TBT: Glengarry Glen Ross (James Foley, 1992)

A remarkably astute stage-to-screen adaptation, David Mamet’s self-adapted collaboration with director James Foley is a quintessential ’90s gem if only because of its performance-driven charisma. Set in and around a real estate agency that specializes in resort properties, the agents themselves are pitted against one another for the sake of securing their jobs and very livelihood. Intent on obtaining the titular Glengarry leads that promise imminent profitability, the individuals in question go to increasingly desperate and seedy lengths to one-up their competition.

Barring abortion-esque, cash-grabbing contemporary musicals, there’s something to be said about how competently translated some plays truly are. In the case of Glengarry Glen Ross, the film consciously compensates for its limited spacing in terms of setting via whip-smart and engaging dialogue. It’s crass, sure, however the vulgarity is assuredly warranted in the face of each man’s impending fate as a career professional. Functioning as personality-driven light switches, the key players – despite their obvious sole impetus – are unique and unpredictable enough to push past conflictual banality.

Having mentioned what I already have, there really isn’t much else to laud the film in question for. It’s appealingly steadfast by nature, involving as such and a longstanding model of the pitch-perfect stage-to-screen adaptation, however the proceedings aren’t particularly thick with substance. Unavoidable simplicity aside, Glengarry Glen Ross is a worthwhile piece of well-acted entertainment that thrives thanks to its character-driven and palpably attitudinal atmosphere.


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