People I Know (2002)
USA / English
"He thought he'd seen it all, until the night he saw too much
"A New York press agent must scramble when his major client becomes embroiled in a huge scandal.
Jon Robin Baitz, the writer of this film, needs to check his facts a little
more carefully. The story, as I perceived it, takes place in today's New
York with today's personalities of the moment.
At one point of the film when Eli Wurman, played by Al Pacino, is talking to
his widowed sister-in-law, Victoria Gray, and he asks her if she remembers
when they had marched in Selma? Helloooo Mr. Baitz, how old is Victoria
supposed to be? I made her out to be in her early 40s. Now, wouldn't that
have been a miracle? The only way she would have been around Selma at the
time of the march on that city would have been in the womb of her mother,
if that was so! Well, then again, I could be wrong, she really is in her
This film tries to do too many things; it goes in all directions without
making sense, most of the time. The idea of presenting the Eli Wurman of
Pacino, who was obviously gay, playing against a straight woman is
laughable. Even more ridiculous when the one making the passes is a
beautiful woman like Ms. Bassinger, in wild contrast with this washed out
Mr. Pacino might be a great actor. He has given us many interesting and
diverse characters that will be cherished by all his fans, but lately, he
has appeared in a series of duds that one wonders who is the person behind
his decisions, since many of his choices haven't added any substance to his
body of work.
This Eli Wurman, being compared to the Burt Lancaster's character in Sweet
Smell of Success by many critics, kept reminding me of the Clifton Webb's
tragic role in The Razor's Edge. This Eli has seen better days and no one
cares about him at all.
The subplot having to do with the cause Eli is working to promote racial
justice to people being deported, sounds empty and not true. It shows a side
to this character that deep down inside all he cared for in his life was
being at the right places, surrounded by the same celebrities he stooped to
How about the other aspect of the film about the rich, possible
would-be-sponsors of the cause, as libertines and swingers in an opium den
on a Wall Street club? Is that supposed to be a metaphor? Oh well, I guess
some of us, so out of touch with the powerful people of New York, will never
know what we are really missing in those "fun" places.