Sunday, 11 May 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2009: Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Watchmen

Jeffrey Dean Morgan did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Edward "Eddie" Blake a.k.a The Comedian in Watchmen.

It is not a spoiler to say that Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character The Comedian dies in the film as his death is depicted in the opening scene of the film. The Comedian death acts as the catalyst for the plot basically as Rorschach tries to investigate why the man was killed. As in some mysteries that starts with the death of someone we learn more about them through a series of flashbacks. This is certainly the case for The Comedian who spent his time influencing more than a few events as well as people, and we slowly learn more about him through the memories of the various people in the film all of whom were also former heroes or in one case a former villain. Although The Comedian was known as one of the super heroes the Comedian is far from being someone that anyone would likely call a hero.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan has quite a challenge in the deceased Comedian as he surely is an extremely unlikable character, and it would be easy enough to make him repulsive to the point of being unwatchable. In the earliest scene with him chronologically we see the Comedian meeting with the early superhero group known as the Minutemen. After having their photo taken together the Comedian soon after proceeds to try and rape Sally Jupiter also known as the Silk Spectre. Despite the nature of the character Morgan carries himself with this extremely sly charm and he turns the Comedian into a particularly charismatic figure in almost all of his flashbacks no matter what deplorable act he may be committing. This includes his starting act which Morgan is brutally effective in.

The odd charm he does bring to the comedian does not waver even in his attempted rape sequence in fact Morgan portrays The Comedian actions are part of a certain ego and the philosophy that Morgan helps to creates in the man. Morgan creates a fierce presence and personality with the Comedian which affirms The Comedian's behavior as a man who very much feels he is wiser than others, but problematic when intertwined with his cynical nature. The Comedian despite being one of the heroes holds absolutely no views that the world is anything but a bad place with worthless people in them. Morgan plays the cynicism perfectly into any scene as almost that since everyone is bad The Comedian might as well have a good time well he is here, and Morgan portrays the joy with his unpleasant behavior as an effortless combination.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes a strong impact in every one of the flashback scenes in which he appears. Morgan tears through every scene he is in the realization of that nihilistic philosophy, and every one his responses to the more optimistic thoughts of the others truly carry the right sting. Morgan though goes even further with his performance though and one of the best elements of his performance is realizing that slight morality in The Comedian that is perhaps one of the few reasons he ever claimed to be on the side of the law. One of his best scenes is when he and the powerful Dr. Manhattan confront each after the Vietnam war. The scene has Comedian commit yet another atrocity as he murders a local woman he impregnated. Morgan's fantastic because again he is unflinching in showing The Comedian's action come from his mindset, but what is most striking is just the briefest moment of regret when he bluntly questions why Dr. Manhattan did not simply stop him.

Morgan is terrific by bringing a great power to these mild moments of a heart beneath all of The Comedian's hatred. Morgan gives this moments an actual poignancy by earning them so completely, and making Comedian far more than just an evil man. Morgan in turn also explains the seemingly unexplainable scenes as he reported by an old nemesis. The scene has The Comedian weeping filled with regret as he seems unable to deal with something which he sees worse than all that he does in his time, which eventually is revealed to be his knowledge of Ozymandias's plan which involves mass murder. All of Morgan's other scenes makes the breakdown of The Comedian genuine to the man he creates through the rest of his performance. Although his screen time is sparse Morgan makes a profound impact on the film, and honestly creates the supposed influence of the Comedian on the other characters. He meets the complexity of the character head on and gives a profound depiction of all the memories the man crafted with his life.

15 comments:

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

"It was only a matter of time I suppose"

luke higham said...

Excellent Performance
Louis: Can I have a ranking for Gary Oldman & Daniel Day Lewis's Performances from Best to Worst.

RatedRStar said...

Ive never seen Watchmen but, I liked him a lot in Supernatural.

Michael McCarthy said...

Luke: I feel like Louis probably wants to wait until he gives his overall ranking for the year before he lists which of the two he preferred.

luke higham said...

Michael: Fine, I'll ask again later on.

Psifonian said...

Definitely the best un-nominated turn from a supporting actor that year, and I actually prefer his performance to Heath Ledger's Oscar win when it comes to comic book adaptations. There's a great deal of emotional subtext that he brings to the part. Shame he's against an all-time great turn from Christoph Waltz.

Matt Mustin said...

Another great performance.

Michael Patison said...

I've always thought he was a really underused/poorly used actor. His recurring guest role during one of Grey's Anatomy's early seasons was great, though Katherine Heigl, as always, threatened to derail the proceedings.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

HEIGLLLLLLLLLL! *fist to the sky*

Michael Patison said...

She should have just stuck to modelling. That Emmy win over Sandra Oh and the unnominated players from Battlestar Galactica still pisses me off.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I don't mind that she called Grey's Anatomy crap. It kind of is. I don't care that she called Knocked Up sexist. It kind of is. But when you play one awful character after another, all wrapped in an oversized ego, then we have a problem. I don't necessarily even think she's that *bad*, just way too overconfident for someone who has yet to take any chances. That smugness rubs off in most of her performances.

Matt Mustin said...

I mind that she called Knocked Up misogynist because EVERYTHING SHE'S DONE SINCE is MUCH more sexist than Knocked Up is.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Well yeah, that's what bugs me. Knocked Up is still sort of sexist.

Kevin said...

Hey Louis, what are your ratings and thoughts on Thomas Kretschmann in The Pianist, Daniel Bruhl in Inglorious Basterds, Joseph Gordon Levitt in The Lookout, and Cruise, Stamp, Nighy, Branagh and Wilkinson in Valkyrie?

Louis Morgan said...

Kretschmann - 4(He is great in his first scene as he leaves the mystery of his appearance open in just the right way. He's also quite moving though in his honest portrayal of his character's goodness)

Bruhl - 3.5(Bruhl has a certain endearing quality as brings such a genuine naivety to the role that makes his actions understandable. He loses this quality quite adeptly though to make his outburst completely natural)

Gordon-Levitt - 4(Gordon-Levitt is very good here in giving his character's trauma relevance to his performance without overwhelming his work. It's a solid performance that really carries the thriller well)

Valkyrie:

Cruise - 3(Cruise really was overly bashed with this performance. It takes the 50/60's style Nazi drama where no one but German born actors have accent which is fine I guess since it is consistent in that regard, not to mention when you get right down to it is the least of its problems. Cruise does not do anything special here but he gives the part more than passion to handle his somewhat thing heroic role)

The Supporting guys - 2.5(Really they were all solid, but I think one of the major problems of the film is that it does not flesh out the conspirators well at all. They did what they could, but there just was not enough there for them)