Stand Up Guys is the story of two retired con-men (Pacino and Walken) who are enjoying one of their last days on Earth before the other one has to kill his best friend. This is probably one of the best movies I have seen this year, and it doesn't come out until February, so it might go as the best movie I get to see in two years. Bold statement? Probably. Would I put money on it? Absolutely.
Everything in this movie fires on all cylinders, the writing (sharp and witty), the acting (hilarious and earnest), and the directing/cinematography (haunting and beautiful). Written by Noah Haidle, the story handles both the dramatic and comedic without going too far to either side; Haidle conveys the harshness of "the job" and growing old with the levity that best friends can bring to one another. The cinematography in the movie was spectacular (can you tell with all this glowing praise that I liked this film just a bit?). There were a few scenes that really nailed the duality of the characters.
Fisher Stevens does a great job as an actor wrangler"”sorry, I mean director. You know walking into this movie how great Walken, Pacino, and Arkin are. Everyone says they love Pacino, and yes, Pacino is great, but for the past 20 years he's had this horrible tendency to chew up scenery and overact, yet Stevens does a great job of keeping him in check and gives us Pacino's best performance since Heat. There are a number of great scenes between him and Walken. When it comes to Christopher Walken, I have decided that when trying to decide how to write about him you have to accept one truth: you are always going to get Christopher Walken but it just depends on the acting scale are you going to get funny Walken or dramatic Walken. Both are great, but you have to just accept that he is never going to just assume a character (Ã la Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln). Along the way we get bit parts by a great number of actors and actresses, Julianna Margulies, Vanessa Ferlito, and Mark Margolis to name a few, but Addison Timlin plays an important role as Alex the waitress, and in a movie dealing with ex-cons, drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes brings a sweetness that anchors the movie.
In the end, I seriously cannot wait to watch this movie again when it comes out. Stevens did a great job helming this movie; the writing was superb, the acting great. When this comes out, go watch it.