One of my favourite films of all time is The Godfather and it is strange to think that legendary actor Al Pacino was almost not cast as the intimidating Michael Corleone – a role that propelled him into superstardom. So when fellow film critic and writer Mark Searby asked me to read his book, Al Pacino – The Movies Behind The Man, I was intrigued.
I have to admit, I’ve not seen many films with Pacino in it. Not counting the classics such as The Godfather, Scarface, The Scent of a Woman and Heat, the idea of watching Jack & Jill has never appealed to me. But one thing I have learned is that during his 48-year long career, Pacino has never been afraid to step up to the challenge of delivering a memorable performance, both on film and TV.
Searby’s book provides an in-depth analysis of Pacino’s works, with each chapter dedicated to a film or TV series. The inclusion of pre-production events, studio disagreements and the box office performance of each film is followed by a short review that looks into not only Pacino’s performance, as well as a corresponding interview from cast and crew who worked with him.
Searby manages to include a lot of detail in each chapter to offer a comprehensive look into Pacino’s filmography. The small bits of trivia, such as his responses to questionable screenplays and the challenges he faced to prepare himself for difficult roles, prevent this from being a book becoming a biography. Instead, I found myself learning more about the actor himself and his tumultuous career. Like with DVDs and Blu-Rays, the respective interviews (50 in total) are a great way to bookend each chapter, as each provides the insightful, behind-the-scenes perspective that avid film fans look out for.
While an interview or a personal account to the man behind the actor would have been great, the inclusion of lesser-known works such as Angels in America and Ocean’s Thirteen helps balance out the book so it doesn’t solely focus on Pacino’s memorable roles. Overall, Searby’s book offers an interesting yet comprehensive look into Pacino’s films, and is sure to appeal to fans of the actor.
Overall, Searby’s book offers an interesting yet meticulous look into Pacino’s films and is sure to appeal to fans of the actor.
Thanks for reading.