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People I Know (2004)

Al Pacino , Téa Leoni , Daniel Algrant  |  R |  DVD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Al Pacino, Téa Leoni, Ryan O'Neal, Kim Basinger, Richard Schiff
  • Directors: Daniel Algrant
  • Writers: Jon Robin Baitz
  • Producers: Karen Tenkhoff, Kirk D'Amico, Leslie Urdang, Michael Nozik, Nellie Nugiel
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: July 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001XAPWY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,560 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "People I Know" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award(R) winners Al Pacino (Best Actor, SCENT OF A WOMAN, 1992) and Kim Basinger (Best Supporting Actress, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, 1997) bring the star power to this powerful and provocative thriller! For old-school public relations kingpin Eli Wurman (Pacino), there's never been a crisis he couldn't fix or a scandal he couldn't handle – until now! When Eli's best client (Ryan O'Neal -- MALIBU'S MOST WANTED) and his starlet girlfriend (Téa Leoni -- HOLLYWOOD ENDING) become tangled in a particularly messy situation, Eli ends up seeing more than he's supposed to. Now, the man who made it his business to know everything suddenly knows too much! With an unforgettable performance critics are calling one of Al Pacino's best, you won't want to miss a minute of this gripping motion picture.

Al Pacino shambles about in pure weary Late Pacino form in People I Know, a 1970s-style paranoid number with a political tinge to it. Pacino plays an old-school publicist, once a friend to Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, who's now down to his last big client, a vaguely dangerous movie star (nice turn by Ryan O'Neal). As Pacino tries to keep his client's indiscretions out of the papers, he's dragged into an intriguing drugs-murder-politics conspiracy. There are juicy possibilities in Jon Robin Baitz's script, and with a topnotch director and a little more oomph they might have blossomed. As it is, despite a couple of nifty gotchas, the movie never quite gets into full stride. Tea Leoni shines as an addicted actress with a flinty vocabulary, but Kim Basinger is less lucky with her plot-device role. Pacino looks as though he's about to draw his last breath in every shot, which is precisely how he should look. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, not bad... December 30, 2004
By wadrad
Wow... was quite surprised by the low marks for this film that everyone else gave. I'd give it a 3.5, except I rounded down (I usually round up, so I had to eventually balance it out a bit). Besides his variable southern accent, I thought Pacino turned in a fine performance (though appearing to be half asleep throughout the movie, not unlike "Insomnia"). Plot was interesting enough (I know... "what plot?") given the feel of the characters portrayed in the story. Definitely not territory that hasn't been trodden on before (the seedy codependent ménage à trois between politics, wealth, and the media), but I did like the overall appearance and mood of the film.

Yes, it was hokey in places... formulaic in places... but I've surely seen a lot worse flicks that had full studio backing and LOTS of wasted theater time, when this thing was practically a "straight-to-video" release. Not sure of the logic there...

And some of you folks who slammed this probably thought "Sleepless in Seattle" and "City of Angels" were touching, moving, cinematographic pieces of art, eh?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This 2002 film stars Al Pacino. Yes, that's right, All Pacino. Then how come I never heard about it until I saw a trailer on a DVD I recently rented? How come it didn't last in the theaters? I don't have an answer to that because I believe that if it had the right publicity it might have done better in the box office department.

Talking about publicity, it seems ironic but this is what the film is about. Al Pacino is cast as Eli Wurman, an aging New York publicist who is planning a fundraiser. It's for the kind of cause, however, that has seen its glory in the 1960s, and the cause seems old and tired, as does Eli. With the skill of a good makeup artist, Pacino looks dissipated. He has sagging jowls and dark bags under his eyes. But his voice is strong and, in spite of the fact that the character he portrays is constantly popping tremendous amounts of prescription drugs, his strong personality comes through. There's a frantic pace about this film, which includes politics, drugs and questionable ethics.

Kim Bassinger plays his sister-in-law who gives him a chance at another way of life. Tea Leoni plays a high-priced model who's hooked on every kind of drug imaginable and who's the girlfriend of a politician. Then there are the real life newscasters and personalities who all make their entrance to give the film it's gritty reality, such as former NY City Police chief William Bratton, TV host Regis Philbin, critic Rex Reed and newscaster Pat Kiernan to name just a few.

I liked the New York scene the film portrayed. I thought the acting was wonderful, especially Pacino. The story was fast-paced and held my interest. And I felt some real emotion for Pacino's character. Recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Incisive Moments, but Mostly Meandering. August 5, 2004
Eli Wurman (Al Pacino) is a down-and-out New York publicist whose career has seen better days. Once the friend and confidant of the entertainment elite, he has only one remaining A-list client, playboy movie star Cary Launer (Ryan O'Neal). Undaunted in his support of humanitarian causes, Eli insists that Cary speak at a charity benefit that he is organizing when Cary asks him to do some dirty work -bail a girlfriend out of jail. After bailing Jilly (Tea Leoni) out, Eli reluctantly takes her to look for an important item that she has lost. The next day, while frantically trying to organize his charity benefit, a drug-addled Eli tries to piece together what he saw the night before and what it might mean.

