It's a hot summer day in 1933 in South Philly, where 12-year old Gennaro lives with his widowed mom and his ailing grandpa, who sits outside holding tight to his last quarter, which he's ... See full summary »
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio,
Times are tough in a Chicago real-estate office; the salesmen (Shelley Levene, Ricky Roma, Dave Moss, and George Aaronow) are given a strong incentive by Blake to succeed in a sales contest. The prizes? First prize is a Cadillac El Dorado, second prize is a set of steak knives, third prize is the sack! There is no room for losers in this dramatically masculine world; only "closers" will get the good sales leads. There is a lot of pressure to succeed, so a robbery is committed which has unforeseen consequences for all the characters. Written by
Patrick Dominick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Alan Arkin turned down the film twice because he didn't like the character he was being offered; he thought Aaronow was an inherently unlikable and stupid character. However, upon reconsideration, Arkin created a backstory for Aaronow - he hadn't been a sales man very long, he was a teacher by trade, but the school in which he worked had got shut down, and he needed a job to support his family. Arkin says that he played Aaronow as an innocent rather that the usual stage depiction of him as a weak willed bumbler. See more »
While Shelley is recounting to Roma the latter part of his close of his $82,000 Nyborg sale, the office door is wide open, no lights are on in the office, and clearly nobody is moving around in the office. Then Shelley calls to Williamson for more leads. When the camera angle changes, the office door is closed and Williamson has to open the door to come out into the room to answer that "the leads are coming." See more »
I cannot believe this film has been out there all these years and I just now saw it for the first time this week. I rented it on a whim and I've watched it four times since Monday.
Glengarry Glen Ross is the story of a failing real estate office in which 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 seller will win himself a Cadillac, the guy who finishes second will win himself a set of steak knives. The other two jokers will be out on the street. The problem is that the good leads are locked away in a filing cabinet in the office manager's room. They won't be distributed until the end of the contest. The guys are left with only leads that likely won't pan out at all.
The four salesmen are each very memorable individuals. Al Pacino plays the best of the bunch. He's smooth and confident, and he seems to be the only guy making any good sales recently. Jack Lemmon is the old lion of the bunch. He's a good talker, but he's been on a stretch of terrible luck both professionally and personally. It's looking like he is now obsolete, and could be one of the guys let go. Ed Harris is a brooding; scheming character also on a streak of bad luck. His plan is not 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 number or carry on any type of meaningful conversation. Each actor has their character down perfectly.
The story unfolds in less than a 24 hour period. Alec Baldwin is a hotshot salesman from "downtown" who shows up at the beginning of the film and lets the guys know how worthless they are. He lays down the terms of the contest in some very colorfully profane language that sets the tone for the rest of the script. Profanity can be monotonous and gratuitous, but not here. Mamet's script is like a piece of art formed by interlacing all the fine swear words in the English language together with a touch of ironic gloom. And how often do you hear the word "c*cksucker" said with the articulate dignity of Jack Lemmon? We see each character for what they are, and each actor is allowed to show us why they are so famous. I believe this film to be a landmark piece of cinema for this generation. As much as 12 Angry Men was in its own time. How often do you see such a cast get together with such a fine script? Not often enough, I'd say.
The Kevin Spacey character has a special place in my heart. I also work at a job where I have to deal with a bunch of pompous salesmen. I suppose it comes with the job, but salesmen always seem to think they are more important than they are. What they don't seem to understand is that 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 skill and luck to be successful at it.
For those out there who either are salesmen or like them, then this film will also be a treat. There is one beautiful scene in particular when Jack Lemmon has just made what he thinks is a huge sale to break his slump. He bursts into the office and happily demands his sale be noted on the board with everyone else's. Nobody but Pacino seems interested (Harris for example acts jealous and spiteful) in hearing the details. Pacino comes over and sits by Lemmon and listens to how the old master was able to pull it off. The camera subtly backs off and lets the two share the moment together. That was very well-done.
Due to all the profanity in this film, it is basically not possible to show it on network television. This may be the primary reason the film has slipped through the cracks over the years, and not made many top 100 lists and so forth. If you want to see some great actors doing what they do best, then DO NOT MISS THIS FILM!
10 of 10 stars
72 of 82 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?