Reviewed byjhcluesVote: 9/10/10
Those who must rely on their wits to make a living are often prone todesperate measures born of the insecurities inherent in their field ofendeavor-- a straight commission salesman, for example; or in this instance,a real estate salesman, in particular. And under pressure, to what will onein such a position resort to stay afloat when times are tough? A legitimatequestion that every consumer would no doubt like to have answered beforesigning the dotted line and committing some big money to a purchase. Well,hold tight, because help is on the way, as writer/director David Mamet goesto great lengths to answer it in `Glengarry Glen Ross,' an unflinching,hard-edged film that examines the motivations of those who would readily andeagerly separate you from more than a few of your hard earned dollars, andwhose least concern, apparently, is the value of their product or thatparcel of land, which according to them is situated just this side ofShangri-la. And if you've ever trusted a big-ticket salesman in your life,after visiting Mamet's film, it's doubtful you ever willagain.
Very simply, the story is this: The Company wants results; the hierarchyexpects their salesmen to produce, and they don't care how. Toward thatend, a `motivator' (Alec Baldwin), has been dispatched to this particularoffice to put things into perspective for those who would sell their wares,as it were. The deal is, that at the end of a given period of time, thesalesman whose name is at the top of the tote board will get a new car;those who fail to meet their quota are out the door. End of story. Theywill, however, be supplied with `leads,' but from the `old' file. The new,`fresh' leads are reserved for those who first prove themselves worthy,those who can do whatever it takes to make the sale, without qualm,reservation or conscience. But the prospect of being put on the street inthe wake of the give-no-quarter edict only serves to drive one amongst themto an act of desperation-- an irrational act from which there can be noforgiveness and no redemption. A tough verdict, but then again, nobody saidlife was going to be easy.
In adapting his own play for the screen, Mamet returns to one of hisfavorite themes by exploring yet another variation of the `con' foreverbeing perpetrated somewhere, on someone, in one way or another. In Mamet'sworld (in films such as `House of Games' and the more recent `Heist')nothing is ever as it seems, and the confidence game is always afoot, thecauses and effects of which make up the drama of his stories. And this filmis no exception. Whether it's the smooth and savvy top-dog of the office,Ricky Roma (Al Pacino), schmoozing a client into handing over a check, or aveteran loser like Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon) showing up at someone's dooron a cold call at a most inopportune and inconvenient moment and refusing toleave, Mamet convincingly maintains that the con-is-always-on, and theresult-- especially in this film-- is a bleak, but riveting commentary onthe human condition, delivered with an intensity that will keep you on thevery edge of your emotional seat right up to the end.
The cast Mamet assembled for this offering is superb: Al Pacino is in topform and extremely effective with a comparatively tempered performance; thescene in which he lulls his customer (played by Jonathan Pryce) intocomplacency is absolutely hypnotic. This is the salesman you hope you neverencounter, especially if something like the Brooklyn Bridge is beingoffered, as such overtures as those proffered by Ricky Roma are just toohard to refuse. And Pacino not only sells it, he closes the deal, aswell.
Ed Harris, as Dave Moss, is outstanding, also, creating a character whosebitterness seems to flow from the inside out, and has long since overwhelmedthat ability and better part of himself that could've made him a successfulsalesman, had he but turned his energies to more positive concerns and awayfrom the self-defeating, self-pity into which he has descended. While atthe opposite end of the spectrum is George, played by Alan Arkin, who unlikeDave (who though unable to act upon it, at least had promise at some pointin his career) has nothing but insecurity and empty dreams to sustain him. As wonderfully realized by Arkin, he's the proverbial duck-out-of-water, whobelongs anywhere except in a job as a salesman.
The best performance of all, however, is turned in by Jack Lemmon, who inShelley Levene creates a character so steeped in despair and hopelessnessthat's it's almost tangible. You have but to look into Lemmon's eyes tounderstand the turmoil and depth of Shelley's desperation, and Lemmonsuccessfully conveys the complexities of this man in terms that arebelievable and incredibly real. He makes Shelley a guy you can feel forwithout necessarily sympathizing with him. It's simply a terrific piece ofwork by a terrific actor.
Another of the film's strengths is the performance by Kevin Spacey, as JohnWilliamson, the office manager. It's an understated, but pivotal role, andSpacey does a good job of making it convincing, which ultimately heightensthe overall impact of the film, especially the climax.
The supporting cast includes Bruce Altman (Mr. Spannel), Jude Ciccoledda(Detective) and Paul Butler (Policeman). Mamet builds and sustains atension throughout this film that drives the anxiety level through the roof;at times, it's exhausting to watch. In the end, however, `Glengarry GlenRoss' is a satisfying experience, involving very real situations with whichmany in the audience will be able to relate, and delivered with ahigh-powered energy equal to the subject matter. And once you catch yourbreath, it's one you're going to appreciate even more. It's the magic ofthe movies. I rate this one 9/10.
