Thursday, 18 November 2010

Best Actor 1996: Woody Harrelson in The People Vs Larry Flynt

Woody Harrelson received his first Oscar nomination for portraying pornographer Larry Flynt in The People vs Larry Flynt.

This film is not particularly good, because like many of these issues films made today it refuses to critically look at its own subject, and then it makes the opposition basically cartoonish charactertures.

Woody Harrelson for the first half of the film gives a fairly standard performance as Flynt. He does not do any of his Harrelson obnoxiousness as in some of his performances, but there is simply nothing all that special of his portrayal. He shows Flynt as a pornographer and he plays him as you would expect him to in a film that romanticizes the pornographer a bit. He is not bad at all, just his performance is rather standard throughout the first half, being quick to make money, enjoy his business, act sleazy, and act annoyed by those who wish to censor him. Not a single facet of his performance in those qualities is bad, and usual is appropriate enough for the character. Still though he does not excel in any parts to any amazing degree.

The second half of his performance on the other hand is a different story. He almost out of the blue starts giving an insanely mannered performance. Now he tries to imitate Flynt, and his mannerisms, and it just rings false. The change is not well handled at all, because it is not lead to nor does he immediately do this after becoming crippled in an assassination attempt. This is both the fault of the film, and of Harrelson's performance. As the crippled Flynt he is just over the top and I did not believe him for a second. He just went way over board and never seemed realistically so. I think his performance became outstandingly bad since he was so off, and because this style of performance came out of nowhere. I suppose he has one good scene when Courtney Love's character dies, but that is it, and even that is not that good. He is not special at first but then very bad for the rest.

1 comment:

Sage Slowdive said...

I agree - very bad impression, if you could call it that.