Friday, August 07, 2015


MANGLEHORN is a super low budget indie drama from director David Gordon Green (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, UNDERTOW).  It stars Al Pacino as a long heart-broken local locksmith who finds late love with Holly Hunter's bank teller.

For the record, this is how you use voiceover. You use it to indicate a man out of step with contemporary life, withdrawing into himself, and melancholy for a former love, Clara.  You use it as one of many layers of sounds showing his disconnect - the incessant yapping of a former little league player he coached (Harmony Korine) - the electronic dance music in the club he's mistakenly been lured into - the melancholy piano soundtrack - and his own disoriented thoughts.  David Gordon Green's direction mirrors this aural layering, with scenes being decomposed into Manglehorn's confused face against atomised youngsters going about their lives, blending into and onto a man waking alone in a house with his beloved cat, Fanny.

I love Tim Orr's digital cinematography - from the acid lights of a casino arcade to . And I love  the soundtrack from Explosions In The Sky.  But most of all I love the fact that Al Pacino looks like he actually cares about the role, rather than some of the more shameless cash in roles he's taken of late where he looks bored.  And he raises the game of those around him.  Chris Messina (THE NEWSROOM) is genuinely moving as the resentful and unappreciated son, Joseph.  What kind of a messed-up guy makes his son feel like a failure but can still have such a natural and genuinely nurturing relationship with his client's daughter?

The overall feeling is one of a great actor at last turning inward on screen - realising that less is more - and a film that uses a wonderfully freehand but carefully constructed layering to give an impressionistic view of late-life regret and love.  It's a film that wears its emotional insights lightly - against a backdrop of beautiful and surreal imagery - mime artists and watermelons strewn against crashed cars and first dates at a pancake jamboree.  There's something almost magical about the world, even while the emotional regret is real.  It's a handsome trick to pull off.

MANGLEHORN has a running time of 97 minutes and is rated PG-13. The movie played Venice, Toronto, SXSW and many other festivals in 2014.  It was released earlier this year in France, Kuwait, the USA, Poland and Spain and is currently on release in Sweden, the UK and Ireland. It opens on August 21st in Turkey, and in the Netherlands on November 19th.

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