The cult Al Pacino drama you must watch on Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)


The cult Al Pacino drama you must watch on Netflix

In Al Pacino’s illustrious career, marked by cinematic gems like The Godfather, Scarface, and Scent of a Woman, there’s one drama film quietly simmering on Netflix that demands attention: Glengarry Glen Ross. Nestled among Pacino’s iconic roles, this film stands out as a must-watch for anyone who has access to the streaming platform’s library.

Directed by James Foley and based on David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, Glengarry Glen Ross was initially deemed unfilmable. Yet Foley, collaborating closely with Mamet, cracked the code.

Fans of Aaron Sorkin and Amy Sherman-Palladino’s work may not understand this, but there was a time when characters speaking at the speed of a train was not considered the norm. The intricate web of dialogue, the palpable tension, and the raw emotions bubbling at the surface of Glengarry Glen Ross made it seem like it was destined only for the stage. Mamet drew inspiration for the story from his personal experience working in a 1970s real estate office, where he managed leads and paperwork while pursuing his career as a playwright. 

The film revolves around a cutthroat real estate office where four desperate men scramble to sell worthless resort properties in a contest to retain their jobs and salvage their self-respect. The ensemble included heavyweights like Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jack Lemmon, and Jonathan Pryce. Each character is a study in desperation as they navigate moral ambiguity and personal turmoil in their relentless pursuit of shady success.

Mamet’s razor-sharp dialogue cuts through the facade of professionalism, exposing the vulnerabilities and insecurities that lurk beneath the surface. Described to be fierce as well as funny, the film’s title itself is a nod to the fictional real estate developments the salesmen are trying to sell in the film: Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms. It’s a clever juxtaposition of the aspirational allure of the American Dream—the very same that has been declared dead already—with the harsh reality of its pursuit.

One of the film’s most memorable moments comes courtesy of Alec Baldwin, who delivers a blistering monologue in his brief but unforgettable appearance. His character’s pitiless attitude, as he keeps peddling the ABCs (Always Be Closing) mantra, serves as a stark reminder of the ridiculous nature of a cutthroat corporate world. The fact that the inspiration for this story originated in the 70s, which is nearly half a century away from where we sit now, goes to show that some things have just not changed for the better.

At the 49th Venice Film Festival, Lemmon was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. Pacino received nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. However, despite its critical acclaim and stellar performances, Glengarry Glen Ross struggled at the box office. 

Nonetheless, Glengarry Glen Ross remains a timeless exploration of ambition, morality, and unceasing corporate greed. So, if you’re in search of a riveting drama where a bunch of greedy men keep acting increasingly fatuous, look no further than Glengarry Glen Ross on Netflix and catch Baldwin’s iconic monologue here: