- Gareth Crook
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) 10/10
Rewatching this under appreciated classic. I’ve kept it at the bottom of the list as a treat, teasing myself. Knowing I’m going to love it all over again. Now I’ve raised expectations. What is this about? Pretty simple really, sales. Salesmen technically. Trying to sell real estate. On the phones, chasing leads as a lounge jazz score (which is brilliant) slinks along in the background. We first meet Shelley (Jack Lemmon) and Dave (Ed Harris) moaning about not getting the support they need. Working hard, working late, crossing swords with the boss, John (Kevin Spacey). The pressure is palpable. Everyone struggling, well aside Ricky Roma (Al Pacino). He’s the shark, the king of the office. Slick and confident. Everyone is an opportunity to Ricky. Things are about to get tense though. Enter Blake (Alec Baldwin). He’s from the big office downtown. He’s come in the rain in his flash BMW, to set out some new rules. Heads might roll. “Coffee’s for closers. You think I’m fucking with you. I am not fucking with you”. Blake is not a nice man. It’s not a nice world. His motivational talk is brutal and cinematically beautiful. Stalking the room and abusing the lovely Alan Arkin, who plays George. The message is simple “Always. Be. Closing”. Sell real estate or be fired. The clock is ticking. One week. To gain some confidence. To make some sales. Top salesman wins a car, second gets some steak knives, everyone else out. On the face of it it doesn’t sound that exciting does it. I assure you it is. The pace of the dialogue is ferocious. Painting an entire world beyond the grizzled lonely cast, wearing out shoe leather and getting their trench coats soaked. For all Blake’s bluster in the opening act though. This belongs to Lemmon and Pacino. Lemmon is masterful switching between his real neurosis, begging John for help and the slick sales patter he uses on the phone. Surely he’s the inspiration for Gill in The Simpsons. Ricky, meanwhile is stitching up an unravelling mark in the nervous Johnathan Pryce. He’s getting the good leads and he’s on a roll. The others though are picking through the dregs. They’re old, names of people who really aren’t interested in buying, it have no money. It’s cold calling. There’s some new leads though, the Glengarry leads. But they’re only for closers. This film is a masterclass in smoke and mirrors. What’s being said, what’s not. Who’s saying it, why. It’ll make your head swim wonderfully. What lengths will each individual go to to save their skin. There’s the go getters, the desperate, the rule breakers. When the bomb goes off in the middle of this story it’s fantastic. It turns everything upside down as the expletives count rises and tempers fray. It’s ruthless. It’s brilliant. Amazing cast. One of the best films ever made.