Saturday, 22 February 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1992: Paul McGann in Alien 3

Paul McGann did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Golic in Alien 3.

Alien 3 tends to be a heavily bashed film, but I rather dug it even if some of the visual effects are quite poor. I suppose maybe if you've seen Aliens first though you probably will take exception to the instant demise of the characters from Aliens, but Sigourney Weaver's great performance alone should stop this film from being instantly dismissed. Then again I've only watched the apparently superior assembly cut.

The film though should not be dismissed anyway though as I was surprised by the strong performances from most of the supporting actors particularly Charles Dance's kind yet troubled doctor, Charles S. Dutton's strong willed spiritual leader of the prisoners, and of course Paul McGann as Golic one of the most troublesome inmates on the planet. At the beginning of the film Golic is a formerly deranged killer, although he has since mellowed out through the religion of the men, but even with that he still seems a bit off to say the least and the other inn mates still do not exactly jump to have to be around him. The role of Golic is technically one of pure insanity even when he is saner at the beginning of the film as he is completely mentally unhinged man, since even among killers and rapists he seems crazy.

This type of role is a ripe one for all sorts of overacting and in most cases it probably would not help that it is also a sci-fi horror film where sometimes actors take an excuse to act extremely poorly. McGann's performance though is a revelation as I think he gives better portrayal of insanity and mental disability than many actors who play those sort of roles in more "serious minded" films. McGann is only ever Golic with this performance as he resists any moment to overact, and even though his portrayal is technically speaking acting at its most extreme you really won't notice it because of  how good McGann is in the role. The way he moves, the way he talks, and all of his little physical tics all are made by McGann as part of Golic and it is quite a fascinating performance to watch.

The Alien makes mince meat out of a few of the prisoners with Golic being the only survivor out of the small group of men, and we get a bit of a different horror reaction out of McGann. It's still a reaction of fear, but McGann is remarkable in showing an already deranged man become more deranged. The scene technically is pretty simple as it is just a few men getting killed with Golic having to react and then run away as fast as possible can after seeing the monster. It is made incredibly memorable by McGann keeping with his character in the moment. When Golic runs in from fright it is quite different as the man also reverts at the same time. It's an outstanding moment for McGann as it is fascinating to see him pull off the mental decay of Golic so exceptionally well in his portrayal of the change of Golic.

In the early scene McGann made Golic as quite insane but properly reflected the effect of the prison in him which made him a repressed insanity although still insane. Once Golic sees the alien though McGann holds nothing back in turning Golic into a man completely controlled by his derangement and it is something to behold. McGann turns Golic into a mostly gibbering mess though its amazing because he actually goes to edge without faulting once giving a startling depiction that honestly makes the idea of the alien more frightening through his performance than the alien really is in this film. Golic only continues in the wrong direction when he once again witnesses the monster, who does not kill him and something sets off in him as he seems to worship the alien which McGann is completely convincing in Golic's captivation.

Ripley and the other convicts manage to trap the Alien but Golic sets to free what he sees as his savior of sorts. Again Golic's whole scene could have been nothing but it is astonishing because of McGann's fervent depiction of the uncontrollable craziness. McGann never becomes one note even the character is technically one element but McGann never gives into one set attitude but rather is compelling through the randomness of Golic's mind. One of the most disturbing moments is just before Golic releases the alien as he kills the man guarding the door. McGann does not do cold, but is more disconcerting by showing Golic genuinely repentant toward the act. It might seem bizarre but McGann only leaves it as part of who Golic is.

The role of Golic is actually pretty much a throwaway part, and I find it very easy to see how a lesser performance would have treated the character as just an excuse to act wacky for awhile or really been a completely forgettable character all together. This is particularly noticeable in that apparently in the theatrical release it is just assumed that he dies off screen, and even in the version I saw Golic still is fairly quickly done away with and off screen but with an actual reason. I frankly would have wished for Golic to continue into the film as McGann's performance is such an interesting portrait of insanity to watch. He gives it his all and he only succeeds in giving vivid life to his character's madness.

37 comments:

Matt Mustin said...

Have you seen Aliens?

Louis Morgan said...

No I haven't, so that might have helped.

luke higham said...

Louis: ratings for the cast.

Matt Mustin said...

I haven't seen any of them but the first one, although I do really need to get around to it.

Psifonian said...

So glad that you took to McGann. The scene where he slashes Arthur's throat and immediately apologizes like a child who just spilled something on the carpet is both terrifying and heartbreaking.

And yes, you definitely need to see the other two films. I had no idea you didn't already see them.

What would you rate Weaver? In my mind, this performance is her finest ever.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Weaver - 5
Dance - 4.5
Dutton - 4.5
Glover - 2.5
Brown - 3
Webb - 3
Henriksen - 2.5
Postlethwaite - 3.5

Matt Mustin said...

I find that Sigourney Weaver always gives a reliable performance, even if the film is far from great. Gorillas in the Mist, for example.

luke higham said...

Louis: thoughts on Weaver, Dutton & Dance.

Kevin said...

Louis, are you planning on reviewing Hurt, Holm and the other supporting players in Alien for 1979 Supporting Actor?

Also, what is your rating and thoughts on Weaver's performance in Alien?

Kevin said...

Also Louis, I highly recommend checking out Aliens, Weaver's performance in it is excellent as well, James Cameron's directing is also excellent. It definitely does not measure up to Alien, but it is an extremely entertaining film.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Weaver (Absolutely devastating performance as she reflects not only the severity of her current situation but also builds off her performances in the other films by showing how her experiences have worn her away)

Dance (Almost co-lead, although only in a Janet Leigh in Pyscho sort of way. He balances out the inquisitive side with a genuine warmth but as well the appropriate haunted quality to the doctor. I was rather sad to see him exit the film when he does)

Dutton (One of the pleasant surprises for me was that the men's religion was actually treated with some reverence which is headed by Dutton's Dillon. Dutton is terrific in being truthful as a spiritual leader, but as well does not beat around the bush in recognizing the character's past as a rapist. It's a weird combination but Dutton makes it work.)

