Richard Harris received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying 'Bull' McCabe in The Field.
Richard Harris's performance is indeed the film, and the film really shines when there are scenes that basically focus on him and his acting. Harris portrays Bull who wants to keep his land he has worked on, just as his father, and his father's father had. Harris does indeed excel in simply the creation of Bull. Harris is completely as this hard working farmer, and the way he presents himself physically it amplifies the history of Bull quite well. Harris' portrays Bull's domineering personality incredibly well. His whole control over much of the town people and of his son, is entirely believable because of Richard Harris' powerful presence in the film. He controls the screen as Bull. Every scene Harris always makes his presence constantly known with a true realistic sway in these scenes.
There is a softer side of Bull shown though as well in an important moment where he states how much the land really means to him. It is perhaps a bit contrived in terms of the set up but Harris makes it very powerful showing a sensitive side of Bull, that does not contradict the rest of the character. Harris honestly portrays how deeply the land means to him in this scene, and does achieve the proper poignancy in this moment.The film begins to undermine his performance though almost becomes the film fails to give Harris any actually characters to interact with as Bull. Do to the extremely lacking writing there is a certain disjointedness to all of these scenes, and even to Harris' performance because he interacts with an actual character to all these paper thin something or others.
Due to this reason his best scenes are his solo moments, and in these scenes Harris most certainly does shine. Whether it is espousing his discouraging view of how no one appreciates the land anymore, or when he announces his intentions to do basically whatever it takes to keep the land. In each of these scene Harris is tremendously powerful. This is a bit of a mixed performance for me all around, there are his individual moments of greatness, but when he has to interact more fully, the lacking of the film unfortunately also harms his performance some what. It is not really Harris's fault, but it does stop him from giving a completely satisfying performance.