People I Know

Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, Ryan O’Neal, Tea Leoni, Richard Schiff, Bill Nunn

Director: Daniel Algrant

This very well acted but ultimately depressing film revolves round the breakdown of a talent agent, who, as the tag line of the film confirms, thought he’s seen everything until the night he saw too much. Pacino is this New York press agent who must cover up (or clear up) a murder involving his major client who has himself become embroiled in a huge scandal. What he doesn’t count on is that he too will become a major pawn in this game of celebrity chess, a game where nobody will win.

The characters in the film are so unlovable we can see from the first scene that this whole scenario will end in tears for all concerned. Although the plot is a little too predictable (bar one surprise I wasn’t expecting) the whole thing hinges on the superb acting of all involved, but specifically Pacino, who is, without doubt, the screen’s greatest actor. Many others want to be Pacino and are getting better all the time (Sean Penn for example) but this is a tour de force by this actor, which will be studied for its brilliance and its subtle nods towards a man on the edge. As I say all involved pull on their acting gloves, it’s just a shame that the script wasn’t as rounded as some of the performances.

This is a movie that should gain a great deal of critical acclaim but will fail to set the box office on fire. You are wrapped up in the characters while they are on screen, but once you leave the theatre, nothing, bar the fact that you have just witnessed some great performances, stays with you. You want these characters to win, but the problem is, you know by the movie’s tone that they will only ever see a neon sunset. There’s no escape from the big bad city when you become part of it.

All in all it’s another great Pacino performance in a strangely empty film that tries to mirror the political movies of the 70’s, whose posters adorn office walls, but this only highlights how great these movies were and how vacuous this one is. Robert Redford, who gave us some stellar performances in these movies himself, produces what is, in essence, a bitter film about bitter people.

Dr Kuma’s verdict: No PARALLAX VIEW, but a perplexing one. People I know won’t like it.

3 out of 6 stars

Share