Kevin: Holm is basically guaranteed and we shall see about the others when I get to that year.

Weaver would probably be a five for that as well, although I think I will give more refined thoughts when I rewatch it for 79.

Anonymous said...

Louis , how old are you and are you from america or UK ?

Kevin said...

Louis, have you seen The Hunt starring Mass Mikkelsen? If so, can you do a review of him?

RatedRStar said...

Rant time..

I really hated the opening of this, and it just never recovered for me, the fact that the Aliens characters, especially the little girl were killed off in such a lazy way, made it seem like there was no point in seeing Aliens, cause it was like "Well, you know the characters aside from Ripley that survived Aliens, they died in the next film" that is just such an insulting spit in the face to all of the Aliens fans. They could have said something like " the characters woke up before Ripley and were evacuated safely, that would have worked much better"

RatedRStar said...

Did anybody see Paul McGann as the Doctor in the Doctor Who television film, cause even though I thought the tv film was below average, he was pretty solid =).

Psifonian said...

RatedRStar--

I would care more of the series were about Newt and Hicks, but it wasn't. It was about Ripley. The whole point of the series was about Ripley and how the alien affected her life and existence. Newt and Hicks were superfluous to the story as a whole. "Aliens" was supposed to offer hope that Ripley could get past it, but she couldn't, and that was what "Alien 3" was about. "Alien" was about birth, "Aliens" about motherhood, "Alien 3" about death. Not to mention that a movie made six years later would have to deal with Carrie Henn aging significantly despite being in hypersleep.

Also, McGann was the best Doctor.

RatedRStar said...

I dont know if I would go so far as to say McGann is the best doctor but I liked him and wished there was more of him since we dont see much of him nowadays, and I get that the Alien series is about Ripley, although I would say Aliens is about Ripley and Newt, because, most of the film, is either Ripley protecting her and treating her like her own daughter, or the squad engaging in bloody and intense fights with the Xenos.

RatedRStar said...

I am also surprised that you havnt seen it Louis, it is a pretty great intense film with a lot of epic badassness, if thats a word lol =D.

Matt Mustin said...

I know he's not a fan of James Cameron, so that might've kept him away.

RatedRStar said...

Understandable lol I think Cameron is one of the most overrated directors Evaaa lol.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Same here, BIG TIME!

Cameron's a heap of shit.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I usually like Cameron as an action director. The second half of Titanic wins me over every time due to the massive spectacle of the ship sinking and the feeling it gives. As a writer, he's fucking atrocious. He needs to stop writing his own films and just get Joss Whedon to write for him or something.

RatedRStar said...

um =) speaking of wonderfully bad writers, Louis are you gonna see Winters Tale lol =).

luke higham said...

I liked the sinking of the titanic as a scene, but I fucking hated Cameron's Bastardisation of the true story of the ship, before its sinking with an abysmal love story. But unfortunately, you just can't have it the way it should be.

I'll say that other than the portrayal of Murdoch, I really liked the way the real life characters were portrayed, especially the two men in the crow's nest & Captain Smith.

RatedRStar said...

I think the beat film version was A Night to Remember (1958) since it wasn't a love story, but a suspenseful story which is what it really would have been.

RatedRStar said...

I meant to say best film version lol.

Michael McCarthy said...

I was pleasantly surprised by this film! The acting was waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Aliens, as was the direction, even though there were a few writing problems. I'm also glad Louis liked Charles Dance as much as I did.

Matt Mustin said...

By the way, I didn't think about this, but I really, REALLY hope he doesn't beat Hackman.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous: I'd rather not say although you probably can estimate on both fairly easily.

Kevin: Still have not seen him, I really need to get around to it.

RatedRStar: I must admit I do have a morbid curiosity in A Winter's Tale.

Matt: I'll admit Cameron does not inspire to rush to see it, but I have not been avoiding just for whatever reason I haven't watched it. I will definitely be watching it before supporting 86 though.

Michael: I'm glad you were surprised as well.

Mark said...

If I'm allowed to take a wild guess, Louis, I'd say you're from the USA and that you're in your late 20's, around 28 or 29

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

He's older than that. He mentioned seeing The Fly when it came out in 1986, or something like that.

Louis Morgan said...

Robert: I never said that rather I said that I had merely watched many years ago.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

How long is "many"?

Louis Morgan said...

Back in the 90's anyway.

Michael Patison said...

We all know we won't successfully coax him into telling us how old he is. I would guess, however, that he's around his late 20s like Mark did.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what are your thoughts on Max von Sydow in Shutter Island, since I remember you giving him a surprisingly high ranking in your overall, as well as your ratings and thoughts on the cast of Kick-Ass?

Louis Morgan said...

Matt: Shutter Island is the film of the supporting players and the one scene wonders and von Sydow is definitely one of them. He's a great at being the evil "Nazi" doctor and nicely adds to the atmosphere of paranoia by being just so deliciously suspicious.

Cast of Kick-Ass:

Cage 3.5(Very enjoyable Adam West impersonation as well as overly enthusiastic comic geek. I wish he had actually be given more to do)

Strong 3.5(Doing his more typical villain routine which he does well, with a slight comic bent which he also does well)

Mintz-Plasse 2.5(Doing his usual thing which works well enough here I guess)

Johnson 2(Kinda dull and really could have been a much funnier character with another actor)

Moretz 4.5(A far more effective action lead than Johnson, and she gives an enjoyable performance but also does bring some dramatic weight when needed)