Reviewed byMovieAddict2016Vote: 9/10/10
I love movies like this. Theatre-styled motion pictures driven bydialog versus action. Get a few guys together in a room, watch themtalk -- I have a soft spot for this stuff. I have ever since I canremember. Some of my favorite films are character-driven ones: "TheHustler," "The Big Kahuna," "Midnight Run," "Planes, Trains &Automobiles." At first glance this list seems skeptical -- butbasically all these films follow the same central theme: clever dialog,character interaction and evolution, and depth.
"Glengarry Glen Ross" is one of the best of the genre. Scripted byDavid Mamet, the dialog never hits and weak patches -- it is realistic,extremely fun to listen to, and the actors all deliver flawlessperformances.
Al Pacino finally finds the perfect role to let himself vent (as hestarted to do in "Scent of a Woman" the same year, and won an Oscar for-- he deserved it more for this). Pacino has some great one-liners andquips, but he never seems too broad to find believable.
Jack Lemmon is similarly impressive, in what he called one of hisfavorite films of his entire career. Lemmon abandoned his comedic rootsfor this drama and it paid off -- he's not only an excellent funnyman,but a great actor.
Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris, and Alec Baldwin fill out the rest of the castand all do very well; especially Baldwin in a brief cameo. I've neverhad much consideration for Baldwin as an actor, but his five minutes'worth of screen time here reminded me that when he's good, he really ISgood! Overall "Glengarry Glen Ross" is not only one of my favoritefilms of the genre but also a solid movie by any means. If you aren'tbored by movies in which people talk instead of running around defusingbombs, you'll probably really get a kick out of this.
Reviewed byTOMASBBloodhoundVote: 10/10/10
I cannot believe this film has been out there all these years and Ijust now saw it for the first time this week. I rented it on a whim andI've watched it four times since Monday.
Glengarry Glen Ross is the story of a failing real estate office inwhich four agents are told they'd better get some property sold quick,or they'll be out of a job. By the end of the month, the top sellerwill win himself a Cadillac, the guy who finishes second will winhimself a set of steak knives. The other two jokers will be out on thestreet. The problem is that the good leads are locked away in a filingcabinet in the office manager's room. They won't be distributed untilthe end of the contest. The guys are left with only leads that likelywon't pan out at all.
The four salesmen are each very memorable individuals. Al Pacino playsthe best of the bunch. He's smooth and confident, and he seems to bethe only guy making any good sales recently. Jack Lemmon is the oldlion of the bunch. He's a good talker, but he's been on a stretch ofterrible luck both professionally and personally. It's looking like heis now obsolete, and could be one of the guys let go. Ed Harris is abrooding; scheming character also on a streak of bad luck. His plan isnot to make sales, but break into the office and steal the good leads.Alan Arkin is a meek fellow who cannot even dial the right phone numberor carry on any type of meaningful conversation. Each actor has theircharacter down perfectly.
The story unfolds in less than a 24 hour period. Alec Baldwin is ahotshot salesman from "downtown" who shows up at the beginning of thefilm and lets the guys know how worthless they are. He lays down theterms of the contest in some very colorfully profane language that setsthe tone for the rest of the script. Profanity can be monotonous andgratuitous, but not here. Mamet's script is like a piece of art formedby interlacing all the fine swear words in the English languagetogether with a touch of ironic gloom. And how often do you hear theword "c*cksucker" said with the articulate dignity of Jack Lemmon? Wesee each character for what they are, and each actor is allowed to showus why they are so famous. I believe this film to be a landmark pieceof cinema for this generation. As much as 12 Angry Men was in its owntime. How often do you see such a cast get together with such a finescript? Not often enough, I'd say.
The Kevin Spacey character has a special place in my heart. I also workat a job where I have to deal with a bunch of pompous salesmen. Isuppose it comes with the job, but salesmen always seem to think theyare more important than they are. What they don't seem to understand isthat different people can be hired to sell the same goods and services.More often than not, it is the company that retains or loses customers.That said, sales is a ballsy profession, and it does take genuine skilland luck to be successful at it.
For those out there who either are salesmen or like them, then thisfilm will also be a treat. There is one beautiful scene in particularwhen Jack Lemmon has just made what he thinks is a huge sale to breakhis slump. He bursts into the office and happily demands his sale benoted on the board with everyone else's. Nobody but Pacino seemsinterested (Harris for example acts jealous and spiteful) in hearingthe details. Pacino comes over and sits by Lemmon and listens to howthe old master was able to pull it off. The camera subtly backs off andlets the two share the moment together. That was very well-done.
Due to all the profanity in this film, it is basically not possible toshow it on network television. This may be the primary reason the filmhas slipped through the cracks over the years, and not made many top100 lists and so forth. If you want to see some great actors doing whatthey do best, then DO NOT MISS THIS FILM!
10 of 10 stars
The real story behind the world of sales. This is a realistic portrayal of what it is to try making a life in high pressure sales with all its highs and lows; promises of fortunes and deliveries of dross. Red-leads and dead-leads are to blame for life's outcomes. Living with "Objection, Rebuttal, Close" and fake automobiles from the mobbed-up corporate owners.