Okay, Pacino really slays as Phil Spector

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      Phil Spector with an oversized afro just made most of us laugh. But David Mamet, evidently, was inspired to write a film about it when pictures of the befuddled looking record producer emerged from his first murder trial in 2007. That wig provides Mamet with a key moment in his movie, which finally arrives on HBO on Sunday (March 24) with a wall of buzz behind it.

      But wait—Phil Spector is not what you think. Beginning with a title card that states, "This is a work of fiction. It’s not ‘based on a true story...,'" Mamet’s film allows the writer-director to riff all over the place on the growing interference between myth, perception, and reality—a hot zone that goes off the scale at a celebrity murder trial.

      Mamet imbues his version of Spector with more humanity than most of his real life acquaintances would allow; a point he demonstrates a number of times as Spector’s defense team tries vainly to gather positive testimony from his colleagues.

      And while Phil Spector depicts the fallen mogul as paranoid, tempestuous, and megalomaniacal—a rant about Sidney Poitier at one point is definitely a keeper—he’s also a rational creature in his own off-planet way, even wise at times, not to mention witty and dashing enough to persuade his reluctant attorney, Linda Kenney Baden (Helen Mirren), to eventually shrug off her own biases against him. Hell, he might even be innocent.

      You could complain that Mamet is asking to have it both ways when he creates his own parallel universe to query the elusive nature of truth, and he probably didn’t need to bash us over the head with all that 'Back to Mono' symbolism. Fortunately, Al Pacino’s ferocious performance in the title role—and I really must apologize for the cheap shot I took at the veteran actor here—is more than enough to compensate for this, and the oddly weightless, ultimately puzzling effect of Mamet’s curiosity piece.

      Phil Spector premieres on HBO, on Sunday (March 24) at 9 p.m.





      Mar 21, 2013 at 9:13pm

      So,out of curiosity...why DID you take the cheap shot at Pacino in the first place?

      Adrian Mack

      Mar 22, 2013 at 9:56am

      coz I'm a dink

      James Trivers

      Mar 24, 2013 at 12:49pm

      The movie to see which protrays what happened at the mansion that night is a wonderful black comedy entitled "Phil Spector Incident: I Think I Just Shot Her" it stars Solomon King and Monica Lee. This hot indie flick is a mirror to our celebrity obsessed culture. It informs the viewer not only about them but about us. Unlike the Mamet movie, this film is neither pro-Phil or pro-Lana, it will offend everybody! Why wait until tonight you can stream it now at www.philspectorincident.com


      Apr 2, 2013 at 12:53pm

      Something even freakier about Phil Spector than his hair, is his attempt to mimic John Lennon's voice:
      He also boasted his hit River Deep – Mountain High(admittedly a great song) reached #1 in Britain but according to Wikipedia it reached #3.