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Danny Collins - DVD Review

Danny Collins

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

AS unashamedly sentimental as Danny Collins frequently becomes, it also provides the platform for Al Pacino to deliver one of his better roles in recent years.

What’s more, it’s shot through with top quality supporting performances and a nice balance of humour and drama, some of which extends to becoming genuinely poignant.

Inspired by a true story, the film finds Pacino playing the Danny Collins of the title, a hard-living, harder partying aging rock star whose life changes when his manager (Christopher Plummer) gives him a letter written to him in his youth by John Lennon.

Giving him pause for thought, Collins decides to devote his latter years to starting afresh, first by attempting to reconcile with his estranged son, Tom (Bobby Cannavale), and then finding an unlikely shot at romance with hotel manager Mary Sinclair (Annette Bening).

Needless to say, the path to Collins’ rehab doesn’t always run smooth but the ensuing journey succeeds because of the strength of its performances, even if there are many times when viewers may feel the ensemble cast is poorly served by some of the more obvious material.

Primarily, Pacino is on form as Collins, mixing devil-may-care charisma with something a little more heartfelt and even soul-searching. He is a mesmerising presence, even if the spark and fire of his younger years has long since passed.

But he’s ably supported by the likes of Cannavale, superbly affecting as Collins’ son, and Bening, endearing as his sceptical but potential love interest, as well as Plummer, as charismatic as ever as his friend and manager, and Jennifer Garner, as Tom’s heavily pregnant but feisty wife.

Writer-director Dan Fogelman shows touches of his best screenwriting work on Crazy Stupid Love in the way he mixes drama and comedy, sometimes wrong-footing viewers at key points. But he’s also prone to throwing in some more ‘Hollywood’ style schmaltz, a la his work on the forgettable Last Vegas, which sometimes threatens to diminish the more powerful moments.

That being said, Danny Collins moves along at a brisk pace and is never less than entertaining thanks to the expertise of its fine ensemble players.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 106mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: October 5, 2015