Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Al Pacino is terrific as an overworked, aging New York City publicist who is planning a big shindig to raise money for African refugees who are being deported. The night before the fundraiser, his one major client (Ryan O’Neal) shows up in need of a favour: a television starlet (Téa Leoni) is in jail and O’Neal needs Pacino to go pick her up and take her back to her hotel safely. After spending a weird, down-the-rabbit-hole evening with the lady, Pacino wakes up the next morning to realize that he might have witnessed her rape and murder but, in a drugged-out stupor, was unable to do anything about it or even realize that he was seeing it. Now it turns out that the powerful conspiracy of businessmen who killed her think that the blackmail fodder they were hoping to find on her is now on Pacino. He has to protect his life and throw a killer party all in one day! Kim Basinger is breathtaking as Pacino’s sister-in-law, the only humanity and beauty that takes him away from the razor-sharp, dangerous life of publicity that is engulfing him. She provided the same kind of role in L.A. Confidential, the calm center of a storm, and here again shines with her intense subtlety and charismatic intelligence. Leoni is also a revelation, and although the end result is not all it should be, Jon Robin Baitz’s screenplay is chock full of crafty dialogue and engrossing suspense, never letting you fully see what’s around the corner and always keeping you interested enough to wait for more.
Screenplay by Jon Robin Baitz.
Cinematography by Peter Deming.
Music by Terence Blanchard.
Production Design by Michael Shaw.
Costume Design by David C. Robinson.
Film Editing by Suzy Elmiger.