Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) Poster

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MrsRainbow25 March 1999
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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As a former salesman, this is the most realistic movie ever
SykkBoy26 March 2001
I've read the comments about the amount of profanity in this movie..if you've ever worked in a less than ethical sale office, you'll know the language is very real...having worked a few years in telemarketing selling everything from wireless cable licenses to vitamins and ad specs, I can tell you, the dialog is very real.

This is my favorite movie of all time...sure, it's not flashy, upbeat or effect-laden, but it's so realistic that the first time I saw it, I got goosebumps...

Every character in the movie is one that I recognized from my office experiences...the mega-closer mouth piece (Baldwin), the complainers who always complained about the leads (Lemon and Arkin), the office manager who'd never actually sold anything before but had a little rub (Spacey), the hotshot salesman (Pacino)... it was just so real...anyone who's ever worked in a brokerage can tell you about the amounts of profanity in the sales profession...especially high pressure sales...

Ben Affleck's performance in "Boiler Room" has shades of Baldwin's performance in this movie...not a bad thing, just an observation. Baldwin's best acting is this 5 minute scene and his "I am God" speech in "Malice".

Amazing acting all around, tight realistic dialog (first time I saw this, I could almost say the words before they were spoken) Highly recommended! 10
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magma_iceman8 August 2003
The first time I saw this movie my jaw was hanging down and my mouth wide open from start to finish. I was gripped.

This movie has no sex, no violence, no car chases, no action - but absolutely the most powerful acting I have ever seen. Uncompromisingly realistic.

Having said that, I can understand why so many people do NOT like it - you have to like dramas, and especially one centered so much around desparation and conflict, and NOT around action. It is adapted from the stage play, and I appreciate the way in which it was shot, retaining so much of the raw appeal that can only be felt at the theatre, as opposed to the cinema.

This movie is a veritable who's who of acting, with Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Jonathan Pryce - not to mention a then-relatively-unknwon Kevin Spacey.

If you can appreciate powerful acting, films based on dialogue with few scene changes, and can withstand an absolute barrage of foul language (which I must add is perfectly suited to this film), then this movie will blow you away.
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One of top 100 greatest films of all time! and it's based on a play!
MovieMan197518 April 2005
I cannot believe this film is rated below an 8

What else can be written about James Foley's adaptation of David Mamet's Pulitzer prize winning play other than devastatingly scorching.

Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, and Jonathan Pryce: perhaps the greatest acting ensemble ever put before a camera, collectively portray employees of a real estate agency- the sales department. Some of the greatest characters written in the 20th century cinema. Lemmon, 'the machine' Levene, is the old hero, now on a steady and sharp decline. Revered by others. Pacino,Ricky Roma the hot shot. He keeps an arm's length from everyone. Alan Arkin, George, is simply the loser. Never was hot, never will be - totally hopeless. Ed Harris is Dave Moss, a fighter, kinda like DeNiro in Raging Bull. Not hot, willing to do anything to reach the top. Like a rabid pitbull. Frustrated and at the boiling point. Kevin Spacey, Williamson, is the manager. A puppet of the owners, a real pencil pusher. But at least he doesn't live off of door-to-door sales. Alec Baldwin, in his greatest performance of his career, only taking up a mere 10 mins of screen time, tears the screen to shreds and burns the film up with one of the most incendiary, provocative, foul-mouthed, scene-chomping speeches ever. I was 17 when I saw this in the theatre and Alec Baldwin blew my mind with that scene. In college we used to watch this film over and over and rewind the speech 10 times over. We knew every line, every gesture. Jack Lemmon's face when Baldwin yells "Put that coffee down! Coffee's for closers". Or "You see this watch? this watch costs more than your car".We would kill ourselves laughing, that's how much we loved it.

Mamet's character driven screenplay delves into the place in our souls and in our psyches, where desperation exits. The men live off of selling near useless Florida real estate, and their tool is the cold call - the hard sell. Lemmon, Pacino,and Bladwin are true masters. Gold belt senseis of the cold call. The bullcrap that they can unload is remarkable. Stream of consciousness. Lie upon lie. Smug and greasy. Pacino's monologue to the hapless gimmel Pryce, leads to tangents about pedophilia, and the stench of urine in subways. He wields a cheezy brochure of the properties like it's Shakespeare, with a picture of a fabergé egg on it. Lemmon meanwhile desperately stands in rain drenched phone booths, creating illusions to the listener like a verbal ballet. When he worms his way into one of the lead's house, he plants himself on the couch and grabs a stuffed animal he sees there. That little thing he does there, that gesture; in those 3 seconds, his character's conflict is symbolized. Though the guru to all younger than him, his decline is turning into an avalanche, ready to bury him. He is so desperate he resorts to the cheesiest, phoniest, approaches. It is heartbreaking to watch. Drama not unlike that of the great Greek tragedies of Aeschylus and Euripides. Classic human fare. Alan Arkin is slightly type-cast as the bumbling, mumbling, passive, loser. He has done it so many times. But this has to be the apex of that characterization for him. Ed Harris is so full rage, spitting venom (and literally spitting on Al Pacino during his farewell speech, his "farewell to the troops"). It is literally one of the most expletive laden tirades ever projected in mainstream cinemas. You are just waiting for his ears to smoke and his head to explode. Gut wrenching. Williamson, is subject to, by Roma and Levene, the harshest tongue whippings ever. Ferocious, nasty, derogatory. Spacey is literally humiliated by these masters of bulls**t. He most certainly gets his comeuppance; and later, a pretty nasty little service return of his own. Much is written in these reviews about the swearing in the film. Swearing, in Mamet's works, is part of the syntax of those worlds. It is almost like the curse words become subtext. It is like the plié in his abusive ballet of words. But nonetheless, umbrage can be made about this matter. It is after all, foul swearing, carpet-bombed from a writer who uses it as his key verbal motif. You simply have to accept as Mamet's artistic license and move on. It is one of those things that you simply cannot let ruin the experience for you. Mamet is widely considered one of the greatest living playwright and screenwriter in the English language. Just consider the swearing as part of the stylization of the cold-caller salesman language.

