Sunday, 6 January 2013

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Adapted from the stage play of the same name, Glengarry Glen Ross is an exotic zoo turned film. Snakes, sharks and weasels make up the entire cast as a group of four barrel scraping salesmen fight to keep hold of their jobs selling undesirable real estate to people who don't want it.

Alec Baldwin, in one of his most memorable if fleeting roles, is the harbinger of desolation made mortal. Turning up to the Premiere Property office he unleashes one of the finest performances in his filography for the entire seven minutes he's in the film. Trading on David Mamet's delightfully vulgar and expletive laden dialogue he instils the fear of god and the fear of poverty into the four men and lets them tear each other apart. The name of the game is simply survival; with 50% of the workforce about to be cut tensions peak and allegiances wane. Baldwin's dialogue is infectious and the entire cast rips itself to pieces with an expletive to line ratio closer to 1 than I've seen in a long time.

Aside from Baldwin's ephemeral appearance, Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon take centre stage. The former being the current star of the sales team and making full well everyone knows it. The latter, a fallen star who can't catch a break and is willing to weasel his way back to the top any way he can. The stark contrast between a man on his A game and one who's only one or two vertebrae away from being completely spineless makes for compelling viewing that shouldn't be missed by any fans of dialogue driven films. You won't get any action set pieces, but you will get the word "Fuck" 138 times in 100 minutes.

For reference, here's Baldwin's captivating, complete contribution to the film:

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