It probably didn’t mean to be a satire but that’s what it most reminds me of. An aging rockstar determined to return his old ways after 40 years of pretending and selling out. Portrayed by the impeccable Al Pacino, a movie he chose to star in because as he said reflected his current situation in life in some respects.
There isn’t much singing in the movie, so you needn’t worry about Pacino’s singing chops which remain at an acceptable level for the kind of songs he sings, which as his movie persona Danny Collins says probably doesn’t even qualify as singing. Thus reminding us that most songs nowadays don’t really require singing skills, with backup singers, autotuning, lip syncing and all the tricks that make even the worst, sound like the best.
Nevertheless, as shallow as the concept seems, there are a few lessons to be learned from Danny Collins, mostly as an example of what not to do but also in his tireless efforts to achieve his goals, and even from the people that surround him either good influences or negative and the people he meets in this new chapter he wants to open in his life.
It’s Al Pacino, and everybody likes a Pacino movie. He can turn even the most dreadful and horrible narratives into half decent and interesting movies. Throw a bit of Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Garner and Annette Bening in the mix and you get a great cast which lures you into watching a very enjoyable but generic and common story, for its most part at least.
Nobody was expecting it to be this good, even though there were signs that it could have been decent. I have watched it for a total of three times up to now, first time being back in 12th of December (credit to Odeon Screen Unseen, which brought it a month early and half price in the UK) and it gets me every time how it portrays the misinterpretation of people’s actions and how we, as human beings perceive others in the way that suits us better, that allows us to sleep better at night.
The narrative is very simple, yet fascinating, we engage in an exploration of reality-bound yet intriguing characters backdropped by a musical setting, it could have been any setting, yet the choice just amplifies the feeling of intensity in every scene. It’s a world, brought to life by mesmerizing acting. J.K. Simmons is sublime, I knew he was going to get at least an Oscar nod, the moment I left the cinema; majestic performance.
One of my favourite movies of 2014. A fascinating story of what a combination of hard work, belief in thyself and being pushed to the limit of your abilities can help achieve. Some people can handle it and manage to thrive while some others cannot, and they simply implode.