Derek Winnert


This article was written on 29 Apr 2014, and is filled under Reviews.

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People I Know **** (2002, Al Pacino, Téa Leoni, Kim Basinger, Ryan O’Neal, Richard Schiff, Bill Nunn, Robert Klein, Mark Webber, Rex Reed) – Classic Movie Review 1158


Director Daniel Algrant’s 2002 film stars a just brilliant Al Pacino, who scalds the screen as Eli Wurman, a burnt-out, over-stretched Manhattan PR press agent trying to arrange a charity function, struggling with actors and the press, and stumbling across a political conspiracy and murder. Decadent and drug addicted, Eli takes a detour to an opium den with client Téa Leoni, and then sees her killed.


A first-rate character study, a look at the dark side of the PR publicity game and a film-noir thriller, this has success in all three areas thanks to an excellent, finely honed screenplay by Jon Robin Baitz. People I Know certainly provides gripping, intelligent adult entertainment.


But it’s Pacino’s performance that makes it truly memorable. Pacino would be riveting reading the phone book, but here he’s got a virtuoso role in a dark and provocative movie that’s got lots of clever things to say.


There’s a clutch of super support performances, with Ryan O’Neal giving his best performance in years as a slimy, ageing movie star. Richard Schiff, Bill Nunn, Robert Klein, Mark Webber and Rex Reed (as himself) support. Kim Basinger is perhaps less impressive as Eli’s supportive sister-in-law, Victoria Gray, but still plenty good enough.

© Derek Winnert 2014 Classic Movie Review 1158

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