People I Know
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
he thought he'd seen it all This grueling odyssey into the mind of a New York publicist certainly gets under our skin with its vivid characters and situations, even if it is somewhat overpowering. Eli Wurman (Pacino) has been around forever, but he has never seen anything like the next 24 hours as he premieres a dodgy play, bails out a strung-out starlet (Leoni), soothes the ego of his biggest movie star client (O'Neal), bosses his assistant (Webber) around, visits his prescription-happy doctor (Klein), tries to bring two community leaders (Schiff and Nunn) together for a charity event, and finds moments of humanity with his brother's widow (Basinger). And even in his ragged state he somehow keeps all the balls in the air. Just.

This is a pure Pacino tour-de-force, as he shows us Eli on the knife edge of success and oblivion, teetering over the brink and yet able to draw on deep resources of intellect and resilience that no one quite realises he has. It's a meaty performance, and we never get tired of watching him for a second. Meanwhile, the people around him are just as interesting: Basinger shines in a rare intelligent role; Leoni is energetic and rather frightening; and as the three power-mad goers, O'Neal, Schiff and Nunn are terrifically entertaining, especially when they get together at the end. While the film is perhaps a bit too talky, it's so fiendishly insightful that it keeps us hooked--it uses desperation as black comedy to make a sharp jab as New York's power elite. The only complaint is that the plot ultimately tries to take over the character drama with twists, turns and some rather pointed preachiness. But at least it's fiercely smart about it. And Algrant's final shot is gorgeous.

cert 15 adult themes, language, drugs 15.May.02

dir Dan Algrant
scr Jon Robin Baitz
with Al Pacino, Tea Leoni, Kim Basinger, Ryan O'Neal, Mark Webber, Richard Schiff, Bill Nunn, Robert Klein, David Marshall Grant, Paulina Porizkova, Ivan Martin, Regis Philbin
release US 25.Apr.03; UK 13.Feb.04
01/US 1h40

Life-changing. Eli and his sister-in-law try to sort things out (Basinger and Pacino)...

pacino leoni
basinger o'neal
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
he thought he'd seen it all send your review to Shadows... "Pacino is terrific, and so are O'Neal and Basinger. You can feel how tired and nervous Pacino's character is, but unfortunately the story has a very poor ending. It seems like the director ran out of budget, or didn't know how to write a good ending with action, surprise for the audience or even drama and confrontation. Pacino and the cast are great, but the film is ultimately a disappointment." --Boola, Mexico 5.Sep.02
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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