Danny Collins, Film Review. Picturehouse@F.A.C.T., Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10

Cast: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Garner, Josh Peck, Melissa Benoist, Nick Offerman, Aarti Mann, Katrina Cas, Anne McDaniels, Brian Smith, Eric Lange, Giselle Eisenberg, Michael Patrick McGill, Scott Lawrence, Eric Michael Roy.

Every actor has one film in them which the plaudits and the cinema goer attaches great stock and faith in, some have more than one. For Al Pacino, they seem to have come with never ending force and for even those who might not see the appeal of his film career over say Robert de Niro or Jack Nicholson, they have to concede that the man is adored the world over.

In Danny Collins though that singular truth that many have held onto as if it was their last ten pounds in the world, is very much in evidence as he plays quite possibly the most ingenious part of his life; the ageing rock star, the man who cannot escape the trappings of the world he has made and for whom consuming has had the ultimate effect of consuming him.

Danny Collins is a man whose life to the outside world, a parade of beautiful women, hedonism personified with drugs, drink and adoration all at his beck and call and yet he knows deep down his life is a failure, his fans have gotten as old he is and the pastiche is ready for lampooning. Dying his hair, wearing a girdle to keep the body in a shape resembling his younger years and with a fiancée who doesn’t come under the age appropriate banner, Danny Collins is a mess, in more ways than one.

The film plays with the idea of ageing very well and with a cast that includes the terrific Christopher Plummer and a very forthright Jennifer Garner, it is one that gives more to an audience than was possibly reckoned with when the story of the Liverpool man who received a letter from John Lennon some forty years too late, first came to light.

The Rock star it seems is never allowed to grow up or grow old with grace, any change in direction is sneered at and with a huge dig at those who allow their name to continue to be attached to the perennial greatest hits albums, not just once in a career but several times over, the film really makes the most of seeing a jaded singer fall to his knees but also seek redemption in the eyes of those that he left behind.

There will always be those who point to the past and suggest that an actor’s or artist’s work has never been better than when they first started out and who call with the eagerness of the selfish to have the old hits always played out without never bothering to hear the progression of a mind move on, yet as in the film, life is not about what has been, but what could be. In Danny Collins, the future is open for Al Pacino, for he may have finally even won over the most critical of the cinema going public with this great film.

A film of intense charm, Al Pacino has never been better.

Ian D. Hall