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Glengarry Glen Ross

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

It may be fiendishly well-built and damn near indestructible, but you wouldn’t think David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross could contain two Richard Romas. The top real-estate huckster in Mamet’s anatomy of manhood, shame and the dirty art of the sell, Roma tends to dominate the room with his physical charisma and staccato palaver, his alpha-male epigrams laced (of course) with pirouetting profanities. Al Pacino owned the role in the 1992 movie version, establishing the gold standard for how to deliver Mamet’s sprung-rhythm vulgarities. So when the curtain rises to reveal Pacino talking that talk, you need a second to readjust. This time he’s Shelly “the Machine” Levene, wheedling has-been, begging for another shot. Roma, meanwhile, is played by sleek, bronzed, priapic Bobby Cannavale. Can this possibly work?

Bet your ass it does. Ricky and Shelly have a special bond in Glengarry. Although none of the desperate men hawking properties in their crummy Chicago office like one another, there’s a grudging respect between Shelly—who used to be a hotshot—and Ricky, who currently is. In the second act, when the older man recounts his early-morning sale to an elderly couple, the rascally delight between master and student is palpable. And as Shelly begins his inevitable fall, you see Ricky catching a glimpse of his future.

Pacino and Cannavale are fierce and hilarious, rattling through the Mametspeak. But the entire cast blazes in Daniel Sullivan’s tight, anger-unmanaged staging: David Harbour’s humiliated office prick, Williamson; John C. McGinley’s bilious Moss; Richard Schiff’s schlemiel Aaronow; Jeremy Shamos’s spineless Lingk; and Murphy Guyer’s cop, Baylen. They may be weak, craven shells of men, but they close on one of the biggest deals of the season.—David Cote

Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote


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