13 February 2010

"Glengarry Glen Ross" by James Foley

In my view, this 1992 movie (an adaptation of David Mamet's 1984 play) is good enough to be in an all time top ten list.

Two days in the lives of four salesmen under significant pressure to meet targets. The quality of leads is poor.  The products offered are shady opportunities to invest in real estate.  The clients are unwilling and suspicious.  The management is heartless.  The need to close business is very real.

Each salesman has a unique personality. 

Jack Lemmon performs as the past maestro currently slightly out of touch.  The salesman's abilities to “sell” by charm, alternate between emotions and “bargain his way out” under challenging circumstances are exceptionally well displayed.

Al Pacino performs as the top star salesman (who inside his heart knows this is more due to luck than due to skill).  His seemingly incoherent but fully effective monologue playing upon a prospect’s insecurity and complacency to close a deal; easy willingness to mislead and avoid a cancellation are portrayed very well.

Ed Harris performs as the angry, upset underperformer willing to “steal” the leads away to competition egging his colleagues to join him.

Alan Arkin performs as the whiner concerned about his inability to close deals and the poor quality of leads.

Add to this a hardball head office guy, a corrupt office manager, burglary, loss of high quality deals, a police investigation, and unlimited use of profanities.

You get an amazing mixture that grabs your attention from start to end.

Whose role did I enjoy the most?

Jonathan Pryce.  He plays the role of a gullible prospect who succumbs to the top star’s pitch and signs up; but has to cancel “now” at the instructions of his wife.  His display of curiosity, interest, greed, doubt, consent; pressure and guilt (in having to cancel the deal the next day); last minute swings in opinion; disappointment and disgust is truly outstanding.

Would see this movie again.

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