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.

David Mamet at the premiere of Red Belt at the...

David Mamet at the premiere of Red Belt at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)