Sean Penn received his second nomination for portraying Emmet Ray in Sweet and Lowdown.
I can't say I am much of a fan of Sean Penn as I find his style usually overly calculated in his portrayals. Here I must say I did not find his performance to be all that calculating. I did not have any moments where I felt he tries to hard to show he is acting. This is quite interesting considering Emmet Ray is a very flamboyant eccentric character.
What Penn does in the role from his accent, to his odd mannerisms does not seem overly actory for him here, since what he does is rather underplayed, and never brings all that much attention to themselves.. I thought they actually seemed natural enough, and for the character of Emmet Ray they fit, since he is a rather strange character.
Now although I never had that distaste after seeing him overact in a far too hammy of a fashion in this performance, as he does in many of his roles, I failed to really see anything all that special in his performance either. Penn certainly is in the film a great deal, but throughout the film I never felt he really had a single scene that stood out as special.
He certainly is there, I do not find him obnoxious or annoying in any scenes, but everything he does never seems to be anything that really should be noted as great acting. I never felt what he does was bad either as Emmet Ray, just thoroughly unspectacular.
He is flamboyant enough as Ray, as well as pompous enough when he needs to be. He is happy when he should be, mad when he should be. He technically is the right emotion, but just right enough, enver anything more than that. His relationship with the mute Hattie (Samantha Morton) is not poorly handled, but it does not factor into a single scene that is notable either.
This is a rather odd performance for me to review, becuase after watching it I really did not feel negatively toward it, and trust me it is easy for me to feel negatively about a Sean Penn performance. Although I did not really feel negatively I still failed to see a hint of a great performance. Emmet Ray is there, I watched him go through the plot, but than I really felt nothing about him other than he was flamboyant.