Hank’s Recommendations 05/21/13

hank_paperSTAND UP GUYS — Val (Al Pacino), having taken the fall for his other partners, is released after 28 years in prison and is met by his good friend and former crime compadre, Doc (Christopher Walken). Val has kept his partners’ complicity from the law, but Doc has a secret, with which he’s been struggling for 28 years, in store for Val.

In one—and possibly final—night, the two renew old memories and bonds, including with their mutual good friend and former partner Hirsch (Alan Arkin), whom they rescue from a nursing home. Together they face the night’s serendipitous opportunities and dangerous events while reminiscing and reacquainting themselves with old skills.

This is not a straight-ahead action thriller. If that’s what you’re looking for, skip this film and see IRON MAN 3, or much better yet, IRON MAN 1 or 2. There are spare but thrilling moments here of action and even a proficient and amusing car chase. But what counts in this otherwise very leisurely movie is the reminiscing and patter as Val and Doc see where the night is going to take them and where it’s going to take their friendship. The dialogue is the hook, along with the pleasures of seeing these three actors still at the top of their game. Yes, it’s a slow movie, like the three characters who have to take it slow—until circumstances plus their own whimsy demand they ratchet it up a notch or two. The “iron” here is friendship and fealty, exerting its own memorable impact in a film that takes its time about time running out.

P.S. As a longtime fan of Christopher Walken, whose performances have mostly been edgy and deviant ones, it’s good to seem him taking on straight, emotionally moving dramatic roles (as in the film above). If you haven’t seen his prior DVD release (also in Top Hits) I strongly recommend LATE QUARTET, a very New York-ish movie that also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. It’s my favorite film this year.