Pacino on the lock-out for love in Manglehorn

Al Pacino's new film sees him star opposite Holly Hunter in the story of an eccentric locksmith trapped by the memories of a lost love. Dog Day Afternoon or Serpico it ain't, writes Brian Campbell

Al Pacino and Holly Hunter in Manglehorn

MANGLEHORN (12A, 97 mins)

Drama. Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Chris Messina, Harmony Korine, Natalie Wilemon, June Griffin Garcia, Edrick Browne, Kristin Miller White

Director: David Gordon Green


HERE are two dazzling quotes from the new Al Pacino film Manglehorn: 'I’m just a person’; 'When I eat macaroni salad, I get bloated’.

These two crackers give you an indication of how interesting this film is; not at ALL interesting. I saw the description of the film and thought 'That looks interesting – Al Pacino and Holly Hunter in a romantic drama’, then I watched the trailer and thought, 'I’m not sure about this...’

Having watched it, I can say I was right to be sceptical – it’s a rambling, pointless and instantly forgettable story about a Texan man who's a locksmith, who likes his cat and who never stops talking about an old flame.

Pacino phones this role in; his performance and husky tones recall the Rob Brydon impersonation of Pacino more than Pacino himself. The dialogue throughout is dire and seems entirely improvised. “I’m an angry man. The toaster burns my toast... I throw the toaster out,” Manglehorn tells Dawn (Hunter) at one point.

The film has kindly been described as 'naturalistic’ but would be better summed up as 'a waste of your time’. The most annoying character, quite easily, is Gary (Harmony Korine). He is known as 'Tan Man’ because he runs a tanning salon and he has been obsessed with Manglehorn since the latter was his baseball coach at school.

Manglehorn keeps writing letters to Clara (even though they are all returned to sender) and we hear far too many voice overs of what he says in them – “I’m a wounded man, Clara. I got real pain...” Perhaps the film should have been called Get Over It, Manglehorn.

Manglehorn is a pretty stupid title for a film too. Perhaps director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) accepted a drunken bet to use this title and it got out of hand.

Our lonesome locksmith does eventually agree to go for dinner with Dawn but when he talks about Clara, bloating and diarrhoea, his date understandably walks out. He has a tetchy relationship with his son Jacob (Chris Messina) and further endears himself to junior by telling him that he didn’t love his mother – only Clara.

Other random scenes include full-on cat surgery, a man singing his way around a bank and a bizarre car pile-up that – like the film – makes no real sense. Holly Hunter is the best actor here, possibly followed by the cat that Manglehorn spends most of his time talking to.

Spoiler alert: In the last scene of the film Manglehorn gets locked out of his own van. This is meant to be amusing because Manglehorn is a locksmith. It is not amusing.

This is a bad film, but I suppose it is amusing in a 'so bad it’s good kind of way’. But a better idea would be to watch Dog Day Afternoon or Serpico again and see Pacino at his best.

:: Manglehorn opens at QFT Belfast today. (


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