Friday, 16 July 2010

Best Actor 1993: Laurence Fishburne in What's Love Got to Do With It

Laurence Fishburne received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Ike Turner in What's Love Got To Do with It.



What's Love Got To Do With It is a pretty poor biography picture about Tina Turner. It heavily focuses on her abusive relationship on Ike Turner. Too much really since there is scene after scene of her getting beaten, with very little insight into what is being shown.

Laurence Fishburne here really has no chance to create a strong performance as Ike Turner since the film has determined that Ike should be as one dimensional as possible. For most of the film Ike is just one angry man who beats Tina over and over again. Ike never becomes a very complicated angry man just a simple angry one. Now this might seem correct but his complete lack of an humanity seems more like bad writing than realism, since even Amon Goth in Schindler's List is shown to have a little humanity. Fishburne therefore is reduced to playing the one dimensional character, Fishburne I suppose is fine as acting the angry and abusive man, but the role is painfully simple.

Fishburne never really tries to create Ike into more of a real person than the script allows. Now I am not saying that he should have been portrayed less abusive, I am saying he should have been shown as a human doing the abuse not just some thing, which does not seem to know any better since that is all it does. Fishburne though never gets past the script at all and just goes with becoming just the one dimensional monster is Ike for most of the film. It simply is not an interesting portrayal because of the extremely simple approach to the character as made by his performance and the script creation of the character.

The only point in the film which he is not this one dimensional are the very early scenes of the film where Tina first meets Ike. In these early scenes Fishburne is not just an angry jerk but he is not a developed person anyways. He is just fine in these scenes but still there is very little about him still. Fishburne does not really set up his extreme change of character well. He is not that charismatic either, which does not make Ike and Tina's almost instant relationship believable. He is not as one dimensional in these early scenes but he is not three dimensional either. Fishburne never gets past the extreme simplicity of his character as made by the script, resulting in his performance being quite uninteresting and simplistic.

4 comments:

dinasztie said...

Haven't seen this, but it seems like a filler nominee.

Sage Slowdive said...

I think I would him give a 3 or 3 1/2 ...

joe burns said...

I agree, although I thought his early scenes were great and helped his performance. I would agree with Sage's rating, most likely. Did you like Basset more this time?

Louis Morgan said...

About the same.