Starring: Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, James Rebhorn
Director: Martin Brest
Running Time: 156 mins
Scent Of A Woman is an American film about a high school teenager who takes a weekend job over Thanksgiving looking after a blind man. However, once the man reveals he has plans for the holiday, the boy discovers that it’s not going to be an average Thanksgiving.
There are two main components that make this film so intriguing and engaging. Firstly, it’s got a great story, one with unpredictability, a fantastic central relationship, and a feel to it like a dramatic version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. However, that’s nowhere near as strong as the most impressive part of this film, which is solely Al Pacino’s central performance.
Pacino is a legendary actor, and has put in some incredible roles with a range of characters, from the brutal to the insane, from the funny to the serious, but this is surely his best. Of course, playing a blind man so convincingly is a big reason as to why it’s so impressive, but the character beneath that is so much better.
Being an ex-army officer, he’s got the brutal and scary persona that Pacino can really pull off well, and he does so here too, however it’s the fact that you can see his softer side so clearly along with that aggressive nature that is really intriguing. His excitement for his trip, his clear affection for his ‘aid’, and his talent for smelling women’s fragrances so faultlessly show something that you would never expect from a man such as this, and it’s that nature that makes him such a focal, intriguing and ingenious man to watch.
Away from that performance, you’ve got the fantastic story. Of course, without Pacino, I’m sure it would have been nowhere near as strong or intriguing, but its premise is both a lot of fun and hugely fascinating.
On the one hand, as I said, it feels a little bit like a dramatic version of Ferris Bueller. The story revolves around the two travelling to New York City for the weekend, and while it’s not a race against time to get back before anyone notices, it’s got a real atmosphere of adventure and wonder to it, especially in the eyes of the teenager, experiencing this all for the first time.
However, the main underlying plot is the more unpredictable and dark side to it. There’s a big reveal some way into the story that changes everything about the story, and suddenly makes it a very tense and dark viewing experience, however that’s even more fascinating.
Overall, this gets an 8.3, because it has a very intriguing story, but is perfectly rounded off by Al Pacino’s stunning performance.