'Action talks and bullshit walks,' Don (Franz) tells his errand boy Bobby (Nelson) at the start of David Mamet's adaptation of his own play. Unfortunately, action isn't on the agenda. Talking, on the other hand, we get a-plenty. Talking about business, money, character, ethics. And this being Mamet, we get a lot of it twice. Don's working a scam with Bobby - they plan to steal a rare coin collection - but he reckons without the help of his poker buddy Teach (Hoffman), a seedy, paranoid waster, who inveigles himself into the scheme at Bobby's expense. In the theatre, this is doubtless riveting, but it's no surprise that it took two decades to make the transfer to the screen. The action's confined to Don's junk shop, and such plot as there is sneaks in by the back door about an hour into the proceedings. No complaints about the cast. Hoffman plays Teach like Ratso Rizzo twenty years on. He's good value, but Franz really nails the emotional core, painfully reconciling himself to his own flaws under the brutal tutelage of his 'friend'. Solid but stifled.
Cast and crew