Walking up to a film about theater having seen Inarritu's Birdman just days ago must be similar to what it felt like seeing a band follow The Sex Pistols in 1979; it really doesn't matter how good they are, whatever they do is just gonna look old. So it was a pleasant delight to see Al Pacino go down the self deprecation route tonight for Barry Levinson's latest effort. The rather aptly titled The Humbling stars the New American Cinema icon as a Shakespearean actor in his twilight years who falls for the affection of a younger girl.
The film has it's problems- a little bit creepy, perhaps pretentious at times- but it was awarded more than its fair share of laughter from the packed out crowd. No one involved does themselves any sort of disservice but it was Pacino who really catches the eye. I recently listened to some other critics discussing Michael Caine's performance in Mr Morgan's Last Love. They pondered over the reasons why more up and coming directors fail to find roles for these beloved aging stars. Bill Murray holds a place in many a millennial's heart and that is largely thanks to the fact that Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola and Jim Jarmusch so clearly saw what he was still capable of.
In the last ten years Michael Caine has been given a similar reintroduction to a younger generation through the films of Chris Nolan so why not put Al Pacino next in line? He just showed a fuddy duddy humour dotted with some startlingly open wounded moments of tenderness. The old pro appears in David Gorden Green's Manglehorn tomorrow as a widower locksmith in love with his cat...
Green's certainly been back on form of late after a mid career slump. Budding young post millennials (is there a word for them yet?) might just want to watch out.