Thursday, 19 April 2012

Best Supporting Actor 2005: George Clooney in Syriana

George Clooney won his Oscar from his first acting nomination for portraying Bob Barnes in Syriana.

Syriana details a group of intersecting stories involving the U.S.'s associations and complications with foreign oil.

George Clooney is an actor who is sometimes criticized for not really investing in his characters and sometimes very bluntly for playing himself. Well here is an attempt by Clooney to completely reject himself and attempt to portray Bob Barnes an over the hill worn out CIA operative. Well even though I will give credit to Clooney for trying I won't give him credit for succeeding. He never becomes believable as the CIA operative who has been working too many different sides for too long, he is no Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold for example.

Clooney doesn't ever really establish the history of his character, he never seems a like a man who has seen too much or been through too many things. He just never conveys the past of the character in his performance. Instead Clooney gives the same slightly frustrated slight sad face throughout the film to attempt to indicate the state of mine of Barnes. Unfortunately he never shows anything underneath the surface with his performance it is always just basically same expression for his entire performance which is very dull to watch, and does not make Bob Barnes into an interesting character.

The problem is Clooney really did not even need to make Barnes into the that much of an intriguing character, he really could have been just an anchor for the audience in the film. Unfortunately Clooney does not even act as a good anchor he never brings us into his world or into his character's troubles. He instead just makes that same old face again that really does not contribute to the effort of making us empathize with Barnes. Clooney never seems to realize that to underplay one must strive hard to find the complexities of their performances inside subtle reactions like say Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies or Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but Clooney simply is no Oldman or Duvall.

What amazes me is how Clooney stays in his depressed dull manner all the way throughout it does not matter what the context of the scene is whether it is talking with his son, or threatening an oil man he goes about in almost the exact same way. Clooney also shows no development as Barnes uncovers more and more of the film's plot instead he just makes that same old expression again as if he feels he must spends all his time trying to ensure the audience that he is not George Clooney but a downtrodden CIA agent. Clooney though doesn't do the downtrodden part right. There was not a moment in his performance that I cared about his character or his character's story which Clooney failed to ever bring me into it. There is a serious problem with a performance when the thing I remember most about is that his character has the same name as previous nominee Tom Berenger's Sergeant in Platoon.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you also noticed the connection between this movie and "Platoon" :D

RatedRStar said...

Did I mention that I'm not a fan of George Clooney performances =).

dshultz said...

I disagree.

Nues20 said...

Wow you really don't like Clooney at all do you?
I haven't seen the film yet but will do so just to see how Oscar worthy his performance actually is.
The problem I have with George Clooney is that he is too much in his head when he is acting.
Taking 2011 as a prime year when you have actors like Viola Davis up for an Oscar contrast to Clooney. Whereas Davis is intelligent with her acting and knows what to do she also allows herself to really get emotion across in her acting and let go.
Clooney can't let go - he is great technically but never has the emotional impact that is the key to the puzzle in his performances.
I think he really tried in the Descendants but he is crying over his dying wife and I'm thinking "Am I heartless because this is not affecting me at all?"
It should have affected me.
Clooney's too in his head - many people think that he rides on his supposed charm but sometimes he's thinking so much that he stops doing and his eyes look really...expressionless.
It's wierd.
Maybe I'm just rambling a bit.
But do you agree?

Robert MacFarlane said...

I agree completely with this. Clooney was simply awful in this film.

Louis Morgan said...

Nues20: I would say that is part of his problem as an actor.

Anonymous said...

How would you compare Clooneys directing and writing skills to his acting skills?

Louis Morgan said...

I would say he is a much better writer and director than he is an actor.

Anonymous said...

If he had one an writing or directing award for Good Night and Good Luck in 2005 rather than his performance in Syriana, would it be well deserved it?

Louis Morgan said...

He is probably be my win for Original screenplay out of the nominees, he might be for director too actually, but I need to watch Munich again to be sure.

Don said...

Man, fuck this shit, could you explain wwwhhyyyyy you think Clooney's so bad? 'Cause he's the shit far as I'm concerned.

Louis Morgan said...

I've tried my best in all four of my reviews.

Don said...

Ha...... you're a funny one Mr. Morgan.


RatedRStar said...

he's not the shit, he is just shit =D