Sunday, 3 November 2013

Alternate Best Actor 1999: Guy Pearce in Ravenous

Guy Pearce did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Captain John Boyd in Ravenous.

Ravenous, despite its poor critical reception, is a rather effective and most unusual thriller about cannibalism in a remote army base. I would say I can see how its style of a subtle absurdity, if that makes any sense, could turn some off it though.

Guy Pearce is an actor who recently has been cast in the wrong types of roles. For one thing Pearce should be a leading man, this is not to say he can't do well in a supporting part, but leading is where he excels best. I tend to always like Pearce except in the roles of one dimensional villains such as in The Count of Monte Cristo and in Iron Man 3. To be frank, he just seems out of place as villains as they are just not the parts for him and sincerely hope he and the casting directors stop placing him in such spots as he is a great actor when it comes to just about every other type of role but not a great actor when it comes to playing a villain. A weakness certainly but one that can easily be forgiven when he is so good in just about every other type of role.

Anyway with that rant of sorts over on to Ravenous which places Pearce where he should be in the role of Captain John Boyd who at the beginning of the film is a soldier who has recently been promoted during the Mexican American war although he only proved the hero by proving himself a coward who pretended to be dead which placed him under a sea of corpses. For several minutes in Pearce really does not say much of anything but, as he would show later in, The Proposition as well, he is amazing in portraying a powerful internal angst. The film really leaves it to him to show the guilt and shame in his character and Pearce handles his end flawlessly. Even without saying much of anything we see where Boyd is coming from even before he enters the secluded army base surrounded by the wilderness.

Boyd stays rather quiet and reserved until a strange man (Robert Carlyle) appears at the base, who claims to have survived a cannibalistic massacre although things quickly turn for the worse when it turns out that man was actually the cause of the massacre and wishes to make the men at the base his new meals. Guy Pearce is excellent here by just being a man who is way in over his head and correctly reflecting how someone would be in such a situation. While Carlyle, properly so, brings the absurdity of the situation alive through his insane performance Pearce off sets that very effectively by being the sane man in the situation who honestly shows exactly how most people would be through his performance that believably shows all the fear and disbelief that should be shown.

The cannibalism in this film is not shown to be just an extreme survival method but rather a powerful curse that makes you stronger and creates an irresistible urge for human blood once you've tasted a drop. Due to the Captain's time under his comrades' corpses suffers from the curse already. The curse might sound like a somewhat rather silly prospect, and really it is, but Pearce plays it so effectively actually bringing to life in a believable fashion. Robert Carlyle and Jeffrey Jones portray as both going way off the deep end, but Pearce keeps Boyd as the man who wants to retain his humanity and his performance stays far more reserved. Again though Pearce is a master of the silent internal conflict and portrays Boyd's struggle brilliantly.

Guy Pearce gives a pretty terrific performance here actually that does so much for the film. Captain Boyd is a man of few words and his whole point is not going crazy while others do so it would have been easy for him to have been overshadowed. Pearce though owns the film from beginging to end through his assured and thoughtful performance. He makes Boyd's struggle believable and as a guide for the absurd affair brings a surprising amount of realism with his performance. Due to his approach he really builds up the tension of the later scenes of the film because we do care about Boyd. His reactions to the insanity are always remarkable, a particularly love when Boyd sees his new commanding officer turns out to be the cannibal mystery man. This is a very solid turn by Guy Pearce and a good example of the strength as a leading man.

19 comments:

RatedRStar said...

I think he usually good too, I thought he was terrible in Prometheus =D as well.

Louis Morgan said...

Again I'd say that was him doing a thin villain again in a part that obviously should have been played by Max von Sydow.

RatedRStar said...

I can always tell when you have a liking of an actor =D, is that a sign that we ll probably be seeing Pearce more on this blog I imagine =).

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I liked him in everything... except Lawless. My God, I was not expecting him to be so awful. Every scene he looks like he just smelled a fart. The man is great when given subtle roles like Leonard Shelby or Lt. Exley, but when asked to ham it up he just simply cannot do it. My Worst Supporting Actor winner for 2012 in a landslide.

Michael McCarthy said...

I hope he gets reviewed for Memento.

RatedRStar said...

Louis, you know if I ever win a predictions again, im I allowed to choose a performance for the 2013 altenate categories, since im certain that the performance I will choose will not be nominated at this years Oscars since its only chance is best foreign language film.

Louis Morgan said...

RatedRStar: I think Guy Pearce will be returning, at least two more times without a doubt.

If that is a question, yes you can make an advanced request for 2013 although obviously you will have to wait awhile for that one.

koook160: I understand your problems with him there, and again playing a villain. I did not mind him in that only because that whole film was so disjointed I think he probably hammed it up so much that way it would seem like he had a point in the story, by making his character so obviously a VILLAIN type villain, since his character so randomly appeared.

RatedRStar said...

have a guess Louis =D, its pretty easy =D.

Louis Morgan said...

Tony Leung in the Grandmaster?

RatedRStar said...

=)

RatedRStar said...

that easy was it lol =D.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Actually Pearce was one of the main reasons I didn't like Lawless. It was disjointed and a major step down from Hillcoat's other works, but it had some interesting things. I personally thought Hardy deserved more credit than he got. The problem was that Charlie Rakes was not only poorly written, but Pearce's performance managed to make it more unbearable.

JackiBoyz said...

=D will this be like the 5th time you've asked for Tony Leung XD lol, I would have thought he was your favourite actor lol rather than Rains.

RatedRStar said...

@JackiBoyz : Well I cant really ask Louis for a Claude Rains performance from 2013 can I haha lol.

Louis Morgan said...

koook160: Hardy was good but again I think he suffered from the nature of the film once again since he was out of commission for such a long period of the film's running time.

Also why was Gary Oldman even in the film? I was hoping he would have been the actual villain in the end since he was bad ass in his two scenes, but then I wished they had not even cast him since I just kept wondering why he was even in it since his character ended up being pointless.

Matt Mustin said...

I completely agree about Guy Pearce. When given the right roles, he's fantastic. But he hasn't been given the right roles lately. I thought he was really bad in Iron Man 3. I didn't see Lawless but his performance in the trailer was laughable. I didn't really like him in The King's Speech, either.

RatedRStar said...

I thought the worst performances in The Kings Speech were Derek Jacobi and Timothy Spall both lol overacting it.

Matt Mustin said...

Oh, I HATED Spall. I merely disliked Pearce. I don't remember Jacobi.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I actually liked Pearce in The King's Speech. He made the character more human than the script wanted him to. Spall was hilariously bad.