The narrative of Glengarry Glen Ross takes place in one evening and the next morning, and is mostly in a dingy office and a Chinese restaurant. Superbly light, and with an awesome jazz score, it has great camera moves that highlight, accent, punctuate, and round out the actors' performances. My favourite motif is the subway that rattles by - at crucial moments of crucial dialogues. It is interesting to note, that the director, James Foley, who superbly crafted this ensemble piece, never really became an A-list director. All the elements are there, perfectly and purposely assembled - the sound, the image, the performances. Perhaps, Mamet did more directing than the writer normally would? Or did the real cinema pros - the cast - just take the ball and run, literally directing the film themselves, so used to playing those roles on stage, with the exception of Pacino and Baldwin. Another note of interest, is that I have seen this film numerous times, with a variety of people, and have yet to meet a female who liked it. This seems to categorize Glengarry Glen Ross as perhaps one the more masculine, testosterone soaked, man-only films ever. Like wild male animals fighting it out in the jungles. Despite that, I say this is definitely a must see for guy and gal cinema lovers all over.
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The film that helped me discover the joy that is David Mamet...
keihan26 April 2000
I went into "Glengarry Glen Ross" totally blind. I had no idea who David Mamet was really (other than the fact that he was a writer), never saw any of his plays, or realized that he'd been in business for a while (through some backtracking, I found out that he was the writer behind the film version of "The Untouchables", one of the best films of the 80's). All that changed after I saw this brilliant, BRILLIANT film. It amazes me how all the big names in this film (and there are plenty, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, and Alec Baldwin) were pulled together for this two-act movie play about a salesman's life. It's all very dialogue heavy throughout, only about three or four different locations (the primary action all taking place in the office) and yet I was never bored for a second. Counting up all the "F*** You!"s in this film has convinced me that the tongue stings in ways a torture specialist can only imagine. The dialogue is clever, vicious, and occasionally even a little funny (particularly when Pacino is in action; intentional or not, he can be a VERY funny guy). The plotting doesn't show all it's cards straight away, as there are one or two suprises that ultimately catch the viewer off-guard.

Now as to the cast, what to say that hasn't been said? Hmmm...nothing really, I suppose. Watching Lemmon's desperation, Harris' anger, Pacino's laid-back cool, Spacey's authoritarian chutzpah, and Baldwin's icy dissection of his employees is astounishing to behold. Lesser actors would have made the results much less memorable and/or believable. These guys make it unforgettable. Two decades from now on, when all the hooplas of the 90's "hits" dies down, people will rediscover what I already know: "Glengarry Glen Ross" is one for the ages.
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Death of a f#ckin' salesman.
TOMASBBloodhound1 May 2005
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

the Hound.
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One of the best films of its kind
MovieAddict201628 April 2005
I love movies like this. Theatre-styled motion pictures driven by dialog versus action. Get a few guys together in a room, watch them talk -- I have a soft spot for this stuff. I have ever since I can remember. Some of my favorite films are character-driven ones: "The Hustler," "The Big Kahuna," "Midnight Run," "Planes, Trains & Automobiles." At first glance this list seems skeptical -- but basically 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 by David Mamet, the dialog never hits and weak patches -- it is realistic, extremely fun to listen to, and the actors all deliver flawless performances.

Al Pacino finally finds the perfect role to let himself vent (as he started 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 and quips, but he never seems too broad to find believable.

Jack Lemmon is similarly impressive, in what he called one of his favorite films of his entire career. Lemmon abandoned his comedic roots for 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 cast and all do very well; especially Baldwin in a brief cameo. I've never had 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 IS good! Overall "Glengarry Glen Ross" is not only one of my favorite films of the genre but also a solid movie by any means. If you aren't bored by movies in which people talk instead of running around defusing bombs, you'll probably really get a kick out of this.
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The plight of the working man
gml1726 March 2000
No film that I have ever seen expresses the path that the working man follows better than this one. Lemmon and Arkin are perfect as the salesman who's luck has turned towards the negative. You can literally see their will to live being sucked out of them with every blown sale and missed opportunity. Ed Harris is great as the angry salesman who is willing to do what it takes to save his own future. Kevin Spacey plays the tight -collared boss to a T, pushing people and not giving them the breaks they need. The two most quoted characters of any movie I know are those played by Pacino and Baldwin. Pacino always excels in parts where his anger and ability to create believable outbursts are showcased, as they are in this part. All that I can say about Baldwin is that this is definitely his best performance and the writing for his character is unbelievable. I can watch his 10 minute scene over and over again. This movie rules in every way possible. 10 out of 10. (I don't give that rating easily)
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Mamet Sells It
jhclues13 January 2002
Those who must rely on their wits to make a living are often prone to desperate measures born of the insecurities inherent in their field of endeavor-- a straight commission salesman, for example; or in this instance, a real estate salesman, in particular. And under pressure, to what will one in such a position resort to stay afloat when times are tough? A legitimate question that every consumer would no doubt like to have answered before signing 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 goes to great lengths to answer it in `Glengarry Glen Ross,' an unflinching, hard-edged film that examines the motivations of those who would readily and eagerly separate you from more than a few of your hard earned dollars, and whose least concern, apparently, is the value of their product or that parcel of land, which according to them is situated just this side of Shangri-la. And if you've ever trusted a big-ticket salesman in your life, after visiting Mamet's film, it's doubtful you ever will again.

Very simply, the story is this: The Company wants results; the hierarchy expects their salesmen to produce, and they don't care how. Toward that end, a `motivator' (Alec Baldwin), has been dispatched to this particular office 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, the salesman 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. They will, 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 in the wake of the give-no-quarter edict only serves to drive one amongst them to an act of desperation-- an irrational act from which there can be no forgiveness and no redemption. A tough verdict, but then again, nobody said life was going to be easy.

In adapting his own play for the screen, Mamet returns to one of his favorite themes by exploring yet another variation of the `con' forever being perpetrated somewhere, on someone, in one way or another. In Mamet's world (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, the causes and effects of which make up the drama of his stories. And this film is 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 a veteran loser like Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon) showing up at someone's door on a cold call at a most inopportune and inconvenient moment and refusing to leave, Mamet convincingly maintains that the con-is-always-on, and the result-- especially in this film-- is a bleak, but riveting commentary on the human condition, delivered with an intensity that will keep you on the very edge of your emotional seat right up to the end.

