People I Know

Weary thriller starring Al Pacino as ageing PR man

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Set in a gloomy, Gotham-esque New York, People I Know depicts a day in the life of Eli Wurman, a veteran of the publicity game whose saggy eyes, low-level drug habit and distressed vocal cords suggest a man who hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in years. Down on his career luck, Wurman still finds time to organise a benefit do for wrongly imprisoned African immigrants. However, it’s when his last remaining client, Cary Launer (Ryan O’ Neal), asks him discreetly to bail out his girlfriend who’s in jail on drugs charges that he finds himself suddenly mired in sleaze and intrigue, and has to summon all his reserves of guile from decades in the PR game.

Notable for a scene involving the Twin Towers perceived through a drugs haze, hastily excised following 9/11, People I Know is otherwise unexceptional. Although ambitious and ruminative, it crams too much into its 24-hour time scale?politics, tawdry celebrity, intrigue, romance?leaving you feeling as beleaguered and disoriented as Pacino’s character himself.

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