Warren Beatty received his fourth acting Oscar nomination for portraying Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel in Bugsy.
Warren Beatty is an almost always an actor for me who does not seem to ever get that deep into his roles and almost always seems to rely on his charisma. This is particularly ineffective in this performance because he is portraying a real person, and he simply never ever seems to be Bugsy Malone. I never once for a moment believed he was the really person at all. There were times that I believed he was Clyde in Bonnie and Clyde but not here at all. He just seems wrong for the part, and clearly is because he never personifies the real man, which is a huge problem, but unfortunately not the biggest problem with this performance.
Warren Beatty though has even bigger problems because he does not seem to know how to even start to portray Bugsy. I do not know what he was going for in this performance. Some of the time it seemed he wanted to be the real deal gangster but I felt at other times he wanted to almost parody the gangster style character. That does not work either but it seems that he wants to almost mock the over the top personality of someone like Siegel. I am not sure if he was but it comes off as that way, and really just makes for a very poor performance. He also has his bizarre "romance" scenes with Annette Bening. The movie did not seem to know what to do precisely with their performance, and neither do Beatty and Bening. It simply is another factor that does not work.
Finally the work part of his performance is his scenes where he is suppose to show the darker, and more sensitive side of Bugsy. When Beatty goes for these scenes he seems to shoot high and miss completely. He never is convincing at all in these sides, and just comes off as weird at times. He at times gets unintentionally funny in scenes where he is suppose to be menacing. Nothing really works in this performance, it just starts out poorly, and goes no where from there. This is a performance that fails from its simplest technique. Beatty does not give a good performance, I am sure some of what made it so bad came from the film being so strange in its tone, but Beatty is never better than the film itself.