Very stylish … very slick … Al Pacino still has the gem!
Danny Collins tells the remarkable true story of a washed-up singer who lives his life like a true rock star – full of drugs, drinking and blonde bombshells who are half his age. All that changes in the blink of an eye when his manager gives him a 40-year-old letter written by John Lennon himself, which had been kept in the dark all this time.
Gone is the rock star and out of the blue emerges a heart-felt, passionate grandfather who seeks out his forgotten son and his wife and baby girl. The welcome ain’t exactly warm, but he doesn’t care. Danny Collins has a new purpose in life.
Oh, and in case you wonder, the concert you see at the start of the movie isn’t real. It looks real, but it isn’t. It’s footage of a Chicago-concert.
What makes Danny Collins so special isn’t just the return of one of the greatest cinema-gods of all time, but the plain and simple fact that Danny Collins is a very fine movie all around. Yes, the story is completely carried to a higher level thanks to a sparkling cast, but luckily for us, cinema-goers and movie-lovers, there’s more than meets the eye.
The storyline – however simple it may be – is quite effective and the emotions are raw and real. Check out Bobby Cannavale‘s incredible performance as the lost son who delicately balances between anger and apathy when he first comes face-to-face with his father. Give that man an Oscar … now!
The movie isn’t officially sold as a comedy, but partly that’s what it is. It’s a very light and easy-to-digest family movie, despite the underlying dramatic undertone of the main character shifting from a lovable grandpa to an ugly stranger who has his nose covered face-deep in cocaine. Who does this guy think he is? Scarface??
As expected, Al Pacino hasn’t lost any of his golden feathers and still flies with the greatest of ease from one scene to the next. Who would’ve thought he’d still be this fertile after being gone for so many years? He hasn’t lost any of his magic touch … and it’s a wonderful feeling to see him back in action.
The return of one of the greatest actors of all time to the big screen is met with sheer pleasure by pretty much everyone who loves movies.
But it’s not just Al Pacino who shines. As mentioned before, Bobby Cannavale stands by his side and actually takes a little bit of limelight away from the former Godfather. Here’s a character who knows his father is a selfish man and sees the rockstar inside of him and knows this is not a good influence for his baby girl. All of that and much more into one character, one actor. A beautiful performance and not to be missed!
His wife is played by Jennifer Garner. Nothing fancy there. The actress does a good job, but the real chemistry comes from another actress, namely Annette Bening. She plays the head of a hotel and although she’s a bit stiff at first, she’ll loosen up and you’ll learn to appreciate her more.
Another old familiar face is Christopher Plummer. He plays the manager and best friend, although at times he wears his hat and that’s usually a sign he’s going to conduct a business talk. Plummer has never been much of an Award-winning actor, but you can’t help feel for him when he’s grouching or reminiscing old times.
In case you’d wonder who the hyperactive little girl is, her name is Giselle Eisenberg. Why mention her? Because, at the time this movie was made, she was only – well, we don’t know – but she was very young and so talented. Call it the influence of being around a whole bunch of A-list actors … or perhaps she simply is that good, in which case we’ll surely see more of her in the near future.
did you know?
Real life singer Steve Tilston did in fact receive a letter from John Lennon 40 years after the ex-Beatle had written it. Somehow his manager kept this from him and … well … everything is explained at the end of the movie, just watch it.
Give it to me straight:
Danny Collins has a boring title and the storyline isn’t quite enough to make you drool of anticipation, but beware! This movie is actually a joy to watch. Its simple lay-out and structure are enough to wield you in, most notably thanks to a brilliant cast. Special notice ought to go to the little hyperactive girl with quite a mouth on her, a performance that may/may not remind you of a young Drew Barrymore in E.T. But the big guns are of course Al Pacino and Bobby Cannavale.
And take notice, ladies & gentlemen, because even though the first name is the big one whom everyone knows, the latter one claims more attention with a performance that can only be described as truthful and sincere. If there was ever a performance of Bobby Cannavale that deserves an Oscar – this one is it. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but the acting is so delicately played that you won’t even realize you’re savoring the moment.
Add to that the fact that the storyline is based on a real story … and you’ve got one heck of a film that you might wanna check out. Besides, this could easily be Al Pacino’s last movie … and you don’t wanna miss that, do you?