Sunday, 21 April 2013

Alternate Best Actor 2001: Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge!

Ewan McGregor did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, for portraying Christian in Moulin Rouge!.

Moulin Rouge is quite properly considered to be a love or hate it film. Well I fall much closer to latter as the films opening thirty minutes with its incessant quick cutting gave me a headache. There are a few set pieces that I like or at least don't mind, but I can't like any film that I almost had to turn off after thirty minutes.

Speaking of the headache I had it was not helped by many of the performances found in this film. John Leguizamo's performance probably had both Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Jose Ferrer rolling in their graves, and Richard Roxburgh well uhh what can one say about that performance other than his delivery of "I JUST DON'T LIKE PEOPLE TOUCHING MY THINGS" would be great for a security alarm system to protect your possessions. These performances are insanely over the top without being entertaining which is always a problem and it seems for an actor to be able to give a good over the top performance they need to be capable of a subtle one as well.

Those performances as well as many others did not alleviate my headache, and I was ready to give up, but then Ewan McGregor finally got his first solo number, and I have to admit my headache went away. Where too many of the other performances basically act like they know their in an over the top affair and are rather obnoxious because of this Ewan McGregor throws himself into his role with such profound conviction. He doesn't wink or do anything even close to that in his portrayal of Christian, Christian is suppose to be a love obsessed writer filled with passion, and McGregor plays him just that way particularly the part about being filled with passion.

McGregor is uncompromising in his depiction of the hopelessness of this romantic. Honestly if Christian had been portrayed with the wackiness that too many of the other performers rely on his whole constant mentioning of love would seem as stupid as it is. McGregor though because of just how much he gets into the part makes it that even if Christian's unwavering beliefs may be a little too much, at least they are genuine thanks to the fact that is all McGregor ever gives it. McGregor just plays his part with such earnestness that he even manages to keep his head up throughout the whole film, even late in the film when his character makes his rather strange actions in which he becomes rather hateful albeit briefly.

This is of course a musical and McGregor voice is something to behold on its own and only continues to show the amount of effort he puts into the part. McGregor with each and every song sings about love pushes the idea to the utmost that supports the level of belief Christian should hold. Each of his songs where highlights for me throughout the film because again how much he goes for broke with them. The intensity of his singing the expressions they all work so well, and really make the idea of the story of love and he is able just to go with the simplistic. McGregor never seems to care if the love is simplistic and shallow he belts it out to the back row anyways. 

The film did manage to cause me literal pain but McGregor acted as my aspirin for the film, his performance was something I could hold onto to get through it. His investment in it is so great that he even managed to make me invested in it a little. There is not a halfhearted moment in his portrayal even in that late act poorly written out of character turn at the end of the film. This is just a sweet entirely charming performance that knows how to make the material move even when the material isn't even all that great. It is a true shame that the film which was nominated for eight awards but not one was left for the leading man who puts his all into lighting up every moment in which he is onscreen.

30 comments:

Mark said...

Yeah, McGregor looked like he was the only sane man in that movie. What did you think of Nicole Kidman?

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

... It's like you read my mind. Every aspect you wrote is exactly my opinion of his performance in this. His passion is what kept me from completely despising the movie.

Anonymous said...

What was your opinion of Jim Broadbent and of the Elephant Love Medley, which gave me chills when I saw it.

Louis Morgan said...

Mark: I thought Kidman was fine in her musical and dramatic moments, but I thought she was pretty bad in her silly scenes.

Anonymous: I liked Broadbent once he and the film calmed down after those first thirty minutes or so. I also liked that Medley since McGregor was featured prominently.

Anonymous said...

I know this is off-topic but when you get to Supporting 2007 could I recommend Robert Downey, Jr's brilliant performance in Zodiac?

mrripley said...

I loved him but not any part of the film where he wasn't in,the roxanne sequence i loathe.

moviefilm said...

