Glengarry Glen Ross Reviews
Alan Arkin does a wonderful job as the benign George, who amenably reiterates whatever Dave (Ed Harris) says. We get a sense he's been at this job a long time, hasn't ever gotten ahead, doesn't have enough wisdom to converse with the younger Dave, but is almost willing to blindly follow him for lack of his own direction.
Jack Lemmon as Shelley and Al Pacino as Ricky Roma are the two standout performances, and we are treated to a great interaction between them after Shelley finally gets off a big sale. The interaction ups the ante when Roma's client comes in, the nervous pushover James Lingk (Jonathan Pryce), Shelley and Roma playing a faux client/salesman con to sell Roma as a busy important man. Roma is trying to push Lingk out of the office to keep him from withdrawing his sale - Roma is held onto the lie that Lingk's check hasn't been cashed yet, is secure, and can be returned. Kevin Spacey's young and ignorant John Williamson comes in and screws the whole thing up, misreading the situation, informing Lingk that his check has been cashed and all is well. What follows is Roma's verbal beatdown of Williamson, making up the raw intensity aforementioned.
Everybody hates Williamson after he brings in the negatively charged motivational speaker Blake (Alec Baldwin) to threaten that the lowest earner will be fired. Roma is the standard to meet, and he's got pull over Williamson. His berating of Williamson is something everyone wants to see, especially since Williamson had been hard on the vet Shelley, giving him and everyone else poor leads.
The plot develops when these top leads, which only Roma gets, become the target of everyone in the office, and since nobody will give them up, plans develop to steal them. It starts with Dave trying to convince George to do it - they will sell them off to another company and make a profit for their efforts. But even George is leery about this, second guessing it. All we know is that the next day, the leads have been successfully stolen, and the police are investigating. We suspect George based on the nervous way he acts, but he's nervous to begin with. It's likely Dave is involved no matter what, the guy is always lit without a fill. And then there's the way Shelley is acting, overly celebratory about his latest sale that gets him up on the board.
The scope is limited, but Foley handles it nicely. I like the way this part of New York looks, has a studio backlot old Hollywood feel to it. Blue light lands on several of the characters, Shelley in phone booths. The Chinese restaurant, with it's red lining and open space, provides a hospitable habitat for these workers to relax and stretch. I love the way the train passes in the rain as Shelley crosses the street, Dunkin' Donuts dull in the background. We feel this is a deadbeat part of town, a perfect allusion to the lives of the people working in it.