Tuesday, January 29, 2013


"Stand Up Guys" premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival this past October and starred Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin and is now to be released this Friday.  The movie was about Val, a mobster (Pacino), who kept quiet and took the fall for his "gang" in the shooting death of the Boss's only son.   Val was sent to prison for 28 years.  Now released, Val and his only friend and fellow-gangster, Doc meet up again.  But in the land of gangsters, having done time does not mean your debts are paid. Doc was instructed by The Boss to kill Val.  What a conundrum for Doc.

We've had a lot of movies recently about aging such as "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Trouble With the Curve," and "The Last Rites of Joe May," to name a few.  "Stand Up Guys" continued the aging theme.  Given the incredible reputation of the cast, I had high hopes.  Unfortunately, those hopes fell flat.  Christopher Walken played Doc in his usual Christopher Walken style.  Pacino's performance was stilted and flat which broke up any conversational pace in the movie.  It was as if I was watching an initial run-through of a play, script still in hand.  Luckily, Alan Arkin was also a part of this gangster group.  His comedic timing and acting brought relief to the movie.  Unfortunately, Arkin's screen time was very short.  There were some humorous scenes which focused on the various aspects of aging including the men's perception of that process and the finality of life.  There were also some violent scenes, a little sex, and a car chase, as you would expect, but nothing outrageous.  In addition, there were a couple of side stories which concentrated on the normalcy of any man's life; his children.  Yes, even gangsters can be dads and grandpas.  This predictable story followed a expected pathway with a nice ending.   No real surprises and nothing to keep you glued to the screen.

I would recommend this movie as a DVD to see with your aging father.  A pretty safe movie with only one scene of possible discomfort.


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