Retired Lt. Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino), a blind, hard-drinking war veteran, pays timid college student Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) to accompany him on a weekend break in New York, where he plans to sample life’s luxuries over the Thanksgiving weekend.
However, the unworldly teenage escort is shocked to learn that at the end of their trip, his new friend plans to kill himself.
This lengthy melodrama is kept vibrantly alive and out of the clutches of sickly sentimentality by a towering Oscar-winning performance from Pacino, whether tangoing with Gabrielle Anwar, berating O’Donnell’s cowardly schoolmates or barking out his famous “hoo-ha” cough.
The last scene, where Frank has to defend Charlie against the school board, demonstrates exactly why Pacino got his Oscar for the role.
The movie is loosely based on a 1974 Italian film of the same name by Dino Risi.
Lt Col Frank Slade
George Willis Jr
Philip Seymour Hoffman