26 April 2000 | keihan
The film that helped me discover the joy that is David Mamet...
I went into "Glengarry Glen Ross" totally blind. I had no idea who David Mamet was really (other than the fact that he was a writer), never saw any of his plays, or realized that he'd been in business for a while (through some backtracking, I found out that he was the writer behind the film version of "The Untouchables", one of the best films of the 80's). All that changed after I saw this brilliant, BRILLIANT film. It amazes me how all the big names in this film (and there are plenty, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, and Alec Baldwin) were pulled together for this two-act movie play about a salesman's life. It's all very dialogue heavy throughout, only about three or four different locations (the primary action all taking place in the office) and yet I was never bored for a second. Counting up all the "F*** You!"s in this film has convinced me that the tongue stings in ways a torture specialist can only imagine. The dialogue is clever, vicious, and occasionally even a little funny (particularly when Pacino is in action; intentional or not, he can be a VERY funny guy). The plotting doesn't show all it's cards straight away, as there are one or two suprises that ultimately catch the viewer off-guard.
Now as to the cast, what to say that hasn't been said? Hmmm...nothing really, I suppose. Watching Lemmon's desperation, Harris' anger, Pacino's laid-back cool, Spacey's authoritarian chutzpah, and Baldwin's icy dissection of his employees is astounishing to behold. Lesser actors would have made the results much less memorable and/or believable. These guys make it unforgettable. Two decades from now on, when all the hooplas of the 90's "hits" dies down, people will rediscover what I already know: "Glengarry Glen Ross" is one for the ages.