Director: James Foley
Cast: Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris & Kevin Spacey
In an adaptation of Marnet's Pulitzer-winning play, sleaze oozes out of the mouths of four real estate salesmen and their branch's boss. With virtually no deals being made, a "motivator" is brought in. After the agents are verbally abused for their efforts, they are told that only two of them will still be working at the branch by the end of the week, based on their closers within the next two days. Fed up with the way they're treated, one of the agents plans to break into the office that night and steal the company's leads and sell them to a local competitor.
The dialogue in this film is priceless, and the execution is remarkable. There's no better way to put it than Ebert did: "You can see the joy with which these actors get their teeth into these great lines, after living through movies in which flat dialogue serves only to advance the story". The best performance of the film is Lemmon, who gives shows great sympathy for one of the sleaziest characters ever written.
Two thumbs up for me, though it's not a movie anybody would want to watch over and over. It's a shame the film didn't even make their budget, even with its extremely positive reviews (98% on RottenTomatoes). Anyone who likes good dialogue should take this one out of the library.
Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
- The word "fuck" and its derivatives are uttered 138 times.
- The word "shit" and its derivatives are uttered 50 times.
- The character of Blake was not in the original play. When adapting his play for the screen, David Mamet created that role specifically for actor Alec Baldwin.
- Co-star Jack Lemmon said the cast was the greatest acting ensemble he had ever been part of.
- During the production, the actors referred to this film as "Death of a Fuckin' Salesman".
- As of 2008, the cast includes four actors (Alan Arkin, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey and Al Pacino) who have won Academy Awards and two others (Alec Baldwin and Ed Harris) who have been nominated for Academy Awards.