I think we would completely agree about him, even the points - I would probably also give him 4,5. But we wouldn't agree about the film itself. I really loved it. But that's me. I just love musicals...

Fritz said...

I love the movie and I think McGregor should have won that year! Seriously, what does he need to do to get one damn nomination in his life???

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

@Anonymous: Forget Downey, John Carroll Lynch was the REAL standout in Zodiac.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

What worries me about Luhrman's upcoming Great Gatsby is that he as a director can't seem to distinguish what makes stage and movies different. Everything has to be over-the-top and histrionic as hell according to him. Which is why in the trailers, Joel Edgerton is the only part I'm excited for just with his piercing stare alone.

RatedRStar said...

McGregor is an good actor I think, Trainspotting was his best performance I think, although even in that film he was kinda outshadowed at times.

RatedRStar said...

also Louis, when it comes to best supporting 1996, why dont you do what you did with the Cloud Atlas and Seven Psychopaths reviews and do nearly all the main supporting players for Trainspotting (McKidd, Carlyle, Lee Miller, Bremner)

Michael Patison said...

What worries me about Gatsby isn't really how stagy it is but how horribly he's going to muff up what I and many others consider to be one of the best novels ever written. It's not that he's histrionic, it's that he's too stylistic and doesn't know when to fucking stop.

RatedRStar said...

I have a feeling The Great Gatsby will be a massive disaster, no oscars for that film.

Plus I think The Great Gatsby is such a cliched story anyway, very predictable, as for Edgerton, he looks good but my god does Tobey Maguire look razzie worthy, DiCaprio is just playing that tired old romantic character I thought he ditched years ago.

Tobey Maguire is awful most of the time (Brothers, The Wonder Boys and Cider House Rules he was both bland and over the top.

Rant... Over...

Michael Patison said...

Oops I forgot how much I absolutely despise Tobey Maguire. He's terrible but he gets acclaim periodically, which makes him far worse than Keanu Reeves in my book

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

At least Keanu Reeves had A Scanner Darkly.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous: I would probably lean more towards Lynch from that film.

Fritz: For what ever reason he just never is able to gain the traction needed, but if the academy loved this film as much as they seem to they should have saved him a spot especially since they nominated Sean Penn and Will Smith.

RatedRStar: I could do that, although only if I feel compelled to by the other performances besides Carlyle. I was thinking about doing that for JFK, but the last minute I changed my mind as Gary Oldman did stick out for me as the one to do in the end. I will do it again in the future for sure as one film in particular stands out in my mind as an obvious choice to do.

Anonymous said...

Would this "obvious choice" be a David Mamet film by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Also, I agree Lynch was great in Zodiac, but I went with Downey cause he had more screen time and made a bigger impression on me.

Louis Morgan said...

No, it is a older film than that actually.

Anonymous said...

Oh. Well, I'm certainly interested.

RatedRStar said...

I reckon its either Its A Wonderful Life or Foreign Correspondant lol but im probably wrong =D.

Anonymous said...

Could be. Could be. It could also be Wizard of Oz, now that I think about it.

Louis Morgan said...

RatedRStar: Those two both have just two obvious performances so I probably will just review both separately.

Anonymous: That wasn't what I was thinking of, but honestly I probably will do The Wizard of Oz that way.

RatedRStar said...

ohh umm maybe 12 Angry Men, Lawrence Of Arabia, Star Wars lol am I even close.

Louis Morgan said...

You hit it with Lawrence of Arabia, and that will actually be a sixer as I can easily think of something to write about Anthony Quinn, Alex Guinness, Arthur Kennedy, Jose Ferrer, Jack Hawkins, and Claude Rains.

RatedRStar said...

even Kennedy lol wow =D.

RatedRStar said...

does that mean that there will be 4 other spots or will 1962 supporting be just the Lawrence players.

Louis Morgan said...

There will be four other spots.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

@Louis: The fact that you liked Lynch as well is a pleasant surprise. I thought he owned Zodiac in just one scene.