Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Best Supporting Actor 2003: Tim Robbins in Mystic River

Tim Robbins won his Oscar from his first acting nomination for portraying Dave Boyle a Boston man who was traumatized as a child in Mystic River.

Tim Robbins has a few problems with his performance. One problem is that his voice he uses for the film is a bit odd. He does like a child's voice mixed in with the Boston accent that seems like a forced way to show the past of the character. This voice he uses is a mistake I believe but it does not ruin his performance. The other problem with his performance I feel is that some of his scenes I feel are the worst directed scenes by Clint Eastwood. Robbins plays very much into the overt acting that is featured heavily by too many members of the cast, particularity Sean Penn, which is ill-fitting against the gritty tone of the story. The performances of Kevin Bacon, and Laurence Fishburne reflect far closer to what should be the tone of the film.

Despite these hindrance of the starting Robbins doesn't give a entirely ineffective performance.. There is the overt and forced method of showing his character's mental trauma that is always there that keeps his performance at a certain distance. There is subtly to this performance as Robbins does show the man's problems through his eyes that show he always has been and  what he was as a child, and that everyday is a challenge to get by because of what happened to him. There is an internalization of this by Robbins that moves past the surface posturing at least to some extent. It leaves his performance still not as natural as it should be, but there is some needed naturalism in there.

Robbins carefully does bring at least more in portraying the other sides past that trauma even though that is always a constant factor. I find Robbins does do a great job in making Dave seem three dimensional since his only character trait is not the trauma, he is a fully rounded man, that is just one of his features not his whole being. Robbins does find some honesty there, even with his mannered accent, even in the overly directed vampire scene Robbins still stays very strong as Dave. His best scene I feel though is at the very end where he can barely comprehend his situation. Robbins handles this scene well by showing the fear and trauma of Dave. There are moments still of just too much, but there is some power found in there. It also helps that Sean Penn actually dials it back a bit even for that scene. Robbins's performance overall has weaknesses as it is part of the ACTING that infects the film with so many of the performers. He is the best of the ACTORS though as he does find more in there, even if the method still is a touch too obvious.


Sage Slowdive said...

Hmmm...I would debate on a 4 1/2 or a 5...really liked his performance, and the impact it causes.

joe burns said...

I didn't think he was anything special, but now, I think I need to re-watch him, thanks to your writeup and Sage's comment!

He'll be your pick, I feel.

Fritz said...

Supporting Actor is my least favorite category but his performance is one of the few I totally love and blew me away.