Thursday, 8 August 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2002: Richard Gere in Chicago

Richard Gere did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite winning the Golden Globe and being nominated for Sag, for portraying Billy Flynn in Chicago. 

Although Billy Flynn is the largest male role in Chicago I don't consider him lead and watching it again only supported my thoughts why. Flynn is almost always viewed through Roxie(Renee Zellweger)'s perspective and even in the one scene where he is not interestingly John C. Reilly actually gets the focus. Gere though does have a very showy part though because of this, and the whole idea is we only ever see Flynn as the hot shot lawyer who is much more of showman than a proper legal consultant. This pretty much means that Gere's point throughout the film is pretty much just to be on the entire time and try to be entertaining as possible while Flynn goes about making Roxie a media darling as well as get her off her murder rap.

 I will start with what I think Gere does do right which is that he seems to be enjoying himself a great deal throughout the film, and particularly all of his musical numbers. This is a very nice variation of things when compared to the oddly grim faces often displayed by Catherin Zeta-Jones and Zellweger. Gere always does bring a nice light touch and a lot of energy into all of scenes. His singing voice not be amazing, but even so he always still seems to bring everything he has to every number anyway. He is always definitely trying to be entertaining though of course how much enjoyment your going to get from the performance does depend a great deal of how much you like Richard Gere as an actor to begin with.

Well I personally I'm just not that crazy about Gere to being with. He is an actor with charisma, but he does not always use the charisma in the very best of ways. He often just kind of has rather than really infusing it into a role to do something really special. More than that though I do feel that Billy Flynn simply could have been a more entertaining character, and I do think maybe the character could have made the film far more enjoyable than it ended up being. He could have been more than just a scene stealer and maybe could have  made scenes work purely from his presence. I will admit that is a tall order, and Gere doesn't quite meet, this challenge sometimes falling quite short even bordering a little on being a bit hammy.

Richard Gere's work does not reach the heights that he potentially could have in the role of Billy Flynn as it does seem the type part is ripe to steal the whole film with which he does not do. I don't think that Gere fails though in his role either. He does offer some entertainment through his method of just throwing himself into every scene for better or worse. This technique is a two edged sword as it does mean he is one of the bright spots of the film as he does go in all or nothing, but this also is what makes him maybe go just step too much in various moments during the course of the film when his face might just seem a little too knowing for his own good. A mixed bag for sure but I will credit Gere for giving his all even if that might not have been quite enough and just a little too much at same time. 


Psifonian said...

Yeah, figured this would be a distant fifth.

I despise the film in every way outside of Reilly and Latifah's work, and I only personally nominate the latter.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I pretty much hate the film outside of Gere, mostly because of his winking slice of ham.

Michael Patison said...

I know you found him somewhat underwhelming in Arbitrage, but I think he's really quite good and worthy of viewing in American Gigolo in 1980.

Anonymous said...

Can you please do 1978 soon :)

Louis Morgan said...

Michael: I'll have to check it out although my lead 1980 top ten is pretty tight.

Anonymous: I don't see why not although it will not be next.

Michael McCarthy said...

Okay now I think it'll be
1. Christopher Walken
2. Robin Williams
3. Bernard Hill
4. Andy Serkis
5. Paul Newman

moviefilm said...

First of all, thanks a lot for reviewing this performance.
And the second thing is a huge praise that I want to give you for this review. I really liked Gere's performance in Chicago before reading it, but there was something I couldn't name about it that didn't work for me. After this review I know it exactly. You named it for me and I thank you also for that...
But I would still not be so critical, maybe I'd give him 4, maybe 3.5 (if my mood was bad) ... :)

RatedRStar said...

h.a.t.e t.h.i.s f.i.l.m