(Dan Fogelman, 2015)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: Al Pacino lights up late life crisis music drama Danny Collins - his song is true and inspired even if it's been sung many times before.
It's about time Al Pacino had a role as rich as he does here with Danny Collins. Playing a successful but emotionally downtrodden singer in late life crisis, Pacino shows us glimpses of his magnetic, charming and slightly unhinged leading man skill that landed him an Oscar back in the 90s for Scent of a Woman.
Thrusting himself into the role with energy seldom seen in the last decade, Pacino plays Collins like a Rod Stewart or Neil Diamond type - a once respected songwriter who capitalised on his mid-career success so much that people take him for granted as a showman and entertainer instead of as a musician.
When a letter penned by John Lennon urging him to stay true to his music appears some 40 years down the line too late, Collins finds himself longing for redemption. He reconnects with his long lost son, moves out of his mansion and into a hotel, attempts a genuine romance with a woman (nearly) his age (Annette Bening) and tries writing songs that mean something again.
Danny Collins has been done many times before - Crazy Heart, Begin Again, Tender Mercies all opted for a similar melody and had a darker, less sentimental edge. You can practically hum along to the plot similarities but that doesn't make it ineffective, just familiar and Pacino is an endearing frontman for the part. Give it a shot. This old dog has got plenty of life left.