The sight of amputated spirit; there’s no prosthetic for that, roars Pacino in the climax of his Academy Award winning role of Colonel Frank Slade in The Scent of a Woman and leaves us teary eyed with admiration. A blind man, a has been, a spent force are the epithets that can be conferred on Slade. He is nobody, who has been somebody during his heydays. He lives in the shadows of his past and is dejected with whatever life has to offer. He is fishing for ways to end his life and wants to indulge in his guilty passions before he ends a decorated life with an act of cowardice-suicide.
Enter Charlie Simms (Chris O’ Donnel), a scholar who accepts to babysit the blind, cantankerous drunkard over the Thanksgiving weekend for earning a ticket to Oregon for Christmas. The film celebrates life and its queer ways of surprising us. The film endorses the never-say-die spirit of integrity through two losers who put every winner to shame. Every scene seems to be forged with performances of gold.
Philip Seymour Hoffman emerges as the personification of cunningness with brilliance. A rich spoilt brat comes to life through Hoffman’s histrionics. Charlie Simms and Al Pacino’s equation touches new heights in the intense scene where Pacino is geared up to shoot himself and Simms shouts Motherfucker! The Thanksgiving scene where we witness streaks of a Vintage Colonel Slade is another tear jerker. And then the climax that has gone down in the annals of Cinema as one of the most enduring climaxes ever, where Pacino walks over every living soul present. The Scent of a Woman is one of those rare cinematic gems that never fail to bring a smile on our lips and a tear in our eyes.
Well done Captain of The Ship, Martin Brest! Kudos!