Chris O Donnell
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Despite the two characters seemingly lying at the polar opposite of the personality scale (one is a pure asshole while the other is just plain…pure), the film develops them both enough for you to really look forward to spending more time with them. That’s right…even Pacino’s asshole character, who despite being a dick, is actually very entertaining, charming and irresistible. And while the accolades tossed Pacino’s way were certainly well deserved, O’Donnell also deserves some props for convincing up against the big man, while establishing a great rapport and chemistry. The film is directed by Martin Brest, which automatically suggests a runtime of, at least, two and a half hours, which is exactly how long this one lasts, but none of it is in vain. In fact, I wanted the final “school showdown” to last longer. The film is also laced with some classic sequences including the tango with Gabriella Anwar, an uncomfortable Thanksgiving family dinner to end all uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners and the aforementioned final “school showdown” scene, which adds tension and moral compass to the picture.
Granted, the film includes a couple of sequences which defy logic including the Ferrari drive, the subsequent police officer interaction and the final decision made by a committee – which takes about 30 seconds, for the obvious sake of the audience – but you go along with most of it because the film works as a crowd pleaser, doesn’t go too over-the-top and remains grounded in its two lead characters at all other times. I really enjoyed watching this film and can see myself watching it again some day. A great character-driven movie starring two well-rounded characters, a fun performance by Pacino, deft directing, a complementary score and plenty of human interest all the way around.