"Stand-Up Guys": Walken and Pacino's Excellent Chemistry

Right out of the gate (dig that opening title font!), it's clear that director Fisher Stevens wants Stand Up Guys to evoke crime films of the 1970s, particularly the "aging hoods contemplate their mortality" genre exemplified by The Friends of Eddie Coyle. And in spite of the distractingly crisp and grain-free digital cinematography, he succeeds by focusing less on plot and incident and more on studying the main characters, Val (Al Pacino) and Doc (Christopher Walken). Val has just been released from a long stretch in prison, and his old compatriot Doc is under orders from boss Claphands (the always-welcome Mark Margolis) to kill Val by the next morning. They have a few adventures during the course of the long night, including picking up their third partner Hirsch (Alan Arkin) for a joyride in a stolen car, but the focus always returns to Pacino and Walken's relationship. Surprisingly, this is their first time starring together; their only other shared film was when their cameos weirded up the joint in Gigli. Pacino and Walken's chemistry is even stronger than you might expect, enough make to you hope that they make more movies together — though it might be just as well if they don't, since they got it right this time.

 
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