The Phil Spector in the HBO film, Phil Spector (2013), written and directed by David Mamet, is probably not guilty of even second-degree murder. Mamet, indeed, has clearly conveyed that his film is NOT “based on a true story”—period. Spector here is a rich, drugged-out freak whom people want to be undisciplined enough to have taken the life of the hapless Lana Clarkson. Mamet produces the implication that a society in which Ted Kennedy can get away with causing the drowning death of a young woman is just as easily one in which an offensive but innocent-of-murder eccentric can get hanged.
As ever, the artist’s dialogue impresses. It’s intelligent and so is the direction. Phil Spector is a good movie and Al Pacino, as Spector, is a great actor. A remarkable Helen Mirren plays the record producer’s defense attorney, giving the character saltiness and smarts.