Director: Dan Fogelman
Cast: Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer, Annette Bening
Al Pacino in 'Danny Collins'. Courtesy YouTube
Al Pacino, despite being such a prolific actor has always taken odd choices in his life. When he had appeared in the 'Godfather' movies and 'Dog Day Afternoon' he had the world at his feet, and decided to make smaller, grittier films rather than big budget blockbusters. That trend of his continues with his latest film 'Danny Collins'. However, unlike most of his films from the past decade and a half like Jack and Jill, this one doesn’t stink. It’s actually a pretty good film, featuring his best performance in years.
Al Pacino stars as the titular Collins, a former superstar musician who suddenly realizes that he hates what he has become. He used to be a true artist with genuine talent to share to the world, and inspired people in their lives. And now he’s just a paycheck catching 'diva' who has an empty life of riches, a hot fiancée who is half his age, a huge house and sports cars that are only meant to compensate for the lack of his artistic choices. In short he's now a sellout, and also the worst scum on the planet. He decides to right his wrongs by trying new things, the first of which is trying to be friendly with his son whom he has never met in his life.
Note that this is no Birdman or a gritty diatribe on the fine line between morality and riches, it's an out and out commercial film rendered with all the commercial trappings of the genre. There are plenty of laughs along the way, mostly thanks to Al Pacino's gregarious performance. The dramatic stuff is also present and handled quite subtly. The supporting cast is terrific, with Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer and Bobby Canavale as the son. They all have little details that make them fairly likable.
What the film has is a bunch of really great moments, and even though the sum of its parts isn't a great film, those little moments are enough to invest you into the story and the characters. Cleverly, the theme of selling out and redeeming oneself is a lot like the life of Al Pacino and his colleague Robert De Niro themselves, both of which have shamelessly cashed in lately. So if you're especially angry with any of those two actors for their actions in the past decade, this is the movie for you.
Watch the trailer of 'Danny Collins'