Monday, 5 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2011: John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene

John Hawkes did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Patrick in Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is fairly effective psychological drama, even it is very much weakened by its ending. It is bolstered by its great lead performance by Elizabeth Olsen as a trouble young woman who has recently escaped from a cult that lives in a secluded area.

John Hawkes is Patrick who is the leader of the cult "family" who takes Martha (Olsen) in. Patrick's first action with Martha is to rename her Marcy May, his next is to rape her as a way to welcome her to the fold. It should be said that Hawkes really is at a constant in this film, Partick never changes, and this actually is what probably helps him be a force in the film even when he is not onscreen. This is also certainly helped by Hawkes assured performance as Partick.

Hawkes is excellent because he finds just the right tone with his character that variates with just the right degrees. Hawkes most importantly is extremely charismatic in the role of Patrick, and there is never a question to the way he sways others so easily in the film. He has a quiet sway that there is something Hawkes brings that makes Patrick's personality and actually makes it entirely believable that he is so easily able to make someone change their name by simply saying that is the way they see them.

What is important though is that Hawkes within the charisma though certainly is never a warmth filled presence. He great in bringing to life the undercurrent of darkness in Patrick, and that Patrick's intent for his "family" certainly is not something positive. Whenever he abuses them there is no hesitation in Hawkes's portrayal showing that Patrick is only controlling these people for his own ends, and his charm is merely a trick to pull them in.

Hawkes comes in and out of the film, and we never truly learn all there is to Patrick. We only ever see him through the view of Martha, and we never learn we here comes from or how he ever did start this cult who he is the leader. Hawkes uses this mystery well to create Patrick into a fascinating character, and is convincing no matter how far Patrick goes. One scene in particular when Patrick tries to say a murder was fine, is chillingly portrayed by Hawkes because he has so much conviction that he clearly conveys the fact that Patrick honestly believes his insanity.

Patrick really is sparingly used in the film, and his character does not have a conclusion scene. He stays an enigma to the end. Hawkes absolutely does make the most of his creation of Patrick, and his achievements are quite enormous actually in portraying this cult leader. I did really want more of his performance, but really there is not a single bad thing I can say about his performance which is quite striking. Hawkes really can take a great deal of the credit and succeeds in being able to create the overwhelming dread and paranoia that builds in the film due to his characterization of Patrick.

21 comments:

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

This movie bugged the shit out of me. I really do hate deliberate anti-climaxes. At least Olsen was great. For me, Hawkes wasn't nearly as good as he was in Winter's Bone.

Louis Morgan said...

Well actually I will completely agree with you about the ending. The ambiguous ending actually seemed like too much of an easy way out.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

It was. It's not like Drive or The Hurt Locker where the ambiguous ending hightens the themes of the film, where this one dilutes and cheapens them. What was the point of all that paranoia? Why build it up so much?

Louis Morgan said...

I agree again. I like ambiguous endings when done well, but this one wasted its potential. The writer probably did not know what to do and just said cut to black.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

That's sort of the reason why I fell No Country for Old Men should have ended with Bardem walking away from the car crash instead of that last scene with Jones. Granted, I'm in a vast minority on that one.

RatedRStar said...

I look forward to your review of him for The Sessions which he is a certainly a lock to get to get nominated in =)

mrripley said...

I also think he was underdeveloped and not as good as in wb but solid and yes i was scared of him just because of the unkowingness of his actions.

RatedRStar said...

He is such a nice guy in real life 2 lol =D, im rooting for anyone to win best actor this year except Phoenix.

dinasztie said...

I'd also like to see him win the Oscar. But DDL will probably win unfortunately with some "look how amazing I am" acting. He bugs me a lot. I don't want Phoenix to win, either. Jean-Louis Trintignant should sweep all the awards. Who do you think will be nominated and who do you think will win? :D

I so want to see this movie, but I haven't got around to it. :)

Michael Patison said...

I can't imagine Trintignant winning a whole lot of stuff, unfortunately. Yes, his wonderful performance might get some recognition from a critics association here or there, but I just don't see that happening. I'm planning on seeing Lincoln this weekend (as well as Skyfall at its midnight premier), so we'll see how DDL is (and TLJ for that matter since he's been getting some nods for his perf). I personally like DDL's performances. His MLF perf is, in my opinion, the best ever, he's great in everything else too. For some reason, any semblance of overacting he does always seems to work for me. On top of that, most every review I've read of the movie, good or bad, describes his performance as at least very, very good and remarkably subdued.

