Film Reviews, Short Review

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

3.5/4

The real estate business is terribly boring to anyone with human empathy and more than two functioning organs inside their fleshy husk, but any topic, with the right treatment, can be made exciting. So it is with Glengarry Glen Ross. Here we have, by my count, six brilliant actors, delivering fast-paced, staccato dialogue written by David Mamet (adapted from his successful stage play), and directed with finesse and clever use of space by James Foley. Revolving around an office of salesmen who, lagging behind in their quotas, are told to up their game or the one with the least sales at the end of the month is out of the door. The film’s primary setting, the office, reeks of desperation and ugliness; as if each employee were suffocating under the dusty files, save for Al Pacino’s successful Ricky Roma, seen in prime Al Pacino scenery-chewing mode. The best performance goes to Jack Lemmon as the aging and out of touch Shelley Levine, a man barely able to get a sale together and clutching at any straw that comes his way, with sadness and desperation wafting off the man like cheap perfume. No wonder he’s on such form here: in its suspicion of company drudgery and the desperation that engenders, there’s more than a whiff of The Apartment (1960) here. Certainly, Billy Wilder would have been proud.

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