It’s not often that I go into a movie knowing little to nothing about it and it’s even rarer that I watch a movie purely because of the actors involved.
With Stand Up Guys however I made an exception. I’m a big fan of Christopher Walken and when the people alongside him are Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Julianna Margulies to name a few, I knew this was a film I wanted to watch.
Now I knew the premise of the movie, aging guys get together for one last job, and to be honest that didn’t fill me with hope, expectations were low shall we say.
However I’m more than happy to say that what I got was something far better than I could have expected. Newcomer writer Noah Haidle has created something that is moving, darkly funny and very indie in style without having the indie budget.
Directorial duties fall to Fisher Stevens who most of you will probably know as George Minkowski from the TV series Lost. He does a good job, perhaps doesn’t quite give the car chase scene enough umpf but overall it’s a solid job.
Going into the movie expecting something akin to Oceans 11 or expecting the action of something like Taken is going to leave you disappointed. The movie has much more drama to it then that, much more emotion.
The performances of Walken and Pacino as the elder statesmen are great. Pacino in particular puts in a Stand Up performance that ranges from dramatic to comedic and back again with Walken giving his usual subtle performance that seems effortless.
The story follows Pacino on the day he gets out of jail after being inside for 28 years. Walken picks him up but is being forced to kill Pacino by 10am or he loses his own life and that of his granddaughter. Walken doesn’t want to kill Pacino and so starts nine hours of sex, drugs, dancing, car theft, revenge, springing someone from an OAP home and much more.
You get to know a lot about the characters that Walken and Pacino play, some of the other characters come and go but try to tell their story a little too quickly in my opinion.
However I think the biggest problem is with the ending. Sometimes you can do things in movies that seem to take the audience somewhere and then not show them, see Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction for an example. Sometimes though that can feel like a cop-out, I haven’t quite made my mind up about the ending of Stand Up Guys, but I’m leaning towards the latter.