2003 – that’s the year Al Pacino last made a decent movie.
Since then, fans of Big Al have been forced to sit through 15 years of mediocre cop dramas, misfiring comedies and 88 Minutes – a strong contender for the worst film of all time.
But now Pacino looks to be back to something approaching his very best. He’s already teaming up with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese’s next movie, The Irish Man, but in the meantime he’s busy starring in HBO’s latest TV film Paterno.
The movie sees the 77-year-old take on the role of legendary Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno, one of two coaches accused of sexual misconduct by several former players
Directed by Barry Levinson, this true story drama is already shaping up to be an absorbing and, at times, difficult to watch affair with Pacino putting in an intense performance.
While the other coach at the centre of the incident, Jerry Sandusky, was eventually imprisoned on charges, Paterno passed away in 2012 at the age of 85 and before any real judgement could be passed.
His position and legacy among Penn State students and alumni alike is a divisive one.
Some are keen to dismiss any suggestion of wrongdoing, pointing instead to Paterno’s coaching record, while others see him as guilty and part of the institutional failure that allowed this abuse to happen in the first place.
Whatever the truth, the story behind the unfolding scandal, which was sparked by the discoveries of a 23-year-old journalist named Sara Ganim, is an intriguing one and could signal the start of a revival of sorts for Pacino.
Pacino has enjoyed some success on the small screen with HBO, away from the world of mainstream cinema.
He’s starred in a string of one-off dramas for the premium cable network, including Angels In America, You Don’t Know Jack and Phil Spector.
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.