People I Know

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People I Know
People i know ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Daniel Algrant
Produced by Michael Nozik
Written by Jon Robin Baitz
Starring Al Pacino
Kim Basinger
Ryan O'Neal
Téa Leoni
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Peter Deming
Edited by Suzy Elmiger
Myriad Pictures
South Fork Pictures
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • October 11, 2002 (2002-10-11)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $5,484,302[1][2]

People I Know is a 2002 crime drama film directed by Daniel Algrant and stars Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, and Téa Leoni. The film received mixed reviews.


Eli Wurman (Al Pacino) is a Jewish publicist on the out, but all he knows is how to hustle and cajole, threaten and persuade. The hazy mania of his everyday life is fuelled by a steady stream of prescription drugs and alcohol.

One night, Eli's last remaining "big client" Cary Launer (Ryan O'Neal) – an actor considering a campaign for political office – entreats Eli to take care of his latest publicity mess, a dangerous liaison with Jilli Hopper (Téa Leoni), a hard-shelled, quick-tongued television actress with a soft centre and a taste for illegal drugs. The actress takes Eli to a drug-and-sex den, a playground for the rich and famous, where she claims to be looking for a toy.

Jilli is escorted off the premises by security. As she demands to know "Where is my toy?", she finds it and tells the guards, "I got all of you now." Eli is too stoned to understand the exchange.

Eli takes her back to the hotel room, where he takes more pills and passes out right after witnessing what appears to be the actress's murder. In his opiate daze, he cannot be sure. By the next morning, the memory is buried. Eli needs to pull together a charity benefit. He also is tempted to leave New York for good with his former sister-in-law, Victoria. But his work is interrupted by the police who question him and by acquaintances trying to ascertain how much Eli has seen and recalls. Eli finally realizes he is involved in something politically dangerous, and powerful forces are at play to keep his mouth shut.

As he strives to bring together the people he knows – members of the Black and Jewish communities, film stars and media – for the grand fundraiser, Eli's life is in grave danger.



People I Know was filmed in New York City (especially the World Trade Center) around early 2001. It was originally going to be released on late 2001, following 9/11, the film was delayed until early 2003. In the film, the shots of the World Trade Center were removed before its release, but they can be found on the DVD or YouTube.


The film received mixed reviews.[3] On Rotten Tomatoes it was given a rating of 43%, making it "rotten." The consensus was that the plot is derivative and incoherent, and that it does not engage the viewer. Empire gave a largely positive review, awarding four stars out of five, noting: "May be a slow-burn, but despite its lack of success elsewhere, it’s still more than worthy of its long-delayed cinema release. Discerning audiences willing to invest in the characters will soon warm to the downbeat story and Al Pacino’s subdued performance – especially the scenes he shares with Basinger."[4] BBC called it an "intriguing but deeply flawed thriller."[5] Time Out's review observed: "With its uncertainties of tone, this is a mess, full of misplaced performances (not least Basinger as Eli's supportive sister-in-law), misfires and moral inconsistencies. But its rebellious spirit is commendable."[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "People I Know - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  4. ^ Hughes, David. "People I Know". Empire. Retrieved September 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ Russell, Jamie (February 4, 2004). "People I Know (2004)". BBC. Retrieved September 23, 2015. 
  6. ^ Luke, Derek. "People I Know, directed by David Algrant". Time Out. Retrieved September 23, 2015. 

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