Robin Williams received his third Oscar nomination for portraying Parry a mentally unstable homeless man in The Fisher King.
Robin Williams plays Parry who actually does not show up too quickly in the film. It focuses largely on Jeff Bridges who plays a Howard Stern esque shock jock Jack Lucas. Parry shows up to save Jack after he is attacked by two hoodlums. When Williams first showed up I really was very annoyed. When he initially shows up, he goes for pure Williams Shtick. He does some voices that are suppose to be funny, and does a Williams seen to its most annoying. He does not create a character in these first scenes but instead tries just for comedy through his usual type of routine.
Williams though after these initial scenes does change his method of portraying the character a little bit differently. I felt he started to tone down the Williamsisms and tries harder to be a real character. He does not fully succeed at this but I am glad that he tries to create a person with Parry rather than just a routine. He is suppose to be a man who becomes mentally unstable after seeing the brutal murder of his wife, and he is suppose to be almost blocking those memories by creating another personality. At times his crazy acts seem forced crazy, and really do not hold any truth to them, a few times Williams pulls them off but most of the time he does not find the proper authenticity for Parry's madness.
Williams' best scenes are though when he tones it down and acts much more quiet. He actually is pretty good in the scene where he tells of the Fisher King. He suggests more about Parry with his brief quiet scenes than his over the top loud scenes. He has a few scenes like this besides that one where he is effective, he also is effective do to that reason with his romantic interest played by Amanda Plummer. He is never perfect in the role but when he is quiet he fines a subtler strand of the character that works well. Unfortunately he really does not have enough scenes that really on this better technique. Most of the time he does the obvious crazy that just never is that well done. Overall an okay performance, that is weakened especially by the beginning where he does not really stay in character.