Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Best Actor 1982: Jack Lemmon in Missing

Jack Lemmon received his eighth and final Oscar nomination for portraying Ed Horman in Missing.

Missing although could be an interesting story, but something is well missing. Maybe it is the foregone conclusion, or the repetition of the majority of film of just looking being lied to and not finding him.

Jack Lemmon role of Ed Horman is only to do a few things unfortunately, which may be part of the film's problems. Horman shows up desperately searching for the whereabouts for his Charlie. He does this with his daughter in-law Beth (Sissy Spacek). Horman does this he looks for his son with Beth, fights with her due to her and his son's values and attitudes about the world and governments. The changes consist of this, Horman grows more and more disillusioned with the government as well, becomes more frustrated with the lies of his own government and Chile's government.  He also, as his search becomes more hopeless, becomes closer with his daughter in law.

Lemmon's performance is limited though due to how limited Horman's actions are. The main searching part of standing around and listening to others becomes repetitive, and Lemmon certainly cannot make it very interesting. I will say Lemmon's reactions are always authentic feeling, and realistic. He is always properly frustrated and disappointed at just about everything, but these reactions simply do not result in all that much. Horman simply never comes alive as an interesting character. He is a function of the plot really. The film is unfortunately only really about American involvement with the Coup and the search for Charlie itself. It could have really gotten into the character of Ed and Beth but it really doesn't.

Lemmon does his best with the role despite Ed Horman being oddly unimportant to the film itself. The relationship between he and Beth, and he and his son is there but not given the right pull. Lemmon does have the right passion in showing Ed's want to find his son, and Ed's change to growing more disillusioned is well handled by Lemmon even if it is not exactly compelling due to the film. I will say he does have some emotionally strong moments such as the stadium scene where he really is terrific, and when he learns of the final truth about his son. Those scenes are absolutely brilliantly played by Lemmon but unfortunately on a whole they do not do enough to save the overall character's treatment by the film itself, which I feel does take a back seat to the plot.


dinasztie said...

That stadium scene is among Lemmon's best ever. For me this is a perfect, heartwrenching performance. But I'm biased since he's my favorite actor.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I didn't really get the appeal of his performance. Alot of calculated scenes where I could feel the wheels turning.

Tom said...

it sounds like there was something "missing" from this portrayal.

Louis Morgan said...

Yes this film leads itself to be easily mocked.

Fritz said...

I enjoyed the movie very much and thought Lemmon was fantastic. I will reveal my opinion on Sissy later.