The cast Mamet assembled for this offering is superb: Al Pacino is in top form and extremely effective with a comparatively tempered performance; the scene in which he lulls his customer (played by Jonathan Pryce) into complacency is absolutely hypnotic. This is the salesman you hope you never encounter, especially if something like the Brooklyn Bridge is being offered, as such overtures as those proffered by Ricky Roma are just too hard to refuse. And Pacino not only sells it, he closes the deal, as well.

Ed Harris, as Dave Moss, is outstanding, also, creating a character whose bitterness seems to flow from the inside out, and has long since overwhelmed that ability and better part of himself that could've made him a successful salesman, had he but turned his energies to more positive concerns and away from the self-defeating, self-pity into which he has descended. While at the opposite end of the spectrum is George, played by Alan Arkin, who unlike Dave (who though unable to act upon it, at least had promise at some point in 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, who belongs anywhere except in a job as a salesman.

The best performance of all, however, is turned in by Jack Lemmon, who in Shelley Levene creates a character so steeped in despair and hopelessness that's it's almost tangible. You have but to look into Lemmon's eyes to understand the turmoil and depth of Shelley's desperation, and Lemmon successfully conveys the complexities of this man in terms that are believable and incredibly real. He makes Shelley a guy you can feel for without necessarily sympathizing with him. It's simply a terrific piece of work by a terrific actor.

Another of the film's strengths is the performance by Kevin Spacey, as John Williamson, the office manager. It's an understated, but pivotal role, and Spacey does a good job of making it convincing, which ultimately heightens the 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 a tension throughout this film that drives the anxiety level through the roof; at times, it's exhausting to watch. In the end, however, `Glengarry Glen Ross' is a satisfying experience, involving very real situations with which many in the audience will be able to relate, and delivered with a high-powered energy equal to the subject matter. And once you catch your breath, it's one you're going to appreciate even more. It's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.
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You won't find a better acting ensemble!
guyfromjerzee27 July 2004
For those who are fans of action, explosions and flashy special f/x--this is not your movie. For those who are fans of extraordinary acting, strong characters, a great plot and priceless dialogue--it just doesn't get any better than this! When I say you're in for a treat, I mean it with the utmost certainty. Al Pacino and Kevin Spacey are on my list of favorite actors. The rest of the cast isn't quite on there, but they're all actors that I highly admire and some of which come close to being on my favorites list. First of all, it's hard to not be at least somewhat interested by a film written by David Mamet. He is simply the master when it comes to pacing and sharp dialogue. He truly has a style like no other. There's a million lines in this movie that I love to quote, many of which are in Alec Baldwin's opening speech. "F**k you, that's my name. You came here in a Hyundai, I drive a 80,000-dollar Oldsmobile--that's my name." And Kevin Spacey's "Go to lunch" speech is great as well. Every time I watch that scene I think back to when he read those same lines with a student on "Inside the Actor's Studio." Mamet's dialogue is delivered a lightning-fast pace, which I find fascinating. It makes you feel like you're watching an old movie, only in color and with an abundance of cuss words. This film brought tears to my eyes, not because it's incredibly sad, but because it's so intense. Watching actors like Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon share a scene is like a dream for any true film buff. Lemmon gave one of the best performances of his entire film career in this movie, and that's saying a whole lot! Needless to say, we suffered a tragic loss when he died. It's a surprise that he didn't receive an Oscar for his work in "Glengarry." Pacino also gives one of his best performances, in my opinion. In his recent films like "The Recruit" and "Simone," he hasn't gotten the chance to show off his acting chops to the fullest extent. His performance in this movie is an example of Pacino in full gear. Spacey is perfectly slimy in his role, and I despised him every minute he was on screen. Everyone who's ever had a job is familiar with some secretary or assistant manager, who's uptight and constantly plays by-the-book, just so he can maintain the respect of the boss whose butt he kisses every minute of the day. We've all encountered scumb*gs like him, and that's why it made it so easy for me to hate his guts. Every character is multi-dimensional, and I was able to feel either a deep sympathy or a deep hatred towards each of them. Some have criticized this film for being visually unimpressive, since it takes place mainly on one location. That didn't bother me one bit. When you have actors this engaging, setting is definitely not the issue. People always feel that when a play is adapted onto screen, it has to take place in many different locations, to "take advantage" of it being a motion picture. I always feel that good writing and good acting are the key elements of a good movie. If you want to see great visuals, go rent the whole "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. But for those begging for something of substance should love this movie. I'm constantly on the edge-of-my-seat when I watch this movie. All aspiring actors should be required to watch "Glengarry Glen Ross" as a prerequisite, because all you need to know about great acting is in this movie. A DON'T MISS!! (10 out of 10)
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An intense emotional experience
DeeNine-22 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.)

It doesn't take a movie connoisseur to see that this is a stage play filmed.

So what? The play is a work of genius--it won a Pulitzer Prize--and the cast is about as good as you can get. Jack Lemmon gives a performance that will tear your heart out...well, if you're like any of the characters in the play, you have no heart! And Al Pacino gets to put the pedal to the metal and fire on all cylinders. He is great when he's screaming, and he's even better when he's handing out buddy-buddy BS philosophy. Kevin Spacey as John Williamson, the boss of the boiler room crew, has the skin of a rhino and the heart of a baboon. Incidentally, the language is foul, fouler and foulest, and indeed, poor David Mamet, who wrote the play and adapted it for the screen, ran out of expletives. I mean how many ways can you suggest that someone perform impossible acts upon themselves? Yet, considering the moral fiber of the characters, the language seemed not inappropriate.

Indeed, Mamet is a master of dialogue and some of the set pieces are just marvels. The exchange between Dave Moss (Ed Harris) and George Aaronow (Alan Arkin) as Moss leads up to his plan to steal the precious 'leads' is like a ping pong match done as a pas de deux. And the harangue by Alec Baldwin as the brass...endowed motivational speaker was a crack up.