I don't want Phoenix to win either, especially since I didn't think he did anything special in The Master, and I've never thought he was a great actor, maybe good, but never great. I'd love it if he wasn't even nominated, but I just don't see that happening.

I'm interested in seeing Trintignant, Hawkes, Washington, Day-Lewis, Hopkins, Jackman, Cooper, Murray, Craig, and Foxx (not that either of the last two have any chance at noms, and Foxx probably won't be anything special).

I'm actually far more interested in the Best Actress race. My choice has been Quvenzhane Wallis for quite some time now, but I can't wait to see Lawrence, Cotillard, Riva, Mirren, Linney, and Watts to see if that'll change.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

What is with all the hatred towards Phoenix? I can't defend his character's lack of an arc, but I can defend his performance. Yes, as histrionic as it was, it fit the odd, somewhat chaotic tone of his character perfectly, in the odd, chaotic movie he was in. And Jesus, those facial expressions. I've never seen him use his face as well as he did in The Master. Even in his performance in Gladiator, a performance I love in a film I hate, he wasn't as expressive in his face. Then again, he was playing Nero-lite in that film, so maybe that's not the best example.

RatedRStar said...

my hatred and negativity towards Phoenix is for 5 reasons

1) everyone says he is overdue???? even though nobody gave a shit about him a few years ago when he pulled that Im still here crap and pretended to retire.

2) both his oscar nominations sucked.

3)his character is completely loathsome in The Master, never for a moment did I feel sorry for him or his actory pain.

4) His late brother River was more talented, cool, handsome, charming and less stoned then Joaquin.

5) John Hawkes and Jean Louis Trinigant, two actors who have been working for years and years who never get any credit for anything what so ever are more overdue then Phoenix is.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

To respond to your five points:

1. I agree. I always hated the argument that anyone was overdue.

2. Well, I admire his performance in the otherwise terrible Gladiator, but more for a camp value. I didn't think he was bad in Walk the Line, but Daniels and Fiennes would have been more worthy nominees.

3. Tell me, did you like Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood? It's a similar deal. Freddie Quell believed in nothing but himself as a way to escape any sort of emotional pain. He was never supposed to be likable, much like Daniel Plainview. Also, the actory tricks argument is valid, though personally I thought such mannerisms fit Quell better than, say, Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind.

4. THAT argument is purely subjective.

5. I can't comment, I haven't seen them yet.

RatedRStar said...

I still think Best actor this year is easier to guess the five nominees then last year (this is how I reckon Louis would rank them if it ends up being these nominees ( I have only seen The Sessions and The Master.)

5) Joaquin Phoenix (2.5 stars)
4) Denzel Washington (3.5 stars)
3) Daniel Day Lewis (4 stars)
2) John Hawkes (4.5 stars)
1) Jean Louis Trinigant (5 stars)

RatedRStar said...

and no I didnt like Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood that much so that may just be my opinion on those kind of performances (Viggo would have been pick)

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Well to be honest, may favorite Lead actor of 2007 was actually Casey Affleck in Jesse James. He goes under the file of "Suporting Role My Ass".

RatedRStar said...

oh I agree =) I meant from the actual nominees I would have picked Viggo, but ye I like Afflect in both Jesse James and Gone Baby Gone and would have given him the win for either =) I wonder ummm whos ur favorite actor Koook160 =D.

Louis Morgan said...

Dinasztie: This year is very hard to predict who will win period mainly because so many of those in the runners are previous winners. This is especially true for supporting actor.

RatedRStar: I like your predictions for my ratings I am interested in what you think I will give the other possibles like Anthony Hopkins, Bradley Cooper, and Hugh Jackman.

RatedRStar said...

Anthony Hopkins (2 stars, I didnt know Alfred Hitchcock had about 3 chins lol)
Bradley Cooper (3.5 stars)
Hugh Jackman (3.5 stars)
Richard Gere (4 stars)
Ben Affleck (4 stars)

Other less possible Contenders
Bill Murray for Hyde Park On Hudson (2.5 stars)

Terence Stamp for A Song for Marion (3.5 stars)

Ezra Miller for Perks Of Being A Wallflower (4 stars)

Mads Mikkelsen for The Hunt (4 stars)

Anonymous said...

RatedRStar, Hitchcock's look is not Hopkins' fault, it's the makeup.

RatedRStar said...

oh I agree about the makeup =D but 2 stars is what he ll get I expect, I expect Louis to not like him at all and actually may compare the odd look to his performance in Nixon which was bad as well.

I honestly dont think too much of Hopkins aside from Silence Of The Lambs, to me veteran actors like Terence Stamp should recieve more of a legendary status than Hopkins.