Monday, 8 January 2018

I've Just Seen: Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

 Director: James Foley

Note: I watched the film and wrote the review before the allegations about Kevin Spacey came to light.

Few films' cast lists are as starry as Foley's. Scripts adapted from plays often attract top-quality stars because the writing is so good. What makes Glengarry Glen Ross feel different is that every role is a plum one, giving the actors something to really get their teeth into. While the setting doesn't change much from the real estate office (and doesn't entirely escape the story's theatrical origins), the scenario and the acting make this a great watch.

It is hard to single any one actor out for their role. Alec Baldwin almost walks off with the film in his one scene. His "pep" talk is hilarious and frightening, putting the fear of God into the sales team. Jack Lemmon is an actor I would watch in anything, and he is wonderful here, playing around with his charming everyman persona, twisting it to show the desperation the fuels his Shelley "The Machine" Levene.

Listening to well-written dialogue, said by well-drawn characters, played by some of the best actors in the busineses is always a satisfying experience. The play may not be world-changing, nor is the cinematography particularly ground-breaking. However, something this well-done is hard to get right, and Glengarry Glen Ross gets pretty much everything right.


  1. Hey, you are alive! good to see something from you again. Happy New Year, Julia.
    I have never seen this movie yet, but it is one I am looking forward to.

    1. Happy New Year to you too! A combination of Christmas, house-minding, cricket and tennis kept me from reviewing, but am going to try and get back into the swing of things!

      This is definitely a satisfying watch. Everyone has something interesting to do and they make an impact. I wonder if the presence of so many great actors who are used to being leads in films created a nice tension onset that helped with the competitive nature of the story.

  2. It really is a hell of a movie.

    This movie is one of the reasons I've more or less taken the stand I have on people like Spacey. While it will be some time before I really want to watch one of his movies again, refusing to watch because of him gives him an incredible amount of power--I lose Lemmon, Ed Harris, Pacino and so much more if I give up this film, and they didn't do anything to deserve that. Especially when it comes to movies, we give up the work of artists who aren't at fault by avoiding them who had the bad fortune of being in a production with a monster.

    1. I feel the same. It is such a hard thing to get one's head around (and arguably gets harder regarding historic accusations). I hate the crimes he is accused of, but that shouldn't mean all the other actors and crew who are being brilliant get punished for his behaviour. And for me Lemmon is the heart and soul of the film, so it is easy to love for that reason.