Josh Brolin received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Dan White in Milk.
We see Dan White only really on the outside we never see him at his home, or in his personal life, and Brolin must convey everything about White in the smallest of ways. The amazing part about Brolin's performance is his success with the part, I never felt for a moment White was underdeveloped by him despite his limitations within the context of the film. Brolin performance firstly is quite successful in his representation of White for the most part such as in his public appearances. In just his public appearances Brolin just suggests Dan White as just a man passionate about his specific beliefs. He does not try to make him an evil man just a fairly typical politician, at first.
His early scenes are actually pivotal to his performance as he actually tries to be friends with the man he eventually murders. Brolin here is excellent in that he shows Dan White as a man looking for some sort of friendship, a strange man who has some sort of separation from others for whatever reason Brolin is careful not to disclose. There is a sadness though in Brolin's performance creating strangely enough a great deal of sympathy for White. He is able to keep this degree of sympathy even when he is fighting with Milk over there eventual divergences. Brolin shows White to honestly feel betrayed actually no so much for Milk not doing what he wanted, but rather clearly not being his friend that he believed he might have been.
Brolin's performance builds over every little scene showing a pressure building on him in each moment he is on screen up until the murders. Brolin is absolutely brilliant in his final scenes as he goes about the killing because of how matter of fact he is. He never shows it to be some sort of act of a lunatic for a single moment, but rather far more chilling by the act of a man who has simply gone off the edge that just seemed what he had to do. This is a terrific performance by Brolin that realizes his character fully despite his limited screen time. I only wish he frankly was given more time since what he does with White is incredible, and left me only wanting to actually see more of his character.