Stand Up Guys is another movie I knew nothing about before walking into the theater. I heard that Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin were staring in a movie together and I was interested on that alone. The poster made it look like some sort of crime thriller and the 30 seconds of the trailer that I watched seemed to confirm that. Having seen the film, I have no idea how you could possibly market it, but I can say that you absolutely should go see it. Why this is a February release is beyond me.
Valentine, played by Al Pacino, has just been released from a 28 year prison sentence for murder and refusing to give up an associate. His best friend Doc, played by Christopher Walken, has been waiting to see him released, but has been given an hit on Val by their boss Claphands since the job that accidentally killed Claphands’s son and put Val in jail. Val knows he has a short time to live and wants to make his last night the best possible, including breaking their friend Hirsch, played by Alan Arkin, out of the retirement home for one last night on the town.
Throughout the entire film you’re left to ponder whether or not Doc will eventually kill Val. Director Fisher Stevens did an excellent job leaving that question on the table and Pacino and Walken gave spectacular performances, giving their relationship this closeness, yet keeping it on a constant edge. I’m not sure if Seven Psychopaths got Christopher Walken to act again, but it seems to have kicked him off on an acting kick and is fantastic in this film.
Stand Up Guys is not an action packed thrill ride. It is a nice, slow burn that takes its time to show you its hand, but when it does you will be more than satisfied with the cards. Val, Doc and Hirsch’s relationship was endearing and a pleasure to watch. It was nice to finally see a film with actors and characters who are no longer in their prime and actually accepting and dealing with that. As much as I love these actors, I don’t want to see them doing numerous death defying stunts, it’s a bit too far for my disbelief to stretch.
Just as with my viewing of Silver Linings Playbook last year, this was a film that I wasn’t sure I liked at first. But just as with that movie, Stand Up Guys had a nice, slow start to get me to connect to its characters so that when shit actually started to go down, I know the involved parties and genuinely cared about their situations. This was a film that made me feel emotions, real, genuine emotions, and there aren’t many that I can say that about. This is also a film that ends so beautifully that I see many people getting frustrated with it, but you would have to see it to understand what I mean.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Stand Up Guys and what I got was incredible. This isn’t some grand, plot focused film. It’s a story about three guys that are getting up in age having one last night to relive their glory days. This doesn’t feel like a movie, it’s a window into their lives. I love movies, I go to the theater and see several movies each month and this one stands out from everything over the past year. This is a movie that you will remember and you need to see.
In Theaters: February 1, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 33 minutes
Rating: R (for language, sexual content, violence and brief drug use)
Director: Fisher Stevens
Cast: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Official Site: http://standupguysfilm.com