This is an extraordinarily intense film, so intense if you watch carefully you can see first Jack Lemmon and then Al Pacino so fired up and wildly expressive that spit comes out of their mouths along with the words. (I've done that.) In fact, all the actors feed off of one another. Being on the set must have been just an amazing experience with everyone trying to outdo everyone else. The timing alone is worth the ticket.

Note that no women grace the screen. I mean zero. This is a war flick with con artists in the trenches. Note also how carefully plotted the story is. Mamet thought it out and worked and reworked it so that everything fits. For example when 'The Machine' Levene makes his little slip revealing that he knew that the Roma contract had not been sent, we can immediately fill in the details realizing that Dave Moss had gotten to him with his cowardly scheme. And when Levene learns that his miraculous $82,000 sale is to crazies who have no money and just like to talk to salesmen, we see how perfectly ironic that is, and how tragic, like the life of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. We can also see, if we really want to look beyond the movie, that Jack Lemmon's interpretation of Levene owes something to Willy Loman as does Mamet's creation. I have seen Jack Lemmon in many things, beginning with Mr. Roberts (1955) through Some Like It Hot (1959) to Grumpy Old Men (1993) and he has been wonderful, one of the great stars of the silver screen, but I don't think I've ever seen him more convincing than here. All the other actors in this film also have done larger pieces and had more demanding roles, but I'll bet they seldom had more fun.

You don't want to miss this movie. It is one of a kind. The cynicism is palpable and the desperation so humanly demeaning that it's almost funny.
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Death of a F****** Salesman (spoilers)
Ricky_Roma__2 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There's a scene in Glengarry Glen Ross where Shelly 'the Machine' Levine (Lemmon) says that a man is his job. And as far as some people go, he's right. Many men define themselves by the work they do, the money they earn and the car they drive. I mean, who cares about friends and family or higher aspirations? Or even simple things like happiness? That crap is for deadbeats. The real meaning of life is a high wage and to vanquish your enemies. Everything else is a pointless waste of time.

In the great scene where Baldwin gives his 'motivational speech', he mocks the notion of a man being a nice person or a good father. Yeah, is that going to pay for your nice suit or your expensive watch? No it's not. And he says that any man who can't close a deal should hit the bricks; they should leave. This is pure Darwinism. Do or die. Kill or be killed.

In this sort of environment personal lives are next to non-existent, but Shelly Levine does attempt to extend beyond these limits. Through a series of phone calls we hear that he has an ill daughter. But to be honest he always sounds like he's going through the motions. Shelly's heart is elsewhere. His heart belongs to the sale.

There's more than one instance when the sale is spoken about or shown to be close to a sexual act, but the best example is probably the scene where Shelly and Ricky Roma (Pacino) are discussing a deal Shelly's closed. He's been going through a lean phase, unable to sell anything, but suddenly he's on top of the word, spilling his guts to his pal. And he talks about it like he's been with a woman. 'They signed. It was great. It was so f****** great. It was like they wilted all at once.' And to make the story even more sexual, Levine had been waiting for 22 minutes for his 'clients' to sign the deal. 22 minutes that he had to spend in silence waiting for them to sign the contract. In a world of lies and deceit, this is the closest these men can get to intimacy – the signing of a piece of paper has a purity and a joy that even the act of love lacks.

But it's not just the orgasm of a scratched name that provides satisfaction, there's also the foreplay. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong like in the excruciating scene when Shelly turns up at someone's home and faces a brick wall, but sometimes it goes like clockwork. An example of this is when Ricky Roma is talking to James Lingk (Pryce). Roma isn't so much selling as seducing. He whispers soft words into Lingk's ear and charms the pants off him. Lingk is fooled into thinking that this is a genuine relationship, that there's sincerity here. And for once he feels like a man. He can step out of his wife's shadow and show that he has a pair of balls. But unfortunately, later, those balls are cut off and he comes back begging for his money. But he only does it because his wife has told him to get his cheque back. And at the end he goes to the remarkable length of apologising to Ricky. This is how deep the seduction has gone. The broken sale is a betrayal of sacred the link between men.

But even the sacred bond between men is shown to be completely phoney. After all, what's the next best thing to making lots of money? To see your colleagues or your friends fail miserably. And what's more infuriating than someone else's success? Answer: nothing.

Some of the best exchanges in the film occur between Levine and Williamson (Spacey). They should be pulling for the same team, but they hate each other's guts. Williamson is a 'secretary' and Levine is a washed up has-been with a big mouth. So at the beginning, when he can't make a sale, Levine is servile and pleading – he even tries to buy leads from Williamson. But once Levine closes a deal, the real Shelly comes out. He taunts Williamson and asks him what he is. He even demands the new Glengarry leads. But then once Levine becomes comfortable, Williamson tells him the bad news that his deal won't go through, that the people he sold to are insane. It's an incredibly cruel scene, with some scathing dialogue. 'Why?' asks Levine, wanting to know why he wasn't told earlier (Williamson was aware all along that a deal wouldn't stick). 'Because I don't like you,' replies Williamson. 'My daughter?' 'F*** you.' In this world there are few things better than screwing someone over, to drag them down and pull yourself up.

However, there is one seemingly sincere relationship – the one between Roma and Levine. They seem to get along quite amiably. But then again, you get the feeling that these men are two sides of the same coin. You get the feeling that Roma is a reflection of Levine in his youth. How long before things goes south for Roma? How long before his confidence is ruined and he's reduced to begging for scraps?

And the ending wonderfully illustrates how lonely this type of existence is. Levine, unknown to Roma, is going to be arrested for robbing the office – Levine pathetically tries to talk to Roma one last time before being hauled into to speak to a police officer, but Roma is busy on the phone. So Levine's departure goes unnoticed. And worse than that, Ricky goes off to lunch alone and Levine's colleagues continue to try and sell. Yes, the world will manage to revolve with Levine behind bars. He, like us, is easily replaced. Therefore if work is what defines us, we have nothing when it's taken away.
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Terrific play - on the screen
rscafanever23 November 2016
One can't escape the feeling that it's a play. Very little is invested in the setting - most of the film is in an office. But it stands in contrast with how much is invested in the acting.

All the main actors are really salesmen - with their typical salesmen problems. And their annoying habits of bothering their victims as much as possible. As the story unfolds, characters evolve properly. Some don't.

