A few pithy reactions to David Mamet‘s Phil Spector, which premiered last night on HBO, would be welcome. Almost everyone saw it, I presume. Team Metacritic is 2/3 positive, 1/3 negative. My impressions, condensed from my 3.15 review (“Guilty of ‘We Don’t Like You’“), are as follows:
(a) Phil Spector is “not so much about story-telling as the wielding of a blade that cuts in and around like a sushi chef…it’s all ‘factual’ in a sense, but it’s also a fantasia of sorts…it’s a visit to Mamet-world, and is therefore far from a typical big-murder-trial, guilty-or-innocent movie…great skill and theatrical pizazz have been brought to bear…at a mere 91 minutes, it’s very tight and taut“; (b) “It contains a pair of compelling, at times amusing, charismatic performances from Al Pacino as Spector-the-nutbag (brilliant, flamboyant, fickle, rambling of speech, bewigged, gnome-like) and Helen Mirren as his flinty defense attorney, Linda Kenney Baden” and (c) The film suggests “that in a certain foolish or theatrical way Lana Clarkson may have been holding the gun and that it may have gone off accidentally…it does seem likely that what happened was accidental, and that there would have been more blood found on Spector’s white jacket if Spector had been holding the gun…the evidence is the evidence.”
And yet one important piece of evidence isn’t mentioned in Mamet’s film. Four days ago L.A. Times reporter Harriet Ryan, who covered both Spector trials, noted the following:
“What [the film] doesn’t mention is that Clarkson died with her purse strap on her shoulder. If that seems inconsequential to you, perhaps you are a man. Ladies, I ask you: Is shouldering a purse the gesture of a woman who intends to a) commit suicide; b) play a sex game; or c) leave?”
Last night I looked at an assemblage of clips of Pacino yelling or shouting his way through a scene. My hands-down favorite is the legendary “because she has a great ass!” moment from Heat. But each and every clip has the embed code blocked. That’s Warner Bros. legal, I presume, but why? How can it possibly be a negative thing for people who haven’t seen Heat to watch this and other key scenes from it? They’re just tasters.