Friday, 21 February 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1992: Steve Buscemi in Reservoir Dogs

Steve Buscemi did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite winning an Independent Spirit Award, for portraying Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs.

Mr. Pink is the only jewel thief who is not compromised in some way Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) becomes too much of a mentor to Mr. Orange, which is a problem because Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) spoiler is very compromised because he is a cop,  Mr. Blonde(Michael Madsen) might know how to get things done but he is very problematic because of his psychotic behavior, Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker) is too busy being a red herring, and Mr. Brown is very compromised not because not only does he die soon after the robbery he's also unfortunately played by Quentin Tarantino. That leaves Mr. Pink, the non-tipper, as the only man who really wants to be a professional even after the job has gone seriously wrong.

Steve Buscemi is an actor who does not really need to convince you that he is criminal through any sort of performance technique, he just naturally has that shady look about him. Well Buscemi does not toy with this in anyway for sure and fits together will the very well cast array of crooks in the film. Buscemi though has the right demeanor in his performance during the various flashbacks in the films that reveal what the men were doing before they went to the robbery. Buscemi even here carries the right relaxed approach that suggests Pink's calmer nature. How Buscemi does this though is portray Pink as a man rather relaxed in his circumstances who treats the upcoming proceedings as just a thing he does from day to day being a professional and all.

Buscemi is very good and even rather enjoyable by taking this approach in the flashbacks and does well not to oversell the more humorous lines he has. In his own monologue about his preference not to tip Buscemi plays it very to the point in a realistic fashion. In doing so he is very effectively setting up Pink as a naturally calculating sort, and looking at things too much is just his way of doing things. The same goes for when they are assigned the name and he is forced to take exception with the color choice given to him. Buscemi makes the reaction appropriately amusing by once again delivering it naturally as possible making basically the reaction that most men would have after being given the unfortunate name he is given.

His demeanor of course changes quite severely though once they make it to the warehouse after the botched robbery. Buscemi is extremely effective in bringing the needed intensity to the situation. He plays Pink very well by giving the right agitation as well volatility in his performance that sums of the feelings of man who does not know what's going on but wants to. Buscemi's best moments are when Pink reacts to the more extreme behavior by some of his cohorts. Buscemi's reactions are perfect in expressing the disbelief of the others, and reinforces always the fact that Pink is a professional above else. My favorite moment of his has to be his strained plea during the Mexican standoff that sums up how a sane man would view the insane situation quite nicely.

Buscemi's work is all together a solid work that adds to the film nicely and fulfills Pink's part of the dynamic of men incredibly well. I would not describe this as one of those supporting performances that steals the film though. He is indeed my favorite out of the cast, but that is not to say he always makes the strongest impression in every scene, I would say he makes the strongest in many scenes but not all. I don't want to sound like I am really criticizing Buscemi in anyway though as he handles the material just as he should, and really the only thing that really holds him back is the nature of the film. It's a very good performance by Buscemi although his best portrayal of a criminal would come as a less professional sort.


Matt Mustin said...

What are your thoughts on Tim Roth and Michael Madsen?

Kevin said...

Haha I assume the best performance you are talking about would be for his excellent turn in Fargo?

Mark said...

Has Tarantino ever gotten a rating higher than 1 from you, Louis?

Matt Mustin said...

Mark: Has he ever deserved one?

Michael Patison said...

What are your ratings and thoughts on Fred Gwynne and Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny?

Kevin said...

Add-on to Michael's question, what are your ratings and thoughts on Joe Pesci's performance in My Cousin Vinny?

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Hope that cliffhanger's a precursor to Buscemi in Fargo :) Btw, what are your ratings for:

Edward Norton in Moonrise Kingdom
Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Elizabeth Debicki in The Great Gatsby
Richard E. Grant in Withnail and I

Louis Morgan said...

Matt: Madsen(He brings the right Lee Marvin style cool to his killer, but I never find myself loving what he does in the role)

Roth(Nicely handled even if his accent is a bit odd at times. He's good at being in agonizing pain, and he has just the right awkwardness around the other criminals in the flashback scenes suggesting the reveal but not giving it away)

Mark: Not that I can recollect. There are some directors who can act he's not one of them.


Gwynne - 4(I pretty much have liked Gwynne in everything I've seen him in, and he's really enjoyable here playing the jerk judge)

Tomei - 4.5(Hilarious and very entertaining performance with her Oscar win being rightfully deserved)


Pesci - 4(Proves himself quite capable of not having to play a violent man with his very likable and humorous turn)


Norton - 4

Haven't seen the others.

Anonymous said...

Louis, sorry to go off topic, but for 1990 Supporting Actor can you please consider Gary Oldman in State of Grace?

Louis Morgan said...

I certainly will.

Kevin said...

Louis, can you please review Kevin Bacon's excellent performance in The Woodsman for 2004 Best Actor?

JackiBoyz said...

Heres a question for everyone, which character from Glengarry Glen Ross matches your own personality the most lol, I think mines would be Alan Arkins simply because he is very laid back and doesnt get involved in heated debates lol.

Louis Morgan said...

Kevin: He's definitely in the running for one of the elusive spots in that year.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: will you be reviewing Jim Carrey & Bruno Ganz for 2004.

Louis Morgan said...

Again we'll see but they are likely.