The dialogues are intense, as it is written for plays. The mind tricks the salesmen are pulling are just amazing and may be compared to scenes of other great movies like The Wolf of Wall Street.

The little substance of the plot - the sales team of a real estate office is put under pressure, as someone robbed it - is not annoying by the drama added. You can just feel Jack Lemon's tiredness of years and years of finding victims.

One thing was annoying: once you start to notice it's based on a play, you start to notice the limitations. Dialogues can be endless. There could have been more shots without dialogues. One knows that when one actor leaves the room, another is going to come in.

But it's still a very entertaining film for an interesting evening.
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In Many Ways, One Of A Kind
seymourblack-114 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Despite being character-driven, dialogue-heavy and very stagy, this movie adaptation of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize winning play is immensely powerful, hard-hitting and intense. The stakes are high right from the start as a group of salesmen have to struggle against impossible odds (and each other) just to stay in their jobs. The ways in which the different characters respond to the pressure they're under provides a fascinating insight into human behaviour and their anger, frustration and resentment about the way they're being treated, triggers a whole series of highly-charged confrontations that generate a great deal of the energy that makes this remarkable drama so compelling.

When a group of real estate salesmen working for a small company begin to under-perform, an executive called Blake (Alec Baldwin) is brought in to give a motivational speech. His technique involves launching into a furious rant during which he insults, patronises and humiliates the three men present and announces that a sales contest is to be held. The prize for the winner will be a Cadillac, the salesman who comes second will be rewarded with a set of steak knives and everyone else in the team will be fired. The men's common complaint about the useless leads they're being given by the company is discredited by Blake who constantly boasts about his own wealth and says that salesmen should "always be closing". Furthermore, he adds that he's brought with him a bundle of new leads which will only be given to the men who are able to close sales using the existing leads.

The bad leads that the men have been working with, are people who they know either don't want to or can't afford to buy the properties they're selling plus a few time-wasters who just like talking to salesmen, but have no intention of buying.

Typically, the three men respond in different ways to Blake's tirade. George Aaronow (Alan Arkin) who'd already become disillusioned by his inability to close any sales is totally crushed. The more hot-headed Dave Moss (Ed Harris) is fired-up to retaliate against the company with the same level of aggression and disrespect that Blake had delivered to him and so tries to involve Aaronow in a plan to steal the new leads and sell them on to a rival firm. By contrast, Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon) who's the company's most experienced salesman is prepared to do absolutely anything, however, disreputable, just to survive. The office manager John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) enforces Blake's instructions by keeping the new leads under lock and key but when the office is burgled and the leads are taken, Williamson calls in the police and everyone in the team, including top-performing salesman Ricky Roma (Al Pacino), who was absent from Blake's meeting, find themselves under suspicion.

The most striking feature of this movie is its sizzling dialogue which is sharp, well-written and rapidly-delivered. It reflects perfectly the desperation and aggression of its characters who are mostly fast-talking individuals with an extensive vocabulary of profanities which they use frequently and forcefully during their numerous outbursts. All the characters are well-defined and come over as extremely authentic, not least, because they're all very recognisable types.

With its all-star cast of top-class acting talent, "Glengarry Glen Ross" is full of powerful performances. Alec Baldwin makes a huge impression in his cameo role as Blake and Al Pacino is terrific as the company's current most successful salesman. He oozes charm, is thoroughly amoral and excels in his scenes with one of his clients (played by Jonathan Pryce) and his old mentor Shelley Levene.

Levene, as played by Jack Lemmon, attempts to bribe Williamson in a variety of different ways to get his hands on the good leads and uses some elaborate deceptions in his dealings with his potential clients. In an outstanding performance, Lemmon actually makes this unpleasant man sympathetic, partly because of a distressing problem that he has in his personal life and also because of the constant optimism he displays, even though he knows that he's over-the-hill and his most successful years are behind him.

"Glengarry Glen Ross" is unquestionably an extraordinary movie and in many ways, one of a kind.
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An excellent, complex, well-acted film
nin_fragile141 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"Glengarry Glen Ross" is writer David Mamet's masterpiece. In the 1992 classic, his rapid, incisive dialogue is quicker and more brutal than in every other movie he's done, and the characters, played by such people as Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon, all exhibit a kind of rowdy vileness and vitriolic disposition that is appalling, engaging and astounding. Mamet's message is not just that real estate is a cutthroat business; the real focus of Mamet's screenplay, based on his 1984 Pulitzer Prize winning play, is the struggle between men--the need for a weak, hurting, woeful individual to lash out against those who prevent him from being better; and the need for those at the top of their game to slander those they know are starving.

The movie's portrayal of a bummed real estate office down on their luck could be the portrayal of practically any tableau of unhappy, unruly men prepared to do anything to make a dollar. It's Mamet's characterizations--Al Pacino as Richard Roma, the slick, conniving, office leader; Jack Lemmon as Shelly "the machine" Levine, an old timer on a bad streak; Kevin Spacey as Williamson, the boss, a man who garners no respect from those below him; and Ed Harris and Alan Arkin as frustrated salesmen at the end of their wits--that makes the movie so important, so timeless. These are men of character who possess a twisted uniqueness, but also possess a common connection to all working people; they're fed up with work, with bosses, the unknowns, the pay, the long hours. They go through their routine gripped by spite and depression, confusion and anger, aware of how terrible their lives are, but too entrenched in their career to do anything about it. They're a part of the American dream but at the bottom rung of the ladder. They're living as capitalist independents but are no more satisfied with their work in the 20th century as a man might have been one hundred years before. They wear nice suits and ties and shoes, and some of them drive nice cars, but none of that can erase feelings of hopelessness and subjugation. When an upper level real estate agent gives a pep talk to Jack Lemmon and his coworkers on a dreary rainy night, he doesn't try to lift their spirits; he motivates by poking fun, denouncing, condemning and harassing.

To Mamet, the real estate business doesn't try to make a man feel better about himself; it's there to make a man feel worse--to feel brutalized, hopeless and frustrated. And even those who make it-like the rich real estate agent who verbally tears down all he thinks are less than him--even they don't have any real end in life; for at the top, men still care about possessions and power.

