Sunday 19 April 2015

Danny Collins ... Out of tune

IT'S funny seeing Oscar-winner Al Pacino slumming it out in writer-director Dan Fogelman's Collins. You'd never in a million years imagine Pacino playing an elderly singer (think Neil Sedaka, although he also reminds me of France's Johnny Hallyday) with a raspy voice whose target audience comprises senior citizens swaying to his main hit from the 1970s.
   Actually, there's nothing interesting in seeing Pacino play the titular hero, a thrice-married alcoholic drug addict who's comfortable with his young fiancee having intercourse with another man on his bed.

    Sure, Pacino has a decent voice but the story arc showing him transforming from a self-centred egotistical prick to a saviour for his long-lost family is familiar. The movie ambles along, ticking off all the points it needs to make to help him find redemption for the excesses of his past.
   What triggers this change? He gets possession of a letter that was written to him from John Lennon in 1971. He decides to clean himself up, but what's the use of doing that alone if you can't impose your new-found temperance on your friends and family?
  Thus, the film concocts a plot about him wanting to make up with his now adult son (Bobby Canavale), who was conceived during a one-night stand. The son, naturally, has a a debilitating sickness and his daughter has ADHD.
   Viewers know that the son will initially reject all advances from the father, but the thick-skinned Danny perseveres and, eventually, the son's resistance melts and Danny's welcomed back into the family's embrace. Viewers can see this coming from miles away.
  They also know that Danny's road to redemption will hit a few speed bumps along the way.
  Pacino is game for this role but viewers will find it hard to accept him as an elderly singer. His character  has a nice "patter" with a hotel manager played by Annette Bening, and his relationship with his manager and best friend (Christopher Plummer) is interesting.

2 out of 5 stars

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