Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Glengarry Glen Ross

Director: James Foley
Length: 100 min.
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 23 January

Most films from the early 90s had a distinct style that now seems to resemble the late night soft-core Cinemax movies, and Glengarry Glen Ross can easily be counted as a member of this group. In Glengarry Glen Ross, this style is most notable in the poor and seemingly rushed lighting and in the soft jazz score that unfortunately underlines key scenes that should have been left alone. The editing is also weak, transitioning awkwardly between scenes and breaking scenes up into pieces that would have worked much better as a whole.

What the film does have going for it, though, is its excellent script and its fantastic actors. The dialogue, with its rough and vulgar language, feels extremely realistic in its portrayal of bottom-feeding salesmen. These salesmen are played fantastically by the ensemble cast, with Lemmon as its stand-out.

Lemmon is perfect as pathetic schmuck Shelley Levene, who makes a last-ditch effort to climb back up the heap that once was his. The character is impossible to like, but Lemmon knows how to reveal Levene's desperation lurking just below - though often showing itself explicitly at unguarded moments - the veneer of an old pro who still has the touch, but just not right this second. Pacino is also perfectly cast (another of the few films I like him in) as Ricky Roma, the hot-shot of the minor leagues. It's not so much that he's better in this film than any other one, but that he plays a character that perfectly encapsulates the "Al Pacino role." I could see Al Pacino as a property salesman in a place like Premiere Property (I'd most likely reach for my checkbook if he tried to sell me something), and as a result, is one of the few movies in which I can actually buy his performance. He does not disappoint here. Jonathan Pryce is the only actor in the cast who does, though, playing Pacino's prey, a man who seems a little too nervous. Why he exaggerated the character to the degree he does is beyond me, and perhaps this should have been rethought.

Regardless, the strengths outweigh the weaknesses, and the film works despite its flaws.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, I can't believe you think the lighting in that movie was bad. They worked in a crappy office with low-grade fluorescent lighting. I think it was realistic.

09 July, 2006 01:49  
Blogger Kyle Smith said...

All scenes, inside or outside of the office, were lit like a bad TV movie. It looked terrible!

10 July, 2006 00:30  

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