Post by The_Cake_of_Roth on Nov 24, 2018 9:46:34 GMT
Just watched this for the first time, and what a gem this film is. Pacino and Hackman are wonderful together, and the film is not only funny but unexpectedly heartbreaking.
My favorite scene with Pacino is where he first explains to Hackman why he can't call his wife, but has to see her in person so he can see his kid for the first time. In the way he speaks, you can tell the character has planned this for a while (contrary to how Hackman accuses him of not planning), has been trying to convince himself for a long time that it must go the way he needs it to, but is scared to confront the possibility that things won't go his way and what that will do to him emotionally. Brilliantly acted scene.
It's a "2nd tier" 70s classic to me - the 70s were so great in American films, I actually have to split them into levels as opposed to now where I throw anything that's even decent into my yearly top 10
It's a deceptive film - at first it seems like a superbly acted Midnight Cowboy clone. On 2nd watch its own strengths become more delineated as do its themes (ie the Wizard of Oz parallels which you can't believe you missed the first time and by "you", I mean "me" - the "Lion" seeking his courage (though he - they really - is closer to being the "Scarecrow"), the Tin Man (Hackman finding his "heart") and the stunning cinematography and how little things build in the script.
The script is the key and also a bit of the problem because in the hands of lesser actors it likely would collapse into a mawkish mess but they make it stay on the page and transcend the page. In a second watch you see all sorts of things both comic and tragic that the leads are doing here - it's a top 10 Pacino performance (and his top 10 or even his top 20 goes deeper than any American so I don't say "Top 10" lightly) and a top 10 (maybe top 5?) Hackman one also. They play off each other beautifully and both performances are filled with a certain poetic loveliness really - a kind of grace notes that never seem to stray from the piece itself.
In Pacino's case it is in an outlier too - because it suggests he could have been an entirely different actor type if not for The Godfather and done quirky character roles instead for the next 50 years.....
The film itself is a bit slight on its own, but Hackman and Pacino really do elevate it to something special. I honestly think that they matched up better than Pacino ever did with De Niro; Gene and Al together is like seeing the best of two different styles (brawny, muscular acting vs. introspective internalization) work against each other, and every so often they'd swap and it would still work. Honestly, you could probably have them trade roles and it would still be great.