I call it Simone Effects.
It is the fantastic effects that Hollywood can use in order for you, the audience, to see anything they want you to see.
When you see a photo of a star walking out of a porn shop, it may actually be him walking out of his home and the shop is put in there later. When you see a woman in a film and she has flawless skin and a killer body, they may have add one beauty mark, digitally remove any acne or pock marks as well as slimed the stomach and the legs. And all of this is what “Simone” addresses, as well as it addresses the idea of live actors one day becoming an obsolete necessity.
Al Pacino stars as a struggling director, Viktor Teransky, who needs a starlet in order to re-ignite his career. After failing to meet the needs of the over-priced and high-maintenance actress, played by Winona Ryder, he hits rock bottom and gets no extension on his contract with the appropriately named, Amalgamated Films. This is appropriate because its new star, Simone (which is short for Simulation One) is an amalgamation of numerous actress that made it big over the years, including the flawless Audrey Hepburn.
Ripped straight from the magazine covers and model life she was living, Rachel Roberts was cast as the lead, Simone, who soon becomes the world’s biggest star and Teransky is the only person “allowed to see her.” She becomes the studio’s dream actress, as she requires no make-up or hair stylists, she has no problems with nudity and her rates remain consistent.
But what if the creator wants her to disappear? How easy is it to get rid of her? Teransky soon finds out that his creation may be his demise.
Al Pacino is refreshing. Coming from a 62-year actor that made his name with dramatic roles in “The Godfather,” “Serpico,” and “Scent of a Woman,” seeing him in this unlikely role is a special treat for anybody who has ever loved Pacino, and in this film, he is at his best.
The supporting cast, including Catherine Keener, Jay Mohr and Pruitt Taylor Vince, works perfectly with the leads, like they are all dancing together. You find yourself just waiting anxiously to see what is going to unravel next. Although some ideas become outlandish and go too far with the simulation story line, and although most scenes just touch on comedy without ever really making that extra drive, it is a well-worthwhile film.
If nothing else, you get to watch Pacino, a master at the acting craft, and Rachel Roberts seems to glimmer up there for the camera. And despite the tract record of past models turned actresses, Roberts actually does a relatively decent job at acting. But remember, what you see in film may not be what is really there. B.
Other suggestions with Al Pacino; Serpico, The Godfather, The Godfather II, Dog Day Afternoon, Scent of a Woman, The Insider, Heat, Author Author, Revolution, Carlito’s Way, Scarface.
Suggestions with Catherine Keener; Being John Malkovich, Lovely and Amazing, Your Friends and Neighbors, Death to Smoochy.