That brings me to the story that this film presents. “Glen Ross” isn’t flashy; it’s not a high-octane action flick nor a saucy romance. It’s really about a bunch of old dogs trying to fight for their entitlement. Dialogue is heavily implemented with hardly any action, so it demands the undivided attention of its viewer. As I stated before, it was a bit difficult to grasp the situation going on. Sure, I knew the conflict these men faced, but understanding their business was a different thing. Many businesses and plots of land were referenced to, and being a man with no knowledge of this occupation, I was a bit lost. It took until the final act for me to really understand the game; once you do, it makes for a great experience. “Glen Ross” doesn’t ask for you to know this stuff, nor will it spoon-feed it to you. While I wished that they gave more clues or dumbed down the business these guys dealt in further, I respect the writers’ approach. It’s not too often that we as an audience have to peer into a film rather than the movie explain itself in blatant terms. Besides that fact, there isn’t much to get worked up over this release (and that aspect wasn’t even a horrible thing). I guess the only unsettling factor about “Glen Ross” is how it starts and ends. We come into these businessmen’s profession, see their conflict, and watch them all uncoil as people. There’s no good guy stopping the bad guy (symbolically) or a lesson to be learned; we are just plopped down into this atmosphere and see what happens in an hour and forty minutes. I was engaged thoroughly through the terrific performances by the actors and the wicked direction by James Foley (I loved his shots; the opening one is amazing). While “Glengarry Glen Ross” doesn’t hold a meaty story we’re used to, there’s a lot to appreciate and makes a heck of a compelling cast to admire. FINAL SCORE: 91%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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