Saturday, 27 April 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2001: Jude Law in A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Jude Law did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, for portraying Gigolo Joe in A.I. Artificial Intelligence.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence is an intriguing film, although a far from perfect film that wears out its welcome by the end, about an artificial boy named David (Haley Joel Osment) who wishes to become real to be loved by his human mother.

Jude Law plays Gigolo Joe an artificial prostitute who befriends David after David has been abandoned. Joe himself is in a precarious place by being framed for the murder of one of his clients. Joe acts as David's guide to the real world and the world of the robots as they both travel along as David searches for the blue fairy he believes will be able to turn him into a real boy. Law much like Osment is very good in making the android. They both are good in making certain tics that seem unnatural and that of a robot yet still seeming very human as well, and create the androids as truly strange things that both seem like real humans but are not quite.

Law is great as being the hustler selling his "wares" with his own particular and rather sensual style. Law does not play the part as the usually sort of selling himself, as he is not the usual sort, after all he was only ever programmed to do such things. Law instead shows Joe as a performer above else, and does this with considerable style and charm. He does not show Joe as a troubled man, but rather something selling its trade using his charisma and abilities to do so. Law is very effective showing that for Joe being a prostitute is merely something he was born to do therefore he will be don it with plenty of pleasure, and never a single thought questioning his "life" path.

Law has a great presence here making Joe very likable, and adding some much needed humor to a film that is pretty harsh otherwise. He is great in his scenes with Osment and the two make a rather particular pair. They form an unusual friendship that never seems like the mentor/protege, but instead they strike up a rather unique dynamic that is rather interesting. Law mixes well the various emotions that Joe comes with when it comes to dealing with David's journey. He has a nice warmth though still in Joe's hustler style that comes with the information he lends to David as David attempts to help David find his blue fairy. Law makes the connection between Joe and David moving as well as believable.

The balance of their relationship comes with that Joe is also aware of the hatred humans have for the artificial beings. Law balances a certain coldness from Joe's experiences with the warmth in being caught up with David's dreams quite brilliantly. It is difficult to be both the optimist and the cynic but Law manages it in a rather memorable fashion. His scenes total not a great deal of time but Law makes his stamp on the film with his performance despite this film being easily one where the acting could be overshadowed by the writing, and direction. Law finds just the right path with his character making him a certainly a robot but one where humanity lies as well. This is strong work, and honestly I wished his exit from the film was a little less abrupt as Joe could have easily lead a film.


Psifonian said...

Law is my Best Supporting Actor win, and you hit the nail on the head on why he deserved it. It's hard to play someone so artificial and yet inject him with some modicum of humanity. Gigolo Joe is a fine creation, and it remains Jude Law's finest hour.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I've avoided this movie for a while. Though considering the late Ebert and curmudgeon/genius Mark Kermode both admitted it was a masterpiece ten years after previously dismissing it, I suppose I'll give it a shot.

Though I'm surprised Law is apparently the standout of the film. I usually find him sort of clammy (he was embarrassing to watch in Closer).

Michael Patison said...

I haven't seen Closer yet, but I usually tend to agree with koook. Having only seen him in 4 films, I am unsure of what I think of him yet. He was decent enough in Cold Mountain, but frankly added very little excitement to a boring movie (which is unfortunate since the book is excellent), but at least he didn't just sit there like Nicole Kidman did. His role as Errol Flynn in The Aviator was too short to base too much on, but I do remember thinking, "Hey look that's Jude Law," as opposed to "Wow, Jude Law killed that scene."

The other two films are the two Sherlock Holmes films. I thought the first one was great, as I generally think about Holmesian efforts, regardless of how related or unrelated they are to any Doyle-conceived plot. The second one was fun, but nothing special. Nevertheless, I find Law to be terrific in both films at creating a brilliant chemistry with Robert Downey, Jr. that is one of the best parts of the first film (the other two being Downey, Jr. himself and Rachel McAdams), and that is definitely the best part in the second one (though Jared Harris is admittedly fun.

Anonymous said...

I've always liked him. I agree with Michael, I thought he was wonderful in Sherlock Holmes. I also thought he was excellent in Side Effects from early this year (although Rooney Mara is the clear standout).

On a side note, would you consider Law Lead or Supporting in Sherlock Holmes?

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I'd consider him supporting in that one. I actually thought he was the best part of it, surprisingly. Well, him and Mark Strong.

Michael Patison said...

I would too. He has almost as much screentime as Downey, but he clearly isn't the focus of the film as he doesn't really have any important scenes to himself that I can recall. I don't know, I think I enjoyed he and Downey equally.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I actually hated the movie. At least I think I did. I barely remember it outside of being disappointed.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Also, about him in Closer, he was EATEN by Clive Owen. Seriously, I'm not the biggest Clive Owen fan either, but he was fan-friggin'-tastic. To a lesser extent, Julia Roberts was pretty damn good too. Portman had decent emotional scenes but severely lacked any chemistry with the other cast members. But Law gave such a weak-willed performance that I was honestly stunned by how wrong he played it. I know for a fact he can play weasel characters like that, yet he was completely inert in his delivery and chemistry.