"People I Know" is a hybrid political thriller and character study. As a political thriller it's interesting, but not thrilling enough. It spares no one in its revelation of the hypocrisy and abuse of power behind a New York Senate race. The indictment of the city's most prominent citizens, although obviously unrealistic, is unsettling enough to be interesting. The film's best scenes feature Richard Schiff being ruthless as eminent businessman Elliot Sharansky. Al Pacino's Eli Wurman doesn't fare so well. The film takes place over a period of only about 26 hours, during which Eli is unraveling, both emotionally and physically, all while organizing a benefit and getting caught up in political intrigues beyond his control. I wish the film had the urgency that the situation implies. Eli still has a salesman's pitch, but is drug-dependent and only intermittently lucid. This doesn't really work. It makes him difficult to watch and only passively involved in what's going on. It doesn't help that Pacino's Georgian accent is as inconsistent as his character's thought processes.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Whom The Bell Tolls April 18, 2005
By fCh
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The biggest accomplishment of "People I Know" is in capturing the crisis of the leftist/progressive movement in the US. It shows us how little it means anymore the principled against the option of a (political) career. The political left, by and large, has been institutionalized around few names and causes relevant today as name-dropping/historical material--see all references, spoken or visual, to the past scattered throughout the film.

Eli Wurman, Pacino's character, is a relic of a time past who still leverages a reputation, a decreasing circle of friends, and a Harvard law degree, to defend the weak--in today's version, the post-9/11 illegal immigrants. The problem, we find, is that people, at best, find his events as opportunities to advance their agendas rather than move towards a common goal. Wurman is spent, slow to come to terms with the 'new realities,' a cunning and quixotic mix of individual who ponders getting the job done with doing the right thing; interesting tensions, portrayed well by Pacino. Donnie Brasco comes to mind as another film-role where Pacino's character is weathered down.

Pacino's acting is just shy of excellent, while the supporting roles are inconsistent. Somehow, Kim Bassinger doesn't seem to fit the story very well; casting vs. screenplay problem. From the commentary option, we learn lots of tidbits, and about something that has come to plague lots of recent films: this film was turned rather quickly, without (enough) attention to details of interpretation or making. Such an approach is probably what leaves the attentive viewer with the feeling of everything goes or impromptu. Even actors such as Pacino and Bassinger cannot salvage such a production.

All in all, this is a great and timely portrayal of a tired activist movement--a must see for the aware citizen. As well, the viewer may do well by ignoring the racial apropos of some reviewers here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Pacino Delivers
Relentlessly downbeat character study of a burned out New York publicist to the famous and infamous starring Al Pacino in the title role. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Polo Grande
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE THIS MOVIE...
I liked this movie very much, like all the movies Al Pacino has made! He is one of my favorite actors.
Published 17 months ago by M. C. Perez
3.0 out of 5 stars MODEST
Published 19 months ago by Curtis McCutcheon
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Pacino. Great job.
Always love Pacino. And never find an exception. It's his another master piece which proves him again he is one of the greatest actor Ever.
Published 20 months ago by T He
5.0 out of 5 stars Washed out public relations executive thriller
What a great cast of actors: Al Pacino (who plays public relations executive Eli), Tea Leoni, Ryan O'Neill and Kim Basinger. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Not good.. Not bad.. Regular drama.. Is not Al Pacino best performance
I will be short, this is movie is about drugs and knowing people. Al Pacino is a great actor. There are only like three lines in this movie: 1) Come to the palms 2) Blackout 3)... Read more
Published on January 28, 2011 by E. O. Pages
3.0 out of 5 stars Same movie under a different title
This flick was released under a different title, so it remains a sealed item, in my collection of his work.
Published on February 15, 2008 by Vox
4.0 out of 5 stars Aging alone is sad for an actor
This film is about a period that has come to an end, a complete end, before the earthquake, mudslide and volcanic eruption known as the Twin Tower Terrorist Attack or 9/11 for... Read more
Published on November 7, 2007 by Jacques COULARDEAU
2.0 out of 5 stars Kind of a silly movie
It's sunday afternoon and I'm hungover. This was just on IFC. Or Sundance. I won't get into why I think this movie is silly or bland to the point of being boring. Read more
Published on August 5, 2007 by Bradley P. Valentine
3.0 out of 5 stars It's the thought that counts
Upfront-This isn't Al Pacino's best ever role...indeed,it isn't even one of his best...The film,while choppy and toiling under a few plotline holes,nonetheless DOES have something... Read more
Published on February 23, 2007 by Charles H. Levenson
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