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Stand-Up Guys

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Mark Suszko
Stand-Up Guys
on Jun 9, 2013 at 1:12:15 am

This went right to Red Box, I don't know that it opened in very many theaters at all.

When playing Red Box Roulette, you could do worse than pick a movie starring Walken, Arkin, and Pacino.
It's directed by Michael Douglas' son, Fischer Stevens.

Gorgeously shot, full of neo-noir nuance, the framing is very painterly.

WAtched it with the wife, and we were split over how much we liked it.
She said there was no script; just unconnected bits of random dialogues.
I felt echoes of "The Last Detail" in this story of a former Gangster (Pacino), who has served his 20 year sentence without snitching, and is now released from prison, welcomed by old buddy Walken, who's been ordered to silence Pacino by the next morning. It's not giving anything away to say Pacino figures this out early, and the rest of the night is an uneasy field trip full of side-excursions for the two while they try to come to terms with what has to be done.

I disagree with my wife that the script "isn't there": I think it's a sparse framework, deliberately set up to just give three awesome actors a stage to be themselves on. Arkin doesn't get as much screen time as the other two, but his character makes the most of his scenes, which are among the funniest. I have no idea why Julianna Margueiese from E.R. is in this, but she has some amusing and touching scenes too.

The script I think plays very well as a stage play, that's really what it feels like. There's some mild action, there's a lot of coarse jokes, but it's mostly Pacino trying to be more poignant in each scene as the condemned man who finally see things clearly just before the end. But for all the time Al spends on this, I don't feel like his character made much of a journey, compared to Walken's.

We found it a diverting two hours; nothing to trouble the Academy with, but pleasant, and probably aimed at the sympathies of an older audience who grew up watching these actors come into their careers... If you like fast talking and fast action, this is not for you. If you'd like a small, semi-comical twist on the generic mob film, you might like this one.

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