Solitary Man is a Michael Douglas tour de force. He completely dominates this movie. No one else can do does such a gleefully spot-on depiction of the charming evil alpha-male.
Ben Kalmen (Douglas) used to be one of the best-known businessmen in the Greater New York area, famous for his string of BMW dealerships and ubiquitous television commercials. But he bent the rules and got into trouble. Now he’s trying to claw his way back up the ladder.
Ben is not, to put it mildly, the most reliable guy in the world. You shouldn’t buy a car from him, and you definitely shouldn’t marry him, but he would be fun to hang out with if you were careful. In fact you might learn quite a lot from him, at some risk to your immortal soul.
Unfortunately he is not quite as quick on his feet as he used to be, and the consequences of a life lived close to the edge are starting to catch up to him.
This is a splendid and believable portrayal of a certain type of individual. Unfortunately they partially spoil it for me at the end with a too-pat explanation for his behavior and a too-pat upbeat ending. Even here though I can rationalize it by remembering that we really only have Ben’s word for the explanation, and he is very, very good at telling people what they need to hear.