Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Best Actor 2002: Michael Caine in The Quiet American

Michael Caine received his sixth Oscar nomination for portraying Thomas Fowler in The Quiet American.

The Quiet American tells the story of a British journalist and his relationship with an American in Vietnam before American involvement.

Michael Caine is the British journalist Thomas Fowler, who is a rather cynical fellow only showing minor interest, at first, in the goings ons in Vietnam. He is far more interested in smoking Opium, and spending time with his Vietnamese mistress Phuong. Caine certainly has the right passive quality in his performance in these earlier moments, although showing the right joy in his time with his mistress, but always stressing that all he really cares about Vietnam is if he can stay there.

In terms of his caring about the war Caine handles this well, showing small little moments of possibly having more beliefs about it than he suggests, but never overtly. Caine appropriately puts a greater emphasis on how he feels about Phuong, particularly with his conflict with the Quiet American Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser) over her affections. Caine clearly shows how much Fowler  gets out the relationship, but possibly suggests that it is not really the greatest of ones either. 

This performance of Caine, in my original short ranking reached the spot of number 2, well there were many reasons for that, but now the biggest thing I felt about a performance, was how there was just not that much to it on the whole. This is nothing negative about Caine really, but to me the performance just feels a bit short. Caine seems forced to undergo his whole character arc extremely quickly, possibly making it not nearly as good, as if he was given a bit more time.

Caine though still manages an effective performance with Thomas Fowler, despite the limits of the part. He goes from cynical to caring more, not the greatest arcs, but it is one Caine handles with ease. I don't know though everything is here that needs to be, and Caine never bores, but the overall effect of the performance just is only just about enough never more. I never saw a completely amazing performance by Caine, but still I always saw a good and realistic performance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What did you think of Brendan Fraser?