Glengary Glen Ross
Dir: James Foley
Str: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris
This movie is engrossing by the performances of famous actors.
This rather dreary movie is nevertheless engrossing. The performance of all
the players acting a real estate salesman are surprisingly superb. As the most scenes takes place in only two locations;
i.e. inside a real estate office and a bar next to the office, overall atmosphere is like watching a theatrical
The four salesmen in the office must compete to each other.
Because two of them shall be fired. But the only person who can
adjust himself to the situation is Al Pacino. So what do you
the others do?
In this office located upon in suburb, which obiously suggests they are not
elite salesmen, four salesmen are working, and, one day, they are suddenly put into the situation two of them who
will not be able to gain proceeds more than other two salesmen in a certain duration shall be fired. In other words,
they must compete with each other fiercely. Their usual tactics of acquiring customers are very fishy, if not completely
illegal, like "you have been chosen by a computer among a vast number of applicants" or something like
that. Probably they must have been employing such tactics year after year so much so that even they, themselves,
are unaware of actually doing so. But suddenly the time come when they must change their routine tactics. Because
they have to outsmart at least other two members of the office. For this matter, only rather younger salesman (played
by Al Pacino) seems to be adjustable to the situation, for he has versatility and an ability to improvise anything
in compliance with the situation. As for other three salesmen, they don't seem to have such flexibility. So they
act rather stiffly stealing the leads from the office.
What is depicted here is just about power play. No moral issues
Rather oddly, despite the fact the film is depicting darker side of modern
business scene, I never feel any enervating effect from this movie. I guess the reason for it is because the movie's
intention resides in showing the power play, or quantity, so never quality. Essentially those four salesmen are
lone wolves, even if working in the same office together. How much money they can make, that is strictly the question
of quantity. Furthermore, this movie never refers to moral aspects usually accompanying this kind of issues. There
are no more implications beyond the statement like if someone steals someone else's property and get caught, he
shall be punished. No mentioning about moral obligation. Just power struggles and tactics. In a scene, Al Pacino
says to one of his customers, "Bad people go to hell? I don't think so.","You cheat on your wife?
So be it." By saying so, he is never claiming there is no moral aspect about it, but just announcing he is
going to suspend it. Whether such an attitude is appropriate or not, these statements well reflect the film's overall
tinge that is all the more intensified by the fierce performances of the four salesmen plus two other management
staffs (played by Kevin Spacy and Alec Boldwin). In short, since moral issues are precluded from the story, it
never staggers in any point, and therefore audiences can enjoy pure intensity without any hindrance of moral aspects.
This movie's Japanese title is totally absurd. The Japanese supplier
shouldn't have given such a misguiding title to any movie even
the market sake.
By the way, I would like to mention the Japanese title of this movie. Since
I am usually watching imported video tapes, I don't care about Japanese titles. But, in this movie's case, Japanese
title is too terrible to skip mentioning. The direct translation back to the equivalent English words from the
Japanese title is approximately "dreaming of skyscraper", probably meaning "dreaming of working
in the office located upon in a skyscraper (=downtown)". I guess why the Japanese movie supplier gave such
an awkward title to the movie is probably because there is a movie titled The Secret of My Success (played
by Michael J. Fox) that has a similar Japanese title. And Michael J. Fox is one of such actors who are inexplicably
popular in Japan (I guess since he is far shorter than average Japanese male persons, he might have fitted to Japanese
taste.). Anyway no one in the film seems to dream of working in the office in downtown, for they are just occupied
with ordinary reality and have no time to dream of anything. Even if they do so, that is completely irrelevant
to the contents of the movie. Although original English title might not be suitable for a Japanese title, they
should not have given such a misguiding title to any movie even for the market sake.
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