It's as though business traps a man, telling him what is good and right in life while shutting him out of every potential alternative. And as we see Jack Lemmon and Ed Harris and Alan Arkin battle against the relentless tide of job fulfillment, we see they have no other desires; all they care about is finding leads, twisting people's arms, making a few dollars. They come to believe that selling real estate is the most important thing in life, paramount to everything else, and their blinded pursuit ruins them, making them slouch in their chairs, making their eyes big and puffy, making them attack other men--good men--who were probably different people before they started. The film is visceral, bewildering, and depressing, showing what life could be for those who can't break out of a rigid system, who can't break free from a lowly, unhappy, position in life. The delivery of Mamet's dialogue by the actors is superb, ranking among the best ensemble casts of the 1990s. There is hardly a movie that more accurately shows people struggling to stay afloat in their job, besieged by inequities, dislike, and disrespect.
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Blistering, bludgeoning, true-to-life though not at all entertaining...
moonspinner553 April 2008
Utterly joyless film, scripted by David Mamet from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, about harried, put-upon real estate agents struggling to satisfy the corporate bosses and keep their jobs, lying to and cheating their clients, their co-workers, and maybe even themselves. Great all-male ensemble does first-rate work (with Alec Baldwin in the newly-written role of the company's Standard Bearer, a demoralizing sales hotshot who sees the workplace as a battlefield); yet, for all their combined brilliance, the material as presented here is difficult to watch. Barbed, ugly, belligerent, it leaves the viewer beaten and bowed. Jack Lemmon's "Save the Tiger" only scratched at the surface of these characters' dead-end lives. Director James Foley goes a bit heavy on the rain-drenched pitifulness (his chilly blues and grays become visually monotonous), while Mamet--an intelligent and insightful writer--refuses to let up, giving us no relief from the pummeling deluge of verbal assaults. This is one to admire for its obvious craft and as a showcase for the actors, yet it's not a picture to take to heart. ** from ****
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One of Jack Lemmons greatest moments
bladerunna115 March 2006
I have watched this film in excess of 30 times and I never tire over the citrus sharp dialogue and clever interplay between so many accomplished actors in one room. However Jack Lemmons' performance was totally underplayed by the critics. It is he and not Al Pacino who should have been nominated for an Oscar.Pacino's role was competent but did not come anywhere near that of Jack Lemmon. It makes you wonder if you are indeed watching the same film. Alec Baldwins six minutes was very slick but any actor would love that script as it just required the actor to turn up and deliver it. A wonderful film that will last far longer than the film that won the Oscar for best film that year. What was it....?
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Good acting, but let-down plot and writing
mydearamy20 August 2005
With such a great cast, and having read great reviews, I was looking forward to a superior film. Unfortunately, I found very little to recommend this movie. The acting was good, but not good enough to make you care a whit about the characters. The whole movie was extremely repetitive and predictable, basically everyone yelling at each other for 2 hours, and there was no surprise ending to redeem it. I just don't get what the fuss was about. It was plain boring, and depressing to boot.

If you're an actor studying a salesman role, or a die hard fan of the cast members, then you may enjoy it just for their acting, but otherwise, spare yourself.
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Colder than Chicago Winters
dataconflossmoor21 October 2006
How can you miss with all of these tremendous actors: Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino, Alec Baaldwin and last but certainly not least, Jack Lemmon...I think Lemmon's performance was one of the best acting performances I have ever seen....David Mamet's depiction of the sales business being the perennial snake pit manifests itself to a point of nauseating callousness in this movie!! Ultimately propagating the conundrum of "Are all of us going to burn in Hell?"

The film starts out with the portrayal of three washed out salesman who are ready to be thrown to the wolves!! Alec Balwin is a motivator who comes in from corporate and dices all of the lackluster has-been salesmen to shreds.. Kevin Spacey is a spawn of nepotism, he is not only a jerk, but, a particular kind of jerk!! Al Pacino is the dynamo salesman who has the whole sales rigmarole by the throat!! Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin and Ed Harris are the three washed up salesmen who are toyed with and totally discarded for not producing!!

What resonates in this film is the intensity of emotions that highlight the dark and psychologically negative aspects of failure!! You are making money, you are OK, you are not making money, you are not OK!! Suffice it to say, this is a masterpiece of understatement!!! An aging salesman is perpetually afflicted by ossification and despondence...If your career is finished, you in a sense are finished, and your emeritus years signify a painful non productivity...This should not be the case, however, being a closer as opposed to being a non-closer evolutionizes such a horrifying fate!!! The rejection these salesmen get is a lot colder than any Chicago winter that these salesman have experienced!! For these three, Chicago has become that toddling town that will let you down!!

Stage play movies are often times my favorites!!! They raise the standards in cinema today!! The directing, the cinematography of the Chicago neighborhoods, and the aggregate irritation and unassuming aura which accommodates human failure by way of outdated restaurants and continuous subway noises, were all sensational in this movie.. Of course, the plethora of paramount acting performances by actors who are the best in the business is without a doubt this movie's stellar feature!! What is the acrimonious and ultimately prevailing concept to this movie? "If life never chews you up and spits you out, then this is not a terrific film"
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Alec Baldwin scorches
Adam Malik4 May 2001
Glengarry Glen Ross contains the greatest performance ever caught on film. Baldwin's role is about six minutes long and you wish it lasted for an hour.

He plays Blake, a job motivator who is asked to motivate the rest of the cast to encourage them to sell real-estate, and his motivations and handling of the dialogue just rip the screen apart cause it's just too small for him.

