Although it’s a departure from the characters of power Al Pacino portrayed in the Godfather and Devil’s Advocate, Danny Collins had more depth than either of the demons portrayed in those two disparate worlds of absolute power and absolute corruption.
In his latest role, Pacino as Danny had to face his demons arising from a life of wealth and fame. He sang them away, or attempted to, at any rate. If you can imagine Al Pacino singing, you’ve got a better imagination than mine. That was a big reason I was compelled to see this production in the first place.
At the onset of the movie I nearly cried—with desperation. I hadn’t wanted to step into the movie with any preconceptions, so I’d avoided trailers like the plague. The opening scene has Danny approaching the stage bursting with power and charisma. The crowd is on fire. Sporting a complicated pompadour with a hint of poodle and mullet touched up at the makeup table moments before, Danny flings the striped silk scarf around his neck and grabs the mic from the stand.
The ghosts of Tin Pan Alley possess Danny, issuing flamboyant strains of his most popular song, appealing to that superfluous pop mentality that floats on the surface of consciousness.
Mercifully, the next scene grabs us, throwing us into a flashback where a much younger Danny’s being interviewed by a fan mag. The interviewer raves about the lyrical depths of Collins’s debut album, likening him to Dylan and Lennon. The album collected accolades and rave reviews. Danny was getting notice, but not sales. The star-making machinery caught up Collins and molded him into what he would become for the next three decades—a star. In other words, wildly popular and desperately unhappy.
He hated every minute he had to spend onstage exploiting himself, striving for unconsciousness and achieving vapidity. I stopped crying. Even as I bled for him, Danny made me happy. This joy continued to fill my heart as the surprise plot twist took center stage to take Danny back to his depth.
This is not a spoiler. I’m taking pains to ensure this, because I sincerely want you to have the opportunity to experience what I did–or what you need to. — Now, take some time over the next week to see the movie. Ponder what you discover about Danny and yourself and let me know what you think.
My next post will include a surprise twist that happened for me after seeing the movie and digging a little deeper.
If you dare, following is a Danny Collins trailer