Text: Francesco Alò – in collaboration with badtaste.it
Translation: Bianca Baroni
Photos: Alessio Costantino
The Al Pacino diptych ends in Antonioni’s Blow Up style… not in London, but in Texas.
We have seen him having fun in being humiliated in the fall nonsense The Humbling by Philip Roth. Now, here’s the Godfather of Hollywood, in the 71st edition of Venice Film Festival, who returns to be hard, grouchy and scrappy in the irregular, interesting but easily forgettable Manglehorn, by the stackhanovite David Gordon Green, for the second time in the competition, after Joe in 2014.
It’s over with Texas trilogy about harsh men and their hard work. After Prince Avalanche and Joe, Green shows us Angelo Manglehorn, who owns a hardware store, in which he keeps every kind of key except the one he needs to be happy. It’s a lonely, rancid man, full of rust, like the stuff he has in his store and that God only knows why his beloved Persian cat doesn’t eat. What’s wrong with him?
We will follow him while he hangs about a place and another, grumbling in a stream of consciousness which is typical of the male characters dominated by their ego in this edition of Venice Film Festival.
But Angelo is not an actor. He owns an hardware store, he’s an ex baseball coach who is unable to establish a connections with others, may they be his son, a successful manager (a good Chris Messina), or the Lebanese middleman (a great Harmony Korine), who admires him and offers him amusements and women.
A regret named Clara lives in this heap of anger and unpleasantness. A woman kept in his subconscious that has the shape of a basement (wasn’t the metaphore enough?), so obsessive and fierce to be worthy of a serial killer movie in The silence of the lambs style.
Green, such a versatile and rapid director that seems to be the new Steven Soderbergh, has created this movie that is as fascinating as full of empty moments that are a bit annoying and make you think about how this film could have been a great pilot episode for a tv series that could have make us know Angelo gradually. The finale is touching, if seen in a cinephile light, considering the homage to Antonioni’s masterpiece, but it is too Mary Poppins-ish and all of those references to the cinema (Scarface, La Dolce Vita, Godard’s Week End) clashes with the Texan crudity of a story that shouldn’t be so alluring and full of quotes.
The best thing is a great Holly Hunter who acts as the sweet counterpart to Pacino’s repetitive aggressive attitude.
The movie resembles her: too kind with Angelo Manglehorn.