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,
In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.
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>
This film is perfect. I give out 10s about as often as Stanley Kubrick made films, and Glengarry Glen Ross is one of them.
There is so much more in this film than just a bunch of guys in a real estate office. I'm puzzled, as an aside, why the language is considered such a big deal. There is less of it in GGR than in the average DeNiro film I watch. Maybe it's because the film is composed of almost nothing but dialogue.
Back to the content. GGR contains at least two, maybe three of my favorite performances by anyone. Baldwin, who I really don't like, is perfect. Lemmon is excruciatingly good, and Pacino actually makes me forget who I'm watching. He really sinks into his character. Pryce also gives a commendable performance.
For those who didn't get this film, who think it's just dark and pointless, here's the point. The title is Glengarry Glen Ross. If you listen to the conversations you will notice that the Glengarry leads are the new leads, the ones given to closers, the leads given to those who go out and squeeze as much money out of people as they can so they don't lose their jobs.
Glen Ross farms are talked about in a brilliantly written conversation between Ed Harris and Alan Arkin, the one when Harris orders donuts and Arkin keeps repeating back to him what he said. "..Boots, yes." In that conversation, Harris talks about what he learned when he first got into the sales racket. You don't sell one car to a guy, you sell him 5 cars over fifteen years. But, he says, those guys who come in and burn everyone for as much money as they can get and then go to Argentina ruined a good thing. The drive to win the Cadillac had ruined the ideal of maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship between customer and salesman. Sharks like Baldwin came in, made their millions, and left a wasteland for the "losers" to work in.
The film is about how business in America is war, and about how the drive for capital has ultimately dehumanized us. The strongest contrast is between Baldwin and Lemmon. Baldwin is a machine. Everything in his life, his very identity, is defined by the fact that his watch cost more than a "loser's" car. "Family man? Go home and play with your kids." "A loser is always a loser." His name is that he drives a BMW.
With Lemmon, pay attention to the brief references to his daughter. The man is desperate to make money, not only to keep his job, but to pay for his daughter's medical treatment. A very human thing.
Eventually, these men prey not only on customers, but on each other. It's vicious. If you don't understand why, all you'll see is the viciousness, and you probably won't enjoy the film.
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