Takes No Prisoners;
An Unrivaled God Complex;
Exposed to the World.
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Al Pacino was made for this role. Reuniting with Barry Levinson and HBO after working together on You Don’t Know Jack, Pacino is the pitch perfect choice to play the aging Joe Paterno in his final months, as a child sexual abuse scandal rocked and radically changed the face of Penn State University. The film is careful not to paint him in a sympathetic light, but doesn’t necessarily outright attack him either. Pacino does well to show an old man who is either unsure of what he knew or didn’t know, or too confused to remember the details. But as the story winds down, I think he begins to realize just how culpable he was in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. It’s too bad the student and local population were too consumed rampant hero-worship to see that it was never about JoePa, but the multiple children victimized and the ensuing cover-up. And all the while, Paterno was so focused on his own football legacy that he either ignored the victims, attempted to silence them, or aided in the cover-up. Who is going to argue with their God? Not Nittany Lions fans, unfortunately. Levinson achieves a good balance, aided by Ron Patane’s editing and a taut, effective score by Evgueni and Sacha Galperine. I highly recommend giving this your time!