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People I Know
People I Know
Actors: Al Pacino, Téa Leoni, Ryan O'Neal, Kim Basinger, Richard Schiff
Director: Daniel Algrant
Genres: Comedy, Drama
R     2004     1hr 40min

Academy Award(R) winners Al Pacino (Best Actor, SCENT OF A WOMAN, 1992) and Kim Basinger (Best Supporting Actress, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, 1997) bring the star power to this powerful and provocative thriller! For old-school pub...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Al Pacino, Téa Leoni, Ryan O'Neal, Kim Basinger, Richard Schiff
Director: Daniel Algrant
Creators: Karen Tenkhoff, Kirk D'Amico, Leslie Urdang, Michael Nozik, Nellie Nugiel, Philip von Alvensleben, Jon Robin Baitz
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Miramax
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/20/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: Spanish

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Movie Reviews

For Whom The Bell Tolls
fCh | GMT-5, USA | 04/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)


The biggest accomplishment of "People I Know" is in capturing the crisis of the leftist/progressive movement in the US. It shows us how little it means anymore the principled against the option of a (political) career. The political left, by and large, has been institutionalized around few names and causes relevant today as name-dropping/historical material--see all references, spoken or visual, to the past scattered throughout the film.

Eli Wurman, Pacino's character, is a relic of a time past who still leverages a reputation, a decreasing circle of friends, and a Harvard law degree, to defend the weak--in today's version, the post-9/11 illegal immigrants. The problem, we find, is that people, at best, find his events as opportunities to advance their agendas rather than move towards a common goal. Wurman is spent, slow to come to terms with the 'new realities,' a cunning and quixotic mix of individual who ponders getting the job done with doing the right thing; interesting tensions, portrayed well by Pacino. Donnie Brasco comes to mind as another film-role where Pacino's character is weathered down.

Pacino's acting is just shy of excellent, while the supporting roles are inconsistent. Somehow, Kim Bassinger doesn't seem to fit the story very well; casting vs. screenplay problem. From the commentary option, we learn lots of tidbits, and about something that has come to plague lots of recent films: this film was turned rather quickly, without (enough) attention to details of interpretation or making. Such an approach is probably what leaves the attentive viewer with the feeling of everything goes or impromptu. Even actors such as Pacino and Bassinger cannot salvage such a production.

All in all, this is a great and timely portrayal of a tired activist movement--a must see for the aware citizen. As well, the viewer may do well by ignoring the racial apropos of some reviewers here.
A reality beyond the eyes can see
Deglie Simoni | Lisboa Portugal | 05/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is very difficult to show something that is hidden and in front of our faces. Sometimes this matter takes a sensionality show like a playing game, other times the director can not transmit the real and invisible world. However this is not the case of this film. It is very precise and perfect in the message.This film shows us what we can not see with our common eyes. Another level of what is real. Everything may be programmed and exactly directed to a certain target. We normally see the effects and not the cause.People that enjoyed Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick, American Psycho will certainly enjoy this excellent movie."
Some Incisive Moments, but Mostly Meandering.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 08/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Eli Wurman (Al Pacino) is a down-and-out New York publicist whose career has seen better days. Once the friend and confidant of the entertainment elite, he has only one remaining A-list client, playboy movie star Cary Launer (Ryan O'Neal). Undaunted in his support of humanitarian causes, Eli insists that Cary speak at a charity benefit that he is organizing when Cary asks him to do some dirty work -bail a girlfriend out of jail. After bailing Jilly (Tea Leoni) out, Eli reluctantly takes her to look for an important item that she has lost. The next day, while frantically trying to organize his charity benefit, a drug-addled Eli tries to piece together what he saw the night before and what it might mean.

"People I Know" is a hybrid political thriller and character study. As a political thriller it's interesting, but not thrilling enough. It spares no one in its revelation of the hypocrisy and abuse of power behind a New York Senate race. The indictment of the city's most prominent citizens, although obviously unrealistic, is unsettling enough to be interesting. The film's best scenes feature Richard Schiff being ruthless as eminent businessman Elliot Sharansky. Al Pacino's Eli Wurman doesn't fare so well. The film takes place over a period of only about 26 hours, during which Eli is unraveling, both emotionally and physically, all while organizing a benefit and getting caught up in political intrigues beyond his control. I wish the film had the urgency that the situation implies. Eli still has a salesman's pitch, but is drug-dependent and only intermittently lucid. This doesn't really work. It makes him difficult to watch and only passively involved in what's going on. It doesn't help that Pacino's Georgian accent is as inconsistent as his character's thought processes. "People I Know", like Eli, has some moments of clarity, but it needed to be a lot tighter.

The DVD: Bonus features include 2 deleted scenes, with commentary, and an audio commentary by director Dan Algrant and Gregory Mosher, who has nothing to do with the film. Mosher is a writer and director himself and must be a friend of Algrant's. This arrangement works better than I might expect. Mosher is able to point out elements of the film from the perspective of a viewer, which Algrant can then comment on. The commentary is about filming -the actors, make-up, wardrobe, anecdotes, etc.- not about the film's themes. It's a reasonably good commentary."
It's the thought that counts
Charles H. Levenson | new jersey | 02/23/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Upfront-This isn't Al Pacino's best ever role...indeed,it isn't even one of his best...The film,while choppy and toiling under a few plotline holes,nonetheless DOES have something to say...The fact that so many of the reviewers here have used the word"leftist" and/or the term "leftist conspiracy"when describing the story this film tells is instructional,and the fact that so many of these same reviewers scoff at the notion,or deride it ALONE make this a film worth looking at..
I have to wonder if,perhaps,there is a right-wing denial agenda at work in those who made it thier whole point to be critical of the alledged"left wing"bias they claim to detect in this movie?Sure,"People I Know"is fiction,and as such deserves only our critical review with regard to plotting(note the afore-mentioned holes in this department)acting(great to excellent for the most part,especially Pacino)and directing(acceptable,if somewhat pedestrian),but since so many of the reviewers here have made it such a point to nitpick a FICTIONAL "leftist"conspiracy that they see as being the whole point of this film,let me point out that,alas,in today's world the real evil comes,conspiratorially,from the right(and,let's be honest,hasn't it always?) a world in which a REAL right wing cabal,including both the president and the vice president can,among other things,SECRETLY involve us in an unnecessary war,while publicly lying in order to gain our support,can SECRETLY conspire with the fuel companies not only to keep us in that war but to deliver them massive profits at our expense,can SECRETLY conspire with extremist religious groups to defeat scientific truth,can SECRETLY establish and run prisons where captives are tortured into making bogus confessions,ect,ect,the desire to "expose"the FICTIONAL "leftist"paranoia alledgedly running throughout this film would be laughable except for the fact that these reviewers take it all so seriously...And,in the end,such reviews themselves become something of a right-wing conspiracy against truth,in that,in assaulting the crebibility of a FICTIONAL left-wing conspiracy they strive to divert our attentions away from all of those REAL LIFE everyday right-wing plots that have done so very much to destroy american prestige,and curtail the liberties guaranteed by the constitution and the bill of rights...Making a film about these right-wing plots,and the arrogance of those involved in them WOULD make a better,if a more frightening movie..."