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Now showing in Hong Kong

Film review: Manglehorn – Al Pacino takes challenging role as drunken recluse in uneven drama

Flimsy screenplay lifted by Pacino and Holly Hunter’s acting and some pet surgery

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 February, 2016, 10:31am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 February, 2016, 10:30am

The latest offering from wayward director David Gordon Green ( Our Brand Is Crisis , Pineapple Express) stars Al Pacino as a reclusive, heartbroken locksmith who is given a final shot at romantic redemption thanks to Holly Hunter’s homely bank teller.

Manglehorn drinks heavily and obsessively scribbles letters to a long-lost love, cutting himself off from his adult son and the rest of humanity. Now doting solely on his cat Fanny, Manglehorn faces an emotional crisis when his feline companion falls seriously ill.

While it’s reassuring to see Pacino still challenging himself, as his contemporaries (De Niro, we’re talking to you) opt for the easy pay cheque, he can do little here to bring Paul Logan’s flimsy screenplay to life. Mostly, Pacino just mumbles drunkenly as Green’s camera drifts woozily in and out of focus and post-rockers Explosions in the Sky tinkle on the soundtrack.

Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine offers support as a doped-up pimp, who has seemingly wandered in from a wildly different film, only adding to the film’s uneven keel, while Holly Hunter is wonderful as an equally lonely soul determined to find love.

Manglehorn also features a captivating scene of fastidiously narrated feline surgery, but when that proves to be a film’s genuine high point, something has clearly gone awry.

Manglehorn opens on March 3