The name Al Pacino has almost become synonymous with the act of scenery chewing in recent years. Righteous Kill, Ocean’s Thirteen, The Devil’s Advocate – the list goes on. It often seems that, if he’s not bouncing off the walls and tearing his own hair out, we’re just not getting the full Pacino. It is perhaps testament to the skill of director David Gordon Green, then, that Manglehorn apparently showcases a Pacino performance that is both measured and nuanced – demonstrating a subtlety and lightness of touch. Pacino has most certainly still got it.
With a premise that – on the surface at least – is reminiscent of As Good As It Gets, Manglehorn sees an aging locksmith (Pacino) pining for the love of his life in a small Texas town, while finding a warm friendship with a bank teller (Holly Hunter). Supporting those two leading acting heavyweights are Chris Messina (The Mindy Project) and Harmony Korine (Stoker). The script is the first feature length screenplay from Paul Logan – who has previously written and directed a short film, as well as having worked as a driver on David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche in 2013.
This speaks right to the heart of the matter regarding this film. David Gordon Green is establishing himself as a director with a fascinating eye – not just for visuals and tone, but for talent and performance. He makes interesting casting choices that are – in the execution – completely flawless, and encourage the audience to approach stories and themes from an unexpected and unusual direction.
In this first clip, for example, we have a relatively innocuous scene featuring Al Pacino and Holly Hunter, but the pacing, framing and performance of it creates something that sneaks under your skin. Pacino is reserved, hesitant and guarded – projecting entirely outwards, while hiding himself in plain sight. Hunter, on the other hand, is open and warm, making subtle overtures that barely disguise a deeper yearning. The combination of these two dispositions creates something of an awkward dance, in which a palpable distance is built between them. The whole thing renders a scene that is at once fascinating, and almost painful to watch.
Manglehorn has no US distribution as yet, but now that it is making the rounds of the festival circuit, that will almost certainly change very quickly. It has recently screened at Venice to great acclaim, and will be rolled out at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6th 2014, as part of the Special Presentations program. While we may have some time to wait before this film has a general release, two things seem very clear from this clip – firstly, Manglehorn will definitely be worth seeking out, and secondly, keep your eye on David Gordon Green. This guy is headed for greatness.
Source: The Playlist