Starring: David Gordon Green
Director: Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, Chris Messina
Al Pacino returns to the big screen this week as he leads the cast in drama Manglehorn, which sees him team up with director David Gordon Green for the first time.
At the start of his directing career, Green was known for his comedy with the likes of Pineapple Express, The Sitter, and Your Highness but, more recently, he has shown a different side to himself as a filmmaker.
Joe was the last time that we saw him in the director's chair and now he is back with another dramatic film project.
AJ Manglehorn is an aging, ordinary guy in a small town. He nurses his sick cat, squeezes out a conversation with the local bank teller every Friday, and eats at the same place every day.
But there is more to Manglehorn than meets the eye: he's an ex-con who, 40 years ago, gave up the woman of his dreams for a big 'job'. He now obsesses daily over the choices he made. After a dramatic effort to start over, Manglehorn faces a terrifying moment and is unmasked as a guy with a very, very dark past.
We have all see the redemption movies before and Manglehorn really doesn't offer anything new to this rather worn genre. Thrown on top of that a drama that is uneven and a story that is quite difficult to follow and you have a movie that doesn't deliver.
However, it is not a total loss as Manglehorn is worth watching for Al Pacino's performance. This is a very subtle performance from Pacino and he has created an incredibly interesting, complex, and conflicted character. Just seeing him do that on screen is a joy.
But all that terrific work by Pacino is undone because Green gives this great character very little to do - it is almost as if he doesn't know what to do with him.
I am a huge fan of Pacino and he has delivered some great performances and created some iconic characters over the years. While this is by no means up there with his best work, there is something great about seeing him work his magic. He really does capture the heartbreak, frustration, and regret of this character wonderfully.
Manglehorn could have been a wonderful character study and I feel that Green really has let this great creation from Pacino slip through his fingers. Holly Hunter is also on great form and I enjoyed seeing Hunter and Pacino share the screen together for the first time.
This is by no means the worst film that I have seen this year, but it is sad to watch a movie that you know could have been so much more - especially when you have actors like Pacino and Hunter delivering such fine work.
There are brief moments of magic in Manglehorn but they are few and far between and don't really lead anywhere, which is a major shame. The script really doesn't live up to and support the great performances delivered by the central cast.
Manglehorn is out now.
tagged in Al Pacino