Scent of a Woman, 1992

Al Pacino and the everything in background

From this moment onward, I am not going to review a film. That is too much task and no one reads it anyway. Instead, I will just jot down my thoughts regarding a film and these thoughts might reference other works of art or incidents etc. Basically, it will become more of a musing than strictly a review. Needless to say, there would be spoilers. Probably a lot.

So Scent of a woman. This was on my list for a while now. I like Al Pacino. He has this edge about him. His deliveries are so power packed that he leaves everything behind and comes forth on the screen. He appears more of a drama actor where a single spotlight covers his speeches.

Al Pacino plays a blind retired army officer. He is now dependent on his family and needs to be watched over. On a thanksgiving weekend, the family has to leave him in the care of Chris O’Donnell, a timid but strong willed gentleman. These two people are a class apart and their moments together change them both.

Al Pacino comes off as a very strong person who needs to constantly exude the air of control. He needs to make sure that others around him are on the edge, something that keeps him alive and kicking. Chris is more laid back. Non-compromising, and strong but laid back.

Al Pacino has this outward appearance of a strong guy who is on the edge of breaking. He wants to end his life after living a perfect day. He wants to dine at a perfect restaurant, drive a Ferrari, fuck a great woman and blow his brains out. From a societal standpoint, his views are strong and irrational, but I found myself identifying with him. He is the guy who embodies what Master Oogway says to Po in Kung Fu Panda.

The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift — that’s why they call it ‘the present’

He lives in the moment. The reason he is discharged from the army and the reason why he lost his eyesight is that he pulls of grenade pins in a drunken stupor. He just has no care of the world. Would you call him selfish? Arguably so. He has seen life. The wars have changed him. He knows the importance of living in the moment. Only a guy with tremendous confidence and charm can pull off the tango. According to me, it is one of the best scenes of the film.

His face talks so much. There is a confidence in there. There is the feeling of living it up. This is the guy who knows in his mind that he is going to blow his brains out. He gets to live this moment once. He cherishes it. Yet he makes her feel so special. She enjoys it very much. Her apprehensions fade and she opens up. He takes care of her. Showing all that as a blind man takes a lot of efforts and yet he makes it look like to effortless, so poetic. The audience is in the background looking at the pair with happiness and appreciation. Instead of more bombastic scenes, this scene is my memory.

Chris, on the other hand, is shy. He doesn’t open up. He is conflicted. He is not the kind who would compromise willingly. He has integrity, but he is just entering the real world. He is naive, he is an idealist. In Al Pacino’s company he changes. He is more steadfast by the end of the film. The film is successful because these two very different characters leave impressions on each other and you get the fuzzy feeling of having watched a great film.

I add very few movies on my re-watch list. I guess this one will go in there.

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