Thursday, 6 November 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1977: Richard Attenborough in The Chess Players

Richard Attenborough did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying General James Outram in The Chess Players.

The Chess Players is an interesting enough and enjoyable film about the comic story of two chess players as well the process that results of the Indian Kingdom that they live is about be taken over by the British.

Richard Attenborough is the one major western actor in the film as the British General in charge of dealing with Britain's involvement in India. Attenborough has about four scenes or so and often it is to state some sort of exposition that moves the plot of the British takeover a little bit more. Thankfully it's Attenborough in this role which could have been easily forgotten in a lesser actor's hands. Attenborough's considerable presence is once again on display as he instantly commands every scene he is in, in the way a General like Outram should do. Attenborough though is always so fantastic, once again here, in just providing character in the way in which he delivers his fairly simple lines as in Outram's first scene where he is asking for information on the culture of the Kingdom from one of his men.

Attenborough always lively performance style works particularly well here to keep these scenes quite engaging even with their relatively simple intents. Attenborough knows how to play the proper British type, after all he played that part to perfection in Guns of Batasi, but it does not feel though Attenborough is simply playing his character from that earlier film Major Lauderdale. General Outram is not there to push his own personal conviction rather those of the crown. Attenborough though carries himself beautifully with that right manner but in this case kinda makes it a tad less intense. Outram, for the moment, is trying to find a peaceful solution and Attenborough fittingly conveys a certain ease in this performance. This is not to say he portrays Outram as not slightly taken aback by the Indian ways as Attenborough has a gentle critical manner as Outram asks certain questions to his man to try to get a bead on the people he must deal with.

Attenborough is quite effective here as he does not portray Outram as simply wishing to brush of the Indians as quickly as possible. Attenborough does portray the right forceful and that restricted passion key for his character. There's a palatable power in the personality he gives Outram as he learns of the new developments as well as goes about trying to negotiate with either the King or even his mother. What I really like about Attenborough's performance is the subtle way he does express a slight sympathy that Outram has for the plight of the King. It is not overpowering, as he's obviously must do his job, but Attenborough is quite effective in showing in Outram's eyes that he finds no pleasure in doing his duty. I do wish the film had let Attenborough explore the character a little more, you really can never have enough Attenborough after all, or at least a conclusion scene since his performance feels cut short. Nevertheless this is fine work from Richard Attenborough as he still manages to make Outram a compelling man with just a few minor scenes.

42 comments:

luke higham said...

Louis: What rating would you give Kahn.

luke higham said...

Louis: Seen any new films lately.

RatedRStar said...

I might as well say what new films I have seen recently since I can happily give ratings and opinions on actors/actresses who might be oscar nominated.

Mr Turner, Interstellar, Nightcrawler and The Babadook.

I am going to see The Skeleton Twins tomorrow.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

I have seen Intertstellar as well, haha, RatedRStar what was your general ratings for the cast? For me:

McConaughey: 4.5 (solid throughout as the hero to guide us through the story and his emotional segments are amazing. Really I preferred him here over The Dallas Buyers Club)
Hathaway: 3.5
Gyasi: 3.5 (severely limited, but he has one brilliant scene)
Bentley: 2.5
Irwin: 3.5 (loved his voice work)
Chastain: 4
Foy: 4
Burstyn: 4
Caine: 3
Affleck: 2.5 (really, really wasted)
Chalamet: 3
Lithgow: 2.5
Grace: 3
Damon: 3.5

Anonymous said...

I've heard the standouts of Interstellar are McConaughey and Chastain. What are your thoughts on the film as well? (Both RatedRStar and GDSAO) I think I'll go see it tomorrow

RatedRStar said...

