Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Sundance press conference; Cast interviews;
AL PACINO provides yet another mesmerising star turn in this
bleak, yet watchable thriller, about a veteran New York press
agent who finds himself attempting to manage a crisis that places
his career, reputation, and eventually his life, at risk.
As Eli Wurman, Pacino is on prolific form, really getting under
the skin of his publicist, in a performance that comes dripping
with the stale stench of the cigarettes, pharmaceuticals and alcohol
he continually consumes throughout the film.
Wurman is a PR legend, a wily veteran with one of the biggest
black books in the business, whose reputation stretches back to
There is nothing he wont do for the people in his charge,
even though such fierce loyalties threaten to compromise his standing,
so when Ryan ONeils big-time movie star, Cary Launer,
asks him to bail Téa Leonis aspiring actress out
of prison, Wurman suddenly finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy
involving some of New Yorks most powerful figures.
Hence, Wurman suddenly finds himself calling in favours and going
out on a limb at a time in his life when he ought to be thinking
of retirement - a prospect made all the more alluring by the presence
of his former sister-in-law, Kim Basinger, who wants nothing more
than to get away with him.
People I Know has been knocking around for some two years now,
having been completed in 2002, at about the same time as S1m0ne
and Insomnia. But anyone who thinks this is a sign of a bad film,
had better think again.
Director, Daniel Algrants thriller is a terrific character
study, which provides Pacino with an excellent showcase for his
undisputed talent, tapping into the same sort of bleak territory
which made earlier turns in 70s-based thrillers such as Serpico
Wurman is a character who smacks of desperation, one we can continue
to root for, even when realising that he is swimming against the
tide. And Pacino provides an electric presence, trading well with
just about everyone who fills the screen around him.
Its just a shame, therefore, that the plot, itself, consistently
fails to match the quality of the acting, by simply becoming too
formulaic and uninspiring to consistently hold the attention.
There is also a grim inevitably hanging around it, which is likely
to alienate anyone in search of a happy ending, and making it
an arduous journey, which can frequently test the patience.
Pacino aficionados will probably want to seek it out in order
to witness another star turn from their idol, particularly in
light of a similarly blistering performance in TVs Angels
in America, but this is strictly for the die-hards only, given
the by-the-numbers nature of its storyline.