Saturday, 4 February 2012

Best Supporting Actor 1995: Tim Roth in Rob Roy

Tim Roth received his only Oscar nomination so far for portraying Archibald Cunningham in Rob Roy.

Rob Roy depicts the troubles and eventual revenge of Scotsman Robert Roy McGregor (Liam Neeson).

Tim Roth portrays Archibald Cunningham the man who causes most of the troubles for old Rob Roy. Roth makes no excuses about it from his opening scene that Archibald is the villain of the film. A cockney and overly prim villain with his gloating smile, and fancy boy manner. Roth aside from one very brief moment does not show Archibald to have any sympathy for his completely amoral actions. He is the bad guy plain and simple who does not mind for a second his murdering of Rob Roy's friend, stealing his money, burning his house, and even raping his wife.

Roth certainly has basically the same style throughout as he goes from scene to scene being evil, and acting like a pompous pretty boy well he does it. Roth is most certainly consistent and has the right sort of slimy charm in the role. He is fairly imposing as a villain, and he becomes most certainly worthy of hate so when he and Rob Roy clash swords you certainly want him to meet the business end of Roy's weapon. Roth is as he should be as Cunningham conniving and cruel, and is an effective enough villain.

The only problem I have with the performance though is he is just not that memorable of a villain in the end. He is a good enough villain as the film runs its course but soon after watching it I do not remember his performance that well. Villains commonly are the type of characters that can become unforgettable, but although I would not say Roth's Cunningham is forgettable he just is not one I would ever be quick to say he is an antagonist for the ages, rather just a suitable enough antagonistic.

Roth just stays consistently villainous throughout the only moment where he shows a different side of Cunningham is an extremely short one where he indicates he actually has some regret over one of his immoral acts. It is a small silent reaction but it is actually very well handled by Roth suggesting that maybe deep in Cunningham's pompous exterior there is not such a horrible man there somewhere. The scene is short but well done, but it really is not brought up past this short moment. In the end this is just a fine villain performance not ever amazing but never bad either.


Anonymous said...

One of my all-time favorite actors, and in my opinion, one of the most deserved nominations ever. That cold, slimey charm really makes Archibald one of those great love-to-hate-em characters and yet, while far from being a sympathetic character, you're still able to see the deep self-loathing and many insecurities hiding benateath that pompous exterior thanks to Roth's brilliant, understated performance. Great, great actor and one of my favorite villains :)

dinasztie said...

Never seen him, but I actually became interested. How is Jessica in the movie?

mrripley said...

I just felt it was all one note much preferred john hurt and never truly villainous would ahve nominated him instead.

Louis Morgan said...

dinasztie: She is fine, but to tell the truth her role isn't much.

dshultz said...

What did you think of John Hurt?

Louis Morgan said...

As usual, he was good.