Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Best Actor 1989: Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July

Tom Cruise received his first nomination for playing Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July. Kovic is at first gungho to join the marines, then he is injured and wheel chair bound becoming one of the two handicap nominees from this year.

Born on the fourth of July follows Kovic from his hopeful days, then to his tragic days as a soldier in Vietnam, then to his return. He becomes incredibly depressed, suffers from Post traumatic stress, and then finally returns to become an anti-war protester. I am not a fan of Oliver Stone, and I like few of his films. I find he usually is too heavy handed and obvious. Born is included as one of the overly heavy handed ones in my opinion. Born depends a lot on Cruise who is almost every second of the film, which means Cruise really needs to be on the ball the whole time.

Which he is not. Cruise is not one of my favorite actors I will admit, I do not really like him when he doing lighter fair. He never seems very confidant in his performances, especially many of his early ones. Cruise was a big star when this film came out and this is his "give me an Oscar!" performance from that time. Cruise's performance always comes off as the "I'm acting" sort of way. I always saw him trying to be Ron Kovic rather than being Ron Kovic. He is always over acting the pain rather really seeming to have the pain. In his big yelling scenes like with his mother, all those scenes came off as false for me rather than realistic. Cruise just over did it, and rather seeming to be truly disturbed, he is trying to act like being disturbed but really is not. Cruise never gets the proper tone to these scenes at all. When he seems more into the war and saying love it or leave it, he is acting in a one dimensional character, and again everything rings false. His conviction to the role just does not seem to be true. Every different phase of Kovic Cruise goes through, Cruise fails to succeed in a single phase of the character. I will give him some credit that he tries he tries a lot with every scream and every fall the character has, but he never succeeds.


joe burns said...

This surprises me! I thought you would like him. Oh well. But your ranking will probably be:

1. Day Lewis

2. Freeman

3. Branagh

4. Williams

5. Cruise

Fritz said...

Haven't seen him yet but wasn't he considered the favorite?

Louis Morgan said...

Joe Burns: Cruise just not my kind of actor. Your prediction seems like it is going to be accurate.

Fritz: He was the favorite, I'm glad there was an upset.

Anonymous said...

Well, I disagree. I thought he would have been a worthy winner in any other year.

Michael Patison said...

I absolutely despised this horrendous excuse for a movie. Stone's heavy-handedness reached deplorably new heights here and Cruise was just annoying as can be. I'll admit that the film was well-made and Cruise was obviously trying, but any film that pisses me off enough to turn it off with almost an hour left and vow never to watch another minute of it again is doing a plethora of things incorrectly. I would have given Cruise 1 China Jack, a rating composed of 0 for performance quality, .5 for effort, .25 for facial hair growth, and .25 for, I don't know, sitting in a wheelchair, though that means that Day-Lewis deserves 5.5 because sat in a wheelchair for the entire film and broke some ribs doing it, too.