As a fan of Sal Mineo and James Franco I was looking forward to this film. With a short running time I began to worry as the 30 minute mark was approaching and I was not getting into it.
This movie has parts similar to "The Brown Bunny" that terrible movie consisting of filming a driver wandering aimlessly and then ending with a surprisingly graphic unrelated sex scene. Only "Sal" omitted the surprise since of course the movie tells you at the very beginning how he dies. If you like Terrence Malick movies (I don't) with a dose of "Investigative Reports" you may enjoy it. If you are a fan of Sal Mineo you won't. The kind-of epilogue regarding the arrest of the killer seemed like an afterthought.
Franco said his intent was to capture the mundane typical activities of someone on the last day of their life without them knowing it is their last day. That doesn't make for an interesting movie. I suppose if the character was fictional and the death at the end was a shocking out-of-nowhere surprise it could be entertaining, like a "Twilight Zone" episode. But Sal Mineo was a real person and we know already that he was murdered in a pointless random act.
The tediousness of the opening workout scene (as appealing as a shirtless Val Lauren is), the smoking scenes, and the severely close-up conversation scenes, just dragged on and on. Even the play rehearsal scene was tedious and didn't tell us anything. I wanted to know who were the important people in Sal's life? Who were his friends? Did he have a relationship?
Maybe he really was a has-been actor desperately trying to convince friends to fill the seats of his off-off-off-Broadway play. But I was hoping for more. The copy-paste of real Sal's "Rebel" Oscar-nominated performance upped the contrast of what this movie could have been.
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