David Gordon Green is known for his reserved naturalism; his films "George Washington" and "All the Real Girls" feature quiet, understated performances and storylines. But he's also the director of the Seth Rogen and James Franco stoner action comedy "Pineapple Express," so it's hard to pigeon hole him as a pretentious auteur.
His latest movie to hit Blu-ray, "Manglehorn" is fascinating composite of expressionistic filmmaking, magical realism, strong performances and hilarious, but never in-your-face, comedy.
The legendary Al Pacino plays the part of A.J. Manglehorn, a small town Texan locksmith with rage issues and a bit of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Unobtrusively keeping to his schedule, Manglehorn is quietly pining over a woman whose presence in his life is long gone. Now he is unable to connect with the people around him, and invests all of his love (and resources) into his beloved pet cat.
It's not that Manglehorn suffers from a lack of people in his life; his foul temper concertedly drives people away. Even though the man's son (Chris Messina) has a thick skin, Manglehorn is able to push his buttons by comparing him against an old classmate turned pimp and drug dealer (Harmony Korine). There is one person, a generous and kindly bank teller (Holly Hunter) who is able to make Manglehorn feel a little less angry. But his inability to let go of the past may destroy even that relationship.
Of course this film is filled with subtle, sophisticated performances - one would expect no less from this cast, but with a flamboyant color palate, strange super impositions and an obtrusive stylization, "Manglehorn" is hardly a mere "actor's movie." The film is also leaden with enormous rambling monologues where characters narrate almost every moment of their lives. It's a complexly intricate art film, but one well worth prying into.