Phil Spector

2013

Biography / Drama

0
IMDb Rating 6.3

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Steve Pulaski 8/10

&#x22;This is a work of fiction. It&#x27;s not &#x27;based on a true story.&#x27; It is adrama inspired by actual persons in a trial, but it is neither anattempt to depict the actual persons, nor to comment upon on the trialor its outcome.&#x22; Above is the disclaimer that precedes David Mamet&#x27;sPhil Spector. If I didn&#x27;t know what to think of a biopic on the extremeeccentric character Spector was and remains, I really didn&#x27;t know whatto think after seeing that. This is a film that is just as enigmatic asits title figure, and earns its first strength by not judging,objectifying, or even shortchanging him despite his conviction. To makea biopic that lacks a viewpoint on its subject is a difficult, andoften rare thing to do, yet the closer I look, the more I feel thatMamet made this film solely off of the fact that Spector is acompelling and unique figure.<br><br>For those unaware, Phil Spector was a renowned record producer in thesixties and seventies, known for helping The Ronettes, John Lennon, andThe Ramones achieve untold heights with their music. Spector, himself,achieved notoriety in the public eye for being a true force of energyand uncompromising in his pursuit for greatness with his artists. In2003, a woman named Lana Clarkson was found dead in his mansion from agunshot wound through her mouth. Spector was quoted that night saying,&#x22;I think I killed somebody,&#x22; and has had a known history withthreatening violence to his girlfriends. But Spector&#x27;s defense team hasfought day-in and day-out to prove that it would be impossible for himto have committed the murder, due to the lack of evidence on crucialpieces (IE: lack of blood on his jacket).<br><br>Mamet decides to set his sights on the events preceding the first trialand the events of it, with Al Pacino assuming the role of Spector andHelen Mirren embodying Linda Kenney Baden, his attorney. The first actof the film focuses on the interworkings of Spector&#x27;s defense team,where we see Baden and Bruce Cutler (Jeffrey Tambor) try to enact aplan for going about Spector&#x27;s impending trial. Only until abouttwenty-minutes in do we see Spector, who is portrayed as a ruthless,foul-mouthed, arrogant, frustrated time-bomb on the verge of animplosion due to media scrutiny and constant false allegations. Thefilm&#x27;s most powerhouse scene comes when we first meet Spector, and himand Baden have a long, fifteen minute monologue together in Spector&#x27;sluxurious mansion. During the course of it, the dialog is fast-paced,always engaging, and buoyed greatly by two terrific performers.<br><br>Pacino and Mirren unsurprisingly carry the film to heights it may nothave seen had lesser performers been placed in their roles. Think ofthe drudgery that would&#x27;ve taken place had those two cinematic greatsbeen swapped for second/third-rate performers in their first moderatelybig film. I&#x27;m already a tad shocked that Phil Spector has beensidelined to primetime programming on HBO, when it clearly has thenames to make it to the theaters (besides Pacino, Mirren, and Mamet,director Barry Levinson is credited as producer). But I suppose thereal question is, would this film have made it out of the theaters withits budget and then some? Is this a story that could be universallyappealing? My answer is no, because Phil Spector is not a perfect filmand is story could be viewed as mundane with the abundance of othercourtroom dramas. The trouble the film runs into the most is itslength; it feels like Mamet was given a specific runtime before he evenstarted shooting the film and couldn&#x27;t make it any longer or shorterthan ninety-five minutes. For this reason, some scenes (take thecourtroom ones) feel short and undercooked, and the ending wrapseverything up untidily after the first trial, which was declared amistrial. With the wealth of information on only Spector&#x27;s case, butthe possibilities that could&#x27;ve resulted because of Spector&#x27;s trueenigma and personality as a whole, a whole hour could&#x27;ve been attachedon to the ending. It seems silly to hire big names like Pacino, Mirren,Tambor, and Mamet for an ambitious project, but only utilize them forninety-five minutes entirely.<br><br>Even though the picture remains unbiased, it is a relativelyunsurprising fact that both sides of the Spector case have been able toget fired up about some element in the film. Clarkson&#x27;s family feelsthat she was portrayed in an overly dramatic, unstable manner, whileSpector defenders say that the &#x22;time-bomb&#x22; personality Pacino generateson screen isn&#x27;t accurate at all. The way I see it, you can judge Mameton the way he portrays the characters here, but you can&#x27;t say he takessides here. Both sides seem to have truths to them, and neither of themare given cold hard facts.<br><br>Mamet conducts the picture fluently and interestingly, even offeringsomething of a commentary on the current state of our legal system andhow we may have a problem at judging personality over person orsomething along those lines. Pacino&#x27;s embodiment of Spector is whollymemorable, Mirren provides the picture with true elegance, and thesupporting performances are forbidden to tread the line ofunimportance. It&#x27;s just a shame the scope wasn&#x27;t broader, and the storymore inclusive.<br><br>NOTE: Phil Spector will be playing on HBO for the remainder of Marchand April.<br><br>Starring: Al Pacino, Helen Mirren, Jeffrey Tambor, and Matt Molloy.Directed by: David Mamet.

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Reviewed by l_rawjalaurence 7/10

Based on actual events that took place, PHIL SPECTOR dramatizes thecourt-case in which the eponymous hero (Al Pacino) is accused of murderand defended by hotshot lawyer Linda (Helen Mirren). With David Mametas writer/director, viewers can expect nothing less than a penetratingcharacter-study with the emphasis on great dialog and changingreactions. PHIL SPECTOR does not disappoint in this respect; a study ofa once-great music producer fallen on hard times who (like NormaDesmond in SUNSET BOULEVARD) lives in fantasy-worlds of his owncreation. The ever-increasingly grotesque choice of wigs Spector usesis proof of this. Sometimes it&#x27;s difficult to separate truth fromfiction, while listening to his lengthy speeches - which makes thelawyer&#x27;s task of defending him that much more difficult. In the endSpector&#x27;s pretensions are unmasked as he is literally brow-beaten intomaking an appearance in court: Mamet&#x27;s camera focuses unrelentingly onhis hands that shake uncontrollably as he listens to the evidencepresented against him. <br><br>As the lawyer, Mirren acts as a workmanlike foil to Pacino&#x27;s centralperformance. Although firmly convinced of her client&#x27;s innocence, shefinds it increasingly difficult to present a convincing case; the judgeand the prosecution seem hell-bent on frustrating her, as well as herclient. Nonetheless she shows admirable stoicism in pursuing her case.<br><br>In the end, however, PHIL SPECTOR is not really a courtroom drama, eventhough much of the action is set in and around the court-house. Ratherit concentrates on the double-edged nature of celebrity; when you&#x27;reriding high, no one can touch you, but when you&#x27;re down on your luck,everyone wants to kick you. This helps to explain Spector&#x27;s retreatinto a fantasy-world - at least no one can touch him there.

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Reviewed by lance-758-562232 10/10

Pacino delivers another epic performance absolutely nailing PhilSpector. Helen Mirren was great. David Mamet&#x27;s writing and dialog areabsolutely brilliant. <br><br>Now, I don&#x27;t know about the accuracy of the piece, but it is sopowerfully convincing, I could believe it to be the truth. Whether ornot was irrelevant to me as the film states upfront that it is notintended to be interpreted as an absolute representation of fact. Imean, the media is more propaganda than anything else, why would one&#x27;expect&#x27; gospel truth from a movie?<br><br>With the predominance of Shlock in today&#x27;s film world, I found this tobe highly entertaining, I was completely absorbed and thoroughlyenjoyed the ride it took me on.

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