Sep 16, 2008

Righteous Kill

Not even a giant caliber hack like Jon Avnet doing his best to fuck it up, can take away the intermittent pleasure of watching the two giants of American acting, Pacino and De Niro together, even if they are old and wrinkled and one pines for their days of youthful, electric genius. Righteous Kills is a mess of a high concept flick that makes little sense and it is shoddily made in every department. Except De Niro and Pacino have their moments. It's good to see them together, sort of like Felix and Oscar but way underwritten, wasted in a bad script. I would have loved instead to see Travis Bickle meet with the guy from Dog Day Afternoon. Or Jake La Motta talking to Frank Serpico. Let me dream. Time has taken its toll on both actors but it's good to see the marks of time instead of botox.
Pacino gives a very seductive and relatively understated (for him) performance. He is warm and funny and kind of sexy. De Niro is his usual intensely controlled self. It is hard to believe he is fucking the brains out of Carla Gugino because there is not a split atom of sexuality in his performance. But he can still deliver moments of truth and grace. It is a pity that the director is such a terrible hack he doesn't even know to give them the right space in the frame. He trains unnecessarily extreme close ups on actors that don't need them. He squanders moments, the movie makes no sense, and still it is a testament to the actors that they try to imbue it with some semblance of reality. It is really a shame they spend their time and effort in this dud, instead of lending themselves to something more dignified, but both of them abandoned that trail years ago.

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