Warren Beatty received his third acting Oscar nomination for portraying John Reed in Reds.
Warren Beatty is an actor I never find myself able to believe. He always seems to want to play himself rather than character he is playing. That seems to be no different here as John Reed, a troubled writer who is devoted to the communist cause. This is particularly troublesome for this role because it really seems that he needed to be the driving force of the film. The man you could really identify with and follow throughout all his trials and troubles, or he could have been a man who is completely fascinating and really gets under the skin of John Reed. Unfortunately Beatty does not do either of these.
It is not that his emotions are exactly wrong, he has technically the correct emotional reactions in scenes. All the emotions though in this performance seem to be solely on the surface. Beatty never really shows anything past Beatty himself. He never seems to shed his own image to take on the image of John Reed. This on the surface is not exactly an incorrect performance, but it fails in anyway beyond that.There is certainly nothing special about it, his chemistry with Keaton is nothing astounding, nor is his passion for Reed's cause. Beatty always seems to be acting the part for me, and simply is never that convincing because of this. Beatty is an actor who can be good very good in fact but he has to willing to really get inside the character which he does not do in this performance.