The rest of the cast is great and David Mamet writes one of his smartest scripts, but besides how great the cast is Alec Baldwin's performance just blows them all away.
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This movie is a powerful message about greed and ambition in America Capitalism. It's worth the watch.
ironhorse_iv27 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This movie wasn't a hard sale to me. Full of morality bankrupt, profanity spitting, corrupt characters trying to survive in a harsh environment like real estate made a worthwhile watch for me. I was going to see this movie, no matter what. After seeing it, this movie adds up to be, one of the most fearless uncompromising films, I ever saw, on the dark side of the America capitalism. Directed by James Foley, the movie follows the group of everyday real estate salesmen: Ricky Roma (Al Pacino), Shelley Levine (Jack Lemmon), George Aaronow (Alan Arkin), & Dave Moss (Ed Harris) being forced, by an a group of aggressive representative from the corporate office, in office manager, John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) & William Blake (Alec Baldwin) to sell more property or be fired if they fail. Driven by the "always be closing" mentality, the stress of their job, will ultimately pushes the characters into new ground of dishonestly and corrupted in order to save their job. Indeed, every dream has a price, but the question, is it really worth it? Watch the movie to find out! Without spoiling the movie, too much, I have to say, this is one of the greatest acting ensemble cast, I have ever seem. While, all of the real estate characters do seem a bit shallow, unlikeable and too mean-spirited. I just glad, the film had all-well fine actors in it, so you would stick around, and watch the characters, rather than getting turn off, by their actions. All of the actors in this film, were masters in their own sense of style and work. I love how Kevin Spacey was able to make the jump from theater work to film. I love how Alan Arkin was able to expand his character's back-story. I love how Ed Harris was able to put his words, in, despite originally getting the fewer amount of scenes in the original play. I also love how Al Pacino was even able to show up for this film, despite originally not being able, too. However, I love Jack Lemmon's performance in the film, the most. His performance was so good that the Simpson's create a character call Gil Gunderson in his honor. Even Alec Baldwin, whom character wasn't even in the original Broadway stage-play was amazing! I love the tone and delivery of his famous speech. It remind me, so much of "Greed is good' type monologues from 2000's Boiler Room, 2013's Wolf of Wall Street & 1987's Wall Street! I also love how David Mamet's screenplay considerably expanded his original play script for this movie. It provide more context of the pressure placed on the salesmen. Many critics, consider the screenplay to be far superior than, the Pultizer Prize winning original text; and I agree with that statement. Ever since its release, the film has been used to train real life salesmen how to sell and how not to sell. However, the movie does have some flaws. Since, the movie is based on the 1984 Tony winning stage play of the same name, it's limited to a few location sites. For a movie about selling real estates; you rarely see any of the sites like Clear Meadows, Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms, at all. Not only does most of the movie take place in the dull looking main office, but most of the film's astrosphere is depressing and gloomy. Nothing, but rain. Still, I have to give the movie some credit. Its melancholy tone does match with the jazz music that composer James Newton Howard, fish out for this film. I just wish, this movie wasn't limited by the amount of characters actors. Due to this, it feels weird, never to see, certain important characters like Doctor Ravadem Patel, Jerry Graff, the Nyborg couple or even the business partners, Mitch & Murray. You would think, that they would, at least, have a few scenes with them. We don't even see, any female characters in the film at all; only mentions. Not having important characters like James Lingk & Larry Spennel's wife, seem kinda wrong. It's also very odd, how uber masculine, this movie is. Seeing how in the real-life, 1990s, there is more female real estate professionals than men working that in field. You would think, there would be, at least, one female agent, but no! Because of this, the movie does seem, a little bit of a sausage feast. While, the movie can seem a bit unrealistic, due to a real estate office being able to yell and spit out that much profanity at each other, without getting fired. I just glad, most of the dialogue wasn't boring. Still, there were some parts, that felt like I was listening to a telemarketer, non-stop. Because of this, I kinda felt like the pacing for this film was indeed, drawn out and tedious. It really takes forever to get anywhere or establish anything. Since, the movie had so much salesman lingo and pitches, the movie could also, be a bit confusing at times. The most confusing scene in the film has to be the talk between James Lingk (Jonathan Pryce) and Richard Roma. A lot of people are saying that both men are gay due to the sexual references in his speech. However, as I see it, Roma smartly trying to use that, to seduce him into a sale. It's nothing more than lying and exploitation. This scene shows the dangers of American Capitalism. You really can't trust, a salesman with anything. Overall: This animalistic movie is a must watch. If you like the 1969's documentary, Salesman, 1985's Death of a Salesman or 1987's Tin Men, I think you would love this movie as well. So check it out. It's an extremely well-acted tragedy about men being force on the edge.
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Always Be Closing
sharky_5517 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Glengarry Glen Ross is an film adaptation of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize winning stage play and it shows with its performance based drama and loose plot. At times I did wonder how much could the screen medium really add to the story? How do you shoot something that would be show to an audience entirely from one angle without making it boring but also not distill the narrative? It's odd. There are a few cinematic moments which stand out. One is as Levene steps outside the dreary grey office and into the night while Moss and Aaronow converse in the car, and here it almost veer into neo-noir territory, as he steps inside a payphone booth where the strong contrast of neon red on blue lighting, the lazy jazz backing and the rain make these salesmen's lives decidedly more bleak and morally ambiguous. Another is as Levene makes yet another sales call, and he murmurs an instruction to a off- screen secretary/assistant in what would be a busy office, but as the camera arcs around there is not a person in sight. Claustrophobia is also supposed to be key here, although to be honest I didn't notice that element. Anyways, it is always interesting to see how one medium can complement another.

Many have already talked of the infamous monologue "Coffee is for closers" from Alec Baldwin. It is tremendously compelling, so much so that it becomes the mantra for real life sales industries. What is interesting is a slight drawback to this (and as he does not exist in the original play, this creates a new problem) - which is the effect of the speech in manifesting a sort of shared animosity for the dilemma in the four salesmen. This is in itself ironic because it is the complete opposite of what Baldwin preaches. And so Moss and Aaronow strike up a plan to commit theft against the company that would so easily fire them, and they both walk out of the interrogating office furious and completely in denial about the accusations leveled at them, but at the time, we do not know that only one of these reactions is genuine (which severely lessens its effect once we find out Aaronow is innocent, I think). But he has collaborated with another in the office.

