Glengarry Glen Ross

So imagine this, you’ve got seven of the world’s greatest actors – Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey and Jonathan Pryce – and you can make whatever film you’d like. What will you make? A sci-fi drama? A mind-bending dark comedy? That’d be my personal choice. Maybe even a musical about saving the environment, if you’re that way inclined. How about a movie about real estate. Nothing else besides real estate. A hundred minutes of real estate. That estate is so real, you can just reach out and touch it. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.

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Clearly somebody else had this good idea first, as they cast these same men when making the movie version of David Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross. With rave reviews, that cast, and a place in my 1001 Movies, I simply had to check this film out. From the movie description, I had gathered that it was about selling real estate, and was wondering how this subject could be made interesting to the audience. A hundred minutes later, I’m still wondering.

From a technical perspective, of course, the film is flawless. With a cast like this, you can expect top notch ‘acting’ throughout. I’ve put the word ‘acting’ in inverted commas, because, to me, this is just acting for the sake of acting, and not for the entertainment of the audience. It’s like having a wank because you’re bored. The actors love their meaty dialogue, and the critics love to fawn over their favourite actors, but it’s just a big show. 100% style over zero substance.

There is a plot here, but the film connected with me on no level whatsoever. The characters were all arrogant, dry and not easy to relate to; the plot was very inaccessible, mainly due to the fact that it was about real estate; and by the end, I couldn’t see that’d we’d moved very far from the beginning. The dialogue, while in some sense rich, was just so boring; I really hope that I never talk about owning land that way. People obsessed with just selling, no thought for other people’s feelings, it sickened me. Honestly, trying to get attached to this film seemed about as impossible as holding onto a frictionless ball. Yeah, physics analogy! It was nice to see those famous actors again, I just wish their talents had been used in a more useful fashion.

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One thought on “Glengarry Glen Ross

  1. “The characters were all arrogant, dry and not easy to relate to; the plot was very inaccessible, mainly due to the fact that it was about real estate; and by the end, I couldn’t see that’d we’d moved very far from the beginning. The dialogue, while in some sense rich, was just so boring; I really hope that I never talk about owning land that way. People obsessed with just selling, no thought for other people’s feelings, it sickened me. ”

    Isn’t that the entire point of the movie, it being a satire on the aggressive and solipsistic mindset generated by 80s capitalism?

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