Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Spacey’

Glengarry Glen Ross – James Foley

glengarry-glen-ross“Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
In one self place, for where we are is hell,
And where hell is must we ever be.”
― Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Most of the stories depicting devils show them having an entertaining, fulfilling job tempting us. A job that sounds more like a hobby. The story of Glengarry Glen Ross says it otherwise. What miserable lives poor devils have!

Not our fight against temptation makes the devil’s job difficult. We rarely fight back and if we do we rarely win. Sometimes we just don’t have what they want, what they must take from us.

But why would a devil ask for something we cannot give? Shouldn’t he know better? He knows it very well but there are some factors even the devil cannot ignore. He belongs to an organization, he has several bosses and, what a novelty, a pain-in-the-ass supervisor who’s not only irritatingly following rules and orders but also seems to be playing for the opposite team!

The Willy Loman-like devils, the junior sales representatives of hell, always get the worst leads. Two per day. Plenty, you’ll see, even for the kind that never sleeps. Their situation is so desperate that trying to corrupt the supervisor to give out one good lead is not surprising. This extreme act, a devil tempting another devil, is what I’d call the temptation with a Droste effect, la tentation mise en abyme, meta-temptation, the ultimate temptation etc. Kevin Spacey and Jack Lemmon are both on top of this situation.

If a junior devil has some talent, some luck – luck seems to strike making no difference between humans, devils and angels – and closes a weak lead, he has a chance to get better leads and to start a real career.

Do you remember John Milton, the CEO of hell aka Milton-Chadwick-Watters, the New York law firm? The John Milton with Al Pacino’s face? The devil’s advocate – 1997?. In Glengarry Glen Ross he’s at the beginning of his outstanding career. He goes by the name of Ricky Roma but has the same Al Pacino shape.

The other devils get to use remarkable vehicles too like Ed Harris and Alan Arkin. Their exasperating dialogues are wrapped around another quote from Dr. Faustus: “The end of logic is to dispute well”.

Or maybe this movie is only about ordinary human salesmen.

The man who stare at goats – Grant Heslov

The man who stares at goats is a big promise. The story is a satire on the U.S. Army’s alternative fighting experiments based on Jon Ronsons’s best seller. The cast is impressive (George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey) and together with the plot it should guarantee an acid satire.

The start is promising; the cast is filling the high expectations, more or less, is handling this black-comedy with great skill: George Clooney and Jeff Bridges are outstanding, Ewan McGregor follows them closely and Kevin Spacey is a bit behind. The story is promising good laughs; the new eco-friendly war techniques of the “Jedi” warriors are absurd and hilarious.

After enjoying some satire elements spread across the narrative, one is eager to see them coming together, forming an arrow and shooting someone or something down. But it does not happen. Institutions, policies that could have been pinched hardly are unharmed. U.S. Army is still standing, war in Iraq still standing, right-wing policy still standing. Am I missing something here or this would have been a good opportunity to embarrass these?

Anyway it is worth seeing these four cool guys at work, and there are some moments when all things come together and pure satire is created. It is a pity that it only happens occasionally and that in the end satire is just a tamed shadow of itself.

If you really are in the mood for a perfect satire on war, you should watch Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, of course. You should watch it anyway.

Watch them both!

I used the word “satire” too many times. I think I miss the genre.

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