McConaughey: 4.5
Hathaway: 3.5
Gyasi: 3
Bentley: 2
Irwin: 3.5
Chastain: 4 (bordering on 4.5)
Foy: 4
Burstyn: 3.5
Caine: 3
Affleck: 3
Chalamet: 3
Lithgow: 2.5
Grace: 2.5
Damon: 3.5

Its a divisive film definitely, but one that I quite liked, I love the look, I was always interested and never bored, I thought the acting was solid, and its got some interesting ideas and thoughts, I dont think it is a film about space, its a film about family, it kinda does a Sunshine and turns into a strange thriller when Damon appears lol which was kinda odd and a bit out of place just like it was in Sunshine but I mostly liked the film, I think it will become more popular and accepted in 10/15 years time given its 71% rating on RT.

luke higham said...

Just saw Interstellar, and I liked it quite a lot. I would actually put McConaughey close to a 5.
RatedRStar: Your Ratings on Timothy Spall, Jake Gyllenhaal and Essie Davis.

RatedRStar said...

@Luke:

Spall (4.5)
Gyllenhaal (5)
Davis (4.5)

Anonymous said...

@luke: ratings on the rest of the cast of Interstellar if you don't mind

luke higham said...

McConaughey: 5
Hathaway: 3.5
Gyasi: 3
Bentley: 2
Irwin: 3.5
Chastain: 4.5
Foy: 4
Burstyn: 3.5
Caine: 3
Affleck: 2.5
Damon: 3.5

luke higham said...

Louis: If you have seen anything new recently, can I have your ratings on the casts, as well as your thoughts on the films.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Just got back from Interstellar. REALLY loved it. My ratings for the cast;

McConaughey - 5
Hathaway - 3.5
Gyasi - 2
Chastain - 4
Foy - 3
Burstyn - 4
Bentley - 2.5
Caine - 3
Lithgow - 3
Irwin - 3
Affleck - 3
Damon - 4

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

3 for Kahn.

The Homesman - (A disappointing theatrically released follow up for Jones. The film never finds a tone to stick with therefore fails to make much of an impact in almost any regard. It goes from very heavy to very light in an often ineffective fashion, and the whole thing feels all to random. It's also very strange in that at times it feels quite plodding yet seems kinda rushed. It does have a few good scenes and elements, but not enough to make up for its problems)

Jones - 4(I frankly don't know why his direction did not match his performance, and just make the whole thing a dark comedy. Jones is a hoot though doing his harried old timer routine but with a comedic bent. His performance is the best part of the film, and I guess he should have taken note of himself)

Swank - 3(Props to the film as I did not see the conclusion of her character coming at all, but that isn't always a good thing. Anyway though she's basically a more vulnerable, and adult Mattie Ross, and in that regard Swank seems extremely well cast. In addition to that she does have some good moments, but as usual I do feel there's this awkwardness to her performance that keeps me from fully embracing her performance)

Gummer and Richter - 3(They both played crazy fairly well even though I think the film failed to really delve into that well enough. They did a fine job with what they were given though unlike...)

Otto - 2(Her performance just seemed far too much like a performance. She stood out from the other two just because her ACTING of the insanity seemed far more overcooked)

Fichtner - 2(A distracting performance as he was a bit too over the top villainous in a role of an uncaring husband. He needed to dial it back a bit and the cruelty of his character would have worked much better)

Streep - 2.5(She fine in her single scene, but she's certainly not a one scene wonder or anything like that though)

Spader - 3.5(Speaking of one scene wonders though Spader instantly creates a villain for a better western and manages to help create one of the scenes in the film that actually works really well)

Nelson - 3(Again another villain for a better western as he does sleazy western type quite well. Again another scene that worked and Nelson contributes to that greatly)

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, did you see The Sunset Limited? If so, could you give your ratings and thoughts on Jones and Jackson?

luke higham said...

Louis: When're you planning to see Interstellar.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts/ratings on:

Philip Seymour Hoffman in Magnolia
Jason Robards in Magnolia
William H Macy in Magnolia
Robert Carlyle in Ravenous
Peter Sarsgaard in Boys Don't Cry
Bruce McGill in The Insider
Hugo Weaving in The Matrix

RatedRStar said...

