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Wick's Review

Created Nov 28, 2012 06:32AM PST • Edited Apr 17, 2015 08:27PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Death of a Salesman? Death of Three Salesmen, figuratively anyway. Glengarry Glen Ross famously pits salesmen against each other in a ghoulish contest where the winner gets a Cadillac, the runner-up a set of steak knives and everyone else gets fired — the motivation of the damned.

    Performed by an outrageously strong cast that excels with David Mamet’s pungent dialog, this movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross is a feast of bravura declamation. In 21st Century terms, it’s The Office done R-rated, with artistry and as no fucking joke, an anti-comedy that’s often darkly funny.

    It’s also a stylish little film, starting with how it introduces that panoply of big stars.
    The opening credits rattle by in the blur of a passing El train, slinging out a parade of big names.

    Al Pacino…Jack Lemmon… Alec Baldwin…Alan Arkin…Ed Harris…Kevin Spacey…Jonathan Pryce

    That cast is more than enough to close most any movie fan.

  3. Perfect 5.0
    • Al Pacino plays the top dog salesman as smoothly – powerfully – seductive.
    • Jack Lemmon plays a long-in-the-tooth salesman as a tremendously ingratiating professional.
    • Ed Harris plays a mid-tier salesman as more conniver than closer.
    • Alan Arkin plays a bottom-tier salesman as sadly needy.
    • Kevin Spacey plays their manager as an amoral prick.
    • Alec Baldwin plays a senior exec as an enthusiastic prick.
    • Jonathan Pryce plays a mark as a weak reed.
    • Bruce Altman plays another mark as a strong reed.
    • Jude Ciccolella is even distinctive in a tiny role as a police detective.
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0

    No female roles, but set to not drag down the overall acting score.

  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Kudos to David Mamet and James Foley for creating a real movie out of Mamet’s celebrated play. It barely betrays its roots on the stage. In part that’s because Foley employs jazz music behind Mamet’s jazzy dialog.

  9. Direction Very Good 3.5
  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    The well structured screenplay provides each of the main characters a chance to think he’s getting over, only to have the tables turn. Thus we’re treated to the schadenfreude delights of mean men taking turns savaging each other. Mamet scripts such verbal combat better than damn near any writer working today.

    Separately, no wonder Mamet was revered by the Left before his 21st Century move to the Right. GGR presents a Left Wing caricature of sales as being little more than a con game. Such illegal boiler-rooms do exist, but it would be more interesting to see a full fledged drama set in a legitimate and more commonplace sales setting. Arthur Miller pulled off such a feat with Death of a Salesman, so it can be done.

  11. Music Great 4.0

    Wayne Shorter and Al Jarreau, playing Duke Ellington.

  12. Visuals Very Good 3.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.8

    Mamet-speak. You got a fucking problem with that?

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Gentle 1.0
  17. Rudeness Profane 3.4
  18. Glib 1.2

    The main conflict is the salesmen fighting over who gets the best leads. Thus instead of waiting for Godot, it’s waiting for Marketing. As a marketing guy myself, I find that delicious.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.7
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

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