Manglehorn is something I once had to visit the doctor about after a particularly enjoyable evening went wrong, but that’s not what you’re hear to read about.
A.J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino), however, is bumbling through later life, still lamenting what could’ve been as he thinks constantly about a lost love, whilst also cooing towards bank teller Dawn (Holly Hunter), summarising his situation with “There’s always tomorrow… but I’m losing hope in tomorrow.”
By day, he cuts keys and smiths locks, but by night he’s a people-watcher, hanging out in gambling bars and clubs. Elsewhere in his life, he’s always at odds with his son, Jacob (Chris Messina), but not wanting to go overboard so he can still see his granddaughter, Kylie (Skylar Gasper) and there are a handful of very good scenes, but the trouble is, it loses its way far too often and just drifts off, making no sense at times.
Where it works best is that as we watch Pacino in this role, his character has lost his lust for life. His get-up-and-go has long since gone. And it highlights that there are so many of us just sleepwalking through life, getting through the day. What goal are we reaching for? Or are we? And can you break away from the past and live in the present?
Overall, Manglehorn is not without merit, but it’s so bitty that it’s not particularly fulfilling to watch, or even to recommend. I chose it for Pacino. He’s good at times, but I can’t begin to imagine what the Kevin Maher from The Times was smoking who said, who claimed, as it shows atop the cover, that this was Pacino’s best performance this decade… Then again, all of Pacino’s great roles were in the 20th Century.
And director David Gordon Green gets bigged-up in the trailer, but while I really enjoyed 2011’s comedy The Sitter, and I’m looking forward to Our Brand Is Crisis, I felt let down by drama Joe, starring Nicolas Cage, and switched off Your Highness.
Oh, and I did have a giggle when his cat, Fanny, went for an operation, and he tells Dawn that he’s “got no Fanny for about a week”. F’nar! F’nar!
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and gets across all of Pacino’s character’s dreary locations (which is a positive way of describing how it accurately shows the way Manglehorn lives his life). I’m watching this on a 50″ Panasonic Plasma TV.
The audio is in DTS HD 5.1, but it’s a drama where dialogue and ambience are the lead aural experiences, so don’t expect any split-surround action here.
The extras are so brief as to redefine “afterthought”. There’s just a Cast Interview (5:01) with Holly Hunter and Al Pacino, and a Theatrical Trailer (2:15).
The menu features clips set to a short piece of the score, plus there are just the bog-standard lazy 12 chapters to the disc and, unforgivably, no subtitles. Why?
Running time: 97 minutes
Released: November 2nd 2015
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic J-D-C Scope)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: David Gordon Green
Producers: Molly Conners, David Gordon Green, Lisa Muskat, Derrick Tseng and Christopher Woodrow
Screenplay: Paul Logan
Music: Explosions in the Sky, David Wingo
A.J. Manglehorn: Al Pacino
Dawn: Holly Hunter
Jacob: Chris Messina
Gary: Harmony Korine
Clara Massey: Natalie Wilemon
Elegant diner: June Griffin Garcia
Italian Mom: Rebecca Franchione
Double for Al Pacino: Ted Ferguson
Bar Patron: Lara Shah
Horse Owner: Kristin Miller White
Gary’s friend: Jenee’ Amore’
Rudolf: Edrick Browne
Gary’s Best Friend: Luis Olmeda
Bank Customer: Elizabeth Lestina
Dancing man: Arthur Bryan
Walker Bankman: Louis Moncivias
Kylie: Skylar Gasper
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.