Levinson has something else in mind, but unlike Pacino, he doesn’t have a guide like Gerwig.
Levinson, truly and of course unknowingly, is digging his own grave. In the sense, that the major asset, the core theme, itself is obliged to corner itself out. The director, Barry Levinson is going in a new direction for sure. But this film about delusions fails to stage the theme productively. Primarily, there is no arc in the visions that he, Al Pacino does or doesn’t have. There is no rhythm to tap on or to chase some loose end of the thread. Another issue is the hope that comes as a baggage while executing such a tricky plan. The audience is always at the brisk of their decisions waiting to run, leap or break into any bait given by the makers.
And that is some pressure to have while you are figuring out a way to peel off drama with these characters at this stage who are already numbed out, to be shook by any amount of intensity. Turn it to 11? Try more like 19. And now that I think about it, the film was never fiddling with some sensitive issue, I mean of course in terms of the genre. It was often derived from average films, so even if they’d nailed it on the mark, it was never going to out of the park.
Ergo, you start expecting to see some good performances. The film now relies upon it. Pacino at his age still oozes that sexiness that made him what he is. Broken and drunk, he overpowers Greta Gerwig with a more steady walk on the battlefield. Gerwig on the other hand, is left empty handed. There are scenarios where she is given props or avant-garde directions to flaunt her skills, but with a “supporting” tag, she is never in charge of The Humbling stage. P.S. finally someone who knocks like I do.