Saturday, 28 September 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1987: Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride

Mandy Patinkin did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.

The Princess Bride is an extremely enjoyable fairy tale about a hero Westley (Cary Elwes) who must save his one true love Buttercup (Robin Wright).

Practically the whole cast is worth mentioning as their performances make up this delightful film. Chris Sarandon is the perfect weasel as the cowardly yet egotistical Prince Humperdink, Christopher Guest out Rathbones Basil Rathbone as Humperdink's far more competent second in command Count Tyrone Rugen, Wallace Shawn is at his very best at doing his Wallace Shawn thing as a villain who thinks he is much smarter then he actually is, and even Andre the Giant is incredibly endearing as a giant who is far too gentle for his task as an evil henchmen. Even though I enjoy all of those performances a great deal my favorite performance in the film without question is delivered by Mandy Patinkin.

Mandy Patinkin plays Ingio Montoya who at the beginning of the film works for the evil schemer Vizzini (Shawn) who kidnaps Buttercup to start a war. Ingio is a henchmen to the bad guy although he is not bad himself merely because otherwise he would just be a drunk. Patinkin establishes the nature of Ingio very effectively early on as a noble figure who is far greater than his current job. Patinkin is effortless in his creation of the heroic nature of the man. Every line he has has such a beautiful conviction about everything that he says. Patinkin is incredibly endearing in being an absolutely true man of honor.

Patinkin though also gives a very comedic performance which he seamlessly blends with the straight forward elements of his portrayal. Patinkin has such an ease with his comic timing here that it flows flawlessly with the technically more serious moments given to the character of Ingio. Patinkin is just hilarious though and plays the perfect sort of game with his performance where he is always so straight forward yet some of his moments are just hilarious in a much more broad way.  Patinkin always puts just the right emphasis to make every funny moment really fly freely to the point of comedic goal without ever making his character seem even slightly over the top.

Everything works about Patinkin's work here including his chemistry with both Andre the Giant and Cary Elwes. With Andre the Giant they are the perfect group of side heroes in the story who together try to save the day even though they have a problem with a half dead hero. Patinkin and Andre the Giant have the right natural friendship and every one of their scenes together are just a delight to watch. The same is true for he and Elwes who are pure perfection at the witty banter when they sword fight early on the film. The two really make a proper exciting dance of it not only in their physical performances but as well in their mixing of words as the two get to know each other well they fight to the death.

The true greatness of Patinkin's performance though can be summed in one line "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.". He first says it quietly to Westley and describes his quest to avenge his father's death by the man with six fingers on one hand. Patinkin brings such conviction as he espouses Ingio's desire and creates such a sympathy for Ingio's desperate struggle. Patinkin in his lovely delivery though suggests the love Ingio had for his father and the sadness that his death brought to him. In just this one speech I wanted him to get his revenge even though we are only told the story and technically at this point Ingio is just a henchmen to a villain of the piece.

The very best scene of the film and maybe the very best scene of 1987 comes when Ingio finally meets the six fingered man Count Tyrone Rugen (Guest) for a duel to the death. Patinkin is flawless in his performance of the scene making it a perfect blend of drama and comedy. Patinkin very movingly finds the drama as Ingio faces several setbacks through wounds he suffers and is quite heartbreaking when for a moment Ingio seems to accept defeat. This only succeeds in making his comeback all the greater as he gains the upper hand as he repeats the immortal line again and again. Patinkin find brings such humor in his line through his increasingly heroic delivery of the line even while Ingio is suffering from several wounds. 

The greatest moment comes when Ingio has the Count cornered and Ingio forces the Count to beg through bribes building up to the moment of ultimate satisfaction with the line of "I want my father back, you son of a bitch!". Patinkin's delivery gives me chills every time I watch the scene and it makes Ingio revenge so sweet. This is a great great performance by Mandy Patinkin who does not just steal every scene he is in but steals the film itself as I found myself more invested by Ingio's story then even the main storyline. I just love this entire performance by Patinkin that is a magnificent combination of a pitch perfect comedy and a real dramatic passion.


Michael McCarthy said...

Damn this year's packed...

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Fuck, I KNEW I should have predicted him first. Alas, my love for Hopper blinded me.

As for Patinkin, well yeah, this is certainly one iconic performance that lives up to its reputation. He is extremely charming on every level.

Anonymous said...

He'll win, based on this review.

mrripley said...

This is one of those films whose love and adoration i just don't get and i have tried 3 times to watch it and find unwatchable,i liked willow more.

Psifonian said...

YES. My win, son!

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

@mrripley: "I liked Willow more". Four words I believe have been spoken once, and will never be spoken again.