Hid­den heart in ‘Man­gle­horn’ Pa­cino plays a loner

Los Angeles Times - - MOVIES - — Michael Recht­shaf­fen

Al Pa­cino fol­lows up his re­cent, nicely tuned turn in “Danny Collins” with another sen­si­tively rooted per­for­mance, play­ing a lonely lock­smith with a tam­per-proof heart in di­rec­tor David Gor­don Green’s “Man­gle­horn.”

In the ten­derly ob­served char­ac­ter study, Pa­cino’s A.J. Man­gle­horn is a small-town Texas busi­ness pro­pri­etor liv­ing in a cramped, ne­glected house with his con­sti­pated cat.

Given to fits of rage, he’s too fix­ated on the long-lost love of his life to demon­strate any feel­ings for those who cur­rently care about him, like his semi-es­tranged son (Chris Messina) and a sweet, soli­tary bank teller (Holly Hunter).

There’s a lovely, aching un­der­state­ment to the act­ing, while Green im­bues Paul Lo­gan’s script with idio­syn­cratic im­agery that runs the gamut from a clus­ter of bees nest­ing be­neath a mail­box to graphic vet­eri­nary surgery se­quences.

Though oc­ca­sion­ally dis­tract­ing, the quirky vis­ual po­etry even­tu­ally works its magic, paving the way for an un­ex­pected fi­nal act that cracks open a long-shut­tered door on the life of a man who was, in his own words, “los­ing hope in to­mor­row.”

“Man­gle­horn.” MPAA rat­ing: PG-13 on ap­peal for sex­ual con­tent, lan­guage, ac­ci­dent and surgery im­ages. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 37 min­utes. Play­ing: Sun­dance Sunset, Los An­ge­les.

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