Another thing the Baldwin speech indicates is the lack of the star closer, Roma, whom does not even bother attending while he rests at the top of the leaderboard. He is already living out its ideals in his work, but by contrast he is not ruthless and without care, but almost seductive in the way he charms a potential buyer. He rambles on and on about philosophical and moral and abstract ideals, and after countless drinks and tender glances only then does he slip an offer to buy, no, an opportunity. Pacino conjures a master illusion from a dusty suit and slides his way into his heart. When Pryce arrives the next morning, meekly trying to reverse the purchase, he is again at work, and see how Pacino squirm and weasels his way once again, beneath a veneer of sleaziness (his strong reaction to winning a Cadillac is evident of this). And what does Pryce's character do upon discovering the manipulation? He doesn't erupt in anger and profanity, but begs forgiveness, as if he is the one who has let Roma down. And in this moment we know exactly why he is number one on the chalkboard.

But the star must be Lemmon's Levene. His performance is remarkable; observe how effortlessly he switches into sales mode, how easily he pretends as if he was some important, high ranking sales associates with an abundance of wealth and inquiries and meetings to get to (Levene must evidently fantasise about such a career, such is the way he can instantly conjure them). When he pays a house visit to a potential (although they both know such a sale will not happen), he is sincere and honest and attempts to disarm the man with goodwill and familiarity, but beneath this persona we see a person who is cracking. He has been presented with a Catch 22, and cannot rise from the bottom, and feels disillusioned that such a veteran of his industry could be treated this way. He reacts with anger and profanity as they all do, but not before attempting to bribe and plead and threaten his way out of the situation to the office manager Williamson. This is so effective because we have prior witnessed his charm, and now he must beg, teary eyed, only to be shut down harshly.

In Scorsese's Wolf of Wall Street, the stockbrokers are straight up crooks, and there is no time wasted in establishing this, as booze and women and wild parties are hurled from the screen. Here, there is a semblance of authenticity because it is necessary to contrast the two to show just how miserable these men and their lives are. The leads are weak? F*cking leads are weak. You're weak. And so they lash out with tirades laden with profanity, and each victory is gloated unbearably, and each loss is treated as a tragedy. Who is the lowest on the chalkboard? It could be any of the four. They are each so desperate. And for what, 10%? Mitch and Murray, unseen, are the real winners here.
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I hate Jack Lemmon, but I liked this movie
Oxon010027 December 2006
I generally hate Jack Lemmon. I never found him funny, and while his performances in "save the Tiger" and "Days of Wine and Roses" were good, they weren't stunning to me.

This film, though, is priceless. Lemmon is fantastic, and perfect.

This is an actor's and a writer's film: Mamet's writing style is so relentlessly, intensely, searing it inevitably gets tagged as "perfectly realistic," but it is so much more than that; the casting is indescribably on target. This is truly one of those films that one cannot imagine being remade with any success because it is hard to imagine finding actor's more perfectly suited to the roles, who more perfectly understand both their own characters and Mamet's unique rhythms, and who click so precisely.

So, even if you've never liked Lemmon much, or you've found Pacino over-the-top, Ed Harris dull or Alan Arkin annoying, see this movie, because you will take away a profound respect for their talents.
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The impossible sell
videorama-759-8593919 October 2016
My father was a salesman for years. Amway, Jojoba, Legal And General, Ocean Salvage, etc. I would go out with him, a few times at night, and I would sit waiting, may'be two hours. on some occasions. He would come out, holding it in his stride. Had he stirred interest in a potential client, or was it a no show. He had me wondering every time. He was a good bloody salesman, in one job that's bloody hard, where patience and perseverance are tested. You get this vibe, of such such utter desperation, all through this film, set in a rundown real estate office, a perfect set piece, where across the street is their watering hole/Chinese restaurant, which took me back to Cadillac Man. At the moment, things are pretty down at Mitch and Murray, this downtown real estate office, in lower area of New York, where jobs are on the line, and it's employees are given an ear bashing and a hard and nasty word from a boss (Baldwin-explosive and intense) outside of this office. He makes a meal of the role, savoring every moment of his screen time. This cameo, we thanks him as much as we did, Matthew McConaughey's in The Wolf Of Wall Street. Yes, it's harder to sell that great sell and speech. The real thing that works here is the utter desperation of these guys, trying to make a buck, where their potential clients, and no so potential ones, who are sucking them dry, especially Lemmon's wonderfully played character, where one feels his desperation, most. He's acting is top pro, done to such perfection and solid conviction, you don't want to tamper with it, in any way. This character has a lot to worry about. That scene with him, sweet talking the husband of a woman client, where minutes later, he practically shoves the door on him, was so sincere and believable, you would see this scenario happening right in front of you. We have a couple of potentials who turn out to be cuckoo. Things have got so bad, some of our employees, hungry for these new leads, these "Glengarry leads" and are willing to steal, where one resorts to just this, but who could it be. Bring on the thriller element. GGR is compelling viewing all the way through, as are the actors brilliant performances, Al Pacino's character, of course, as hotshot Richard Roma, stealing the limelight, where I too, loved Spacey, as the weak minded galah, running the place, where evidently, this guy shouldn't be. You learn too, salesmen can be such backstabbers, towards their colleague's backs. I was much fascinated by Harris's character, as the much angry and jealous, hotheaded employee, with a sort of bullying nature, his great performance was stacked up beside the others. GGR is driven excitedly by dialogue and commanding acting, where the actual movie script, is almost description non existent, but we know we're safe here, when we're in the hands of David Mamet. You'll love the film as much as Pacino's voracious moments, and outbursts. The film has been done solid, thanks to the acting and script, and too done under the wonderful direction and watchful eye of a versatile director, who makes movies, that I like. If you're a talk show host, you should see Talk Radio, if you're in real estate, you should see Glengarry Glen Ross.
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Great character- and dialogue-driven drama, with excellent performances
grantss25 December 2015
Great character- and dialogue-driven drama. Plot is solid, but it is merely a platform for some great lines and performances. This said, the plot does demonstrate the level of cynicism and lack of ethics in the modern office, especially among salesmen. Think of the most irritating salesperson you've ever met, and multiply the sleaze and connivance factor by 1,000 - you'll meet those characters here.

Great performances by an all-star cast: Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce. Jack Lemmon and Al Pacino are perfect as the snake oil salesmen.

On the negative side, it can feel a bit dry at times. The movie's origins as a play are obvious, and it sometimes feels as though you are watching a filmed play, rather than a movie.

Overall, a great indictment on the lack of ethics and morality in the modern workplace.
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