Time for my winning request Louis.

1998 is the best year in hong kong cinema, hence why I have already requested two for that year (Anthony Wong and Tony Leung Chiu Wai)

Louis, My winning request is one of a 3 way tie I had for Hong kong 1998 supporting which some people may or may not remember, one was Patrick Tam in Beast Cops but you will see him in that anyway since I requested Anthony Wong in lead, the second was Alex Fong, but since you had seen Alex Fong in a film, that leaves one out of the three left, and that is an actor who is also in Beast Cops, but he was nominated for.......

Sam Lee - The Longest Summer (Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1998)

RatedRStar said...

Since Jack requested Leslie Cheung, and I requested Lau Ching Wan (2007) Liu Ye and Lam Suet (Bonus reviews) that only leaves one hong kong actor left for me to suggest before you essentially have seen all the hong kong greats Louis, and you will be seeing him also in Beast Cops alongside Anthony Wong, Patrick Tam and Sam Lee.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Roy Cheung!!!

RatedRStar said...

=)

RatedRStar said...

I should say I saw The Skeleton Twins, and I mostly liked it, I liked the performances, but the tone is a bit off at times.

Michael McCarthy said...

Daniel: I'd be interested in hearing your extended thoughts as I also really enjoyed it but I still had my problems with it. Can you elaborate?

RatedRStar said...

@Michael: Ill start with the performances, I think Bill Hader brings a nice bitchyness lol if thats the word, to his character while also having a rather grim look on everything, while Wiig is rather the opposite, Luke Wilson is actually quite funny as completely charmless person who actually manages to still be likable lol, My main problem with the film is that I think Ty Burrell, and the plot with him and his relationship with Hader is just, really not delved into all that much, I also didnt laugh at some of the humour but I smiled most of the times, I kinda wish the film was just Hader, Wiig, Wilson and no one else lol, but ah well lol, its a very big hearted film, and all I have to say now is.......
Michael, NOTHINGS GONNA STOP US NOW =D.

RatedRStar said...

I should say, so far, I have yet to see a bad lead performance in any of the films I have seen so far, I wonder, if there will be any this oscar season.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Can you try to predict how many 5's Louis will give for lead this year, even if your predicted total doesn't turn out the way it is.

RatedRStar said...

I reckon, actually before I do that I should say the Premier League is boring now lol title race is already over Luke lol,

Anyway, well I have to say who I think will be nominated, I think it will be, Keaton, Carell, Redmayne, Cumberbatch and O Connell, it is likely that 5th spot could change but the other 4 I am confident with.

I reckon there will be 2 fives, for Keaton and O Connell (thats if he is nominated)

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: I actually meant for the overall, not just the official nominees.

I partially agree with you on the Premier League being boring at the moment, but with our undefeated run and stroll to the title, I couldn't care less, I'm going to enjoy this for all its worth.

RatedRStar said...

I will be seeing The Imitation Game next week so, we will see about Cumberbatch =D.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: I'd still give Carell a chance for a 5 though. If Spall's nominated, I can definitely see one for him as well.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: If Louis does happen to see O'Connell in 71' and Starred Up, who do you think will have the best overall body of work this year, O'Connell, Tom Hardy (Locke & The Drop) or Christoph Waltz ( The Zero Theorem and Big Eyes).

RatedRStar said...

Ah right well, quite a few, I would say these will get a 5


Tom Hardy - Locke
Brendan Gleeson - Calvary
Jake Gyllenhall - Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Jack O Connell - Unbroken


Possibly Ralph Fiennes, Timothy Spall as well but there will be others mos likely

RatedRStar said...

I think that Hardy will, his performance in Locke is amazing, and The Drop looks like solid work, I dont expect Louis (I might be wrong) to have seen 71 and Starred Up, same with The Zero Theorem so Hardy for me, but then again Tom Hardy is Britains Brando