Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Week 22: Danny Collins

Director: Dan Fogelman
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Seen: Saturday 30th May
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Peaches
Mood: Easy 

Danny Collins is the familiar tale of an aging famous/rich individual, in this case a rock star, who realises that the lifestyle he has been leading is missing purpose. There is usually an episode or an epiphany to make them want to change, in The Bucket List (2007) Jack Nicholson gets terminally ill, and in Danny Collins he receives a post-dated letter from John Lennon. Strange as the premise might seem it is actually loosely based on a true event.

The letter which was initially sent to him at the beginning of Collins’ career in the 1970’s (basically when he had not ‘sold out’ yet) but it never got to him and he lived the stereotypical rock star lifestyle (drugs, alcohol, wife’s, divorces, cheesy songs - you get the picture) for over 30 years without knowing it existed. Fortuitously his manager Frank Grubman, played by the always decent Christopher Plummer, discovers it and gives it to Collins as a birthday gift in 2014. The letter spurs the aging Collins, who is somewhat disillusioned by his lifestyle anyway, to make a few changes. So he begins on a reflective journey to rediscover his family and possibly rediscover who he once was himself.

There is a worthy cast in this film, Bobby Cannavale plays Collins estranged son with confidence and subtly, Annette Bening plays a possible love interest for Collins with charm and real presence. The lead of course is Mr. Al Pacino, so many have claimed that Pacino has taken an artistic nose dive in the last couple of decades and although there might be some merit to those claims with films such as Righteous Kill (2008) and Jack and Jill (2011). For me though it always pleasurable to watch the great man in action and I am glad to say this is a strong performance. Pacino plays the title character with a calmness that reflects both the character he plays and arguably also the actor. Danny Collins might not be the most memorable film but it is a nice easy film to watch, due mainly to the acting/casting. Oh, and the John Lennon songs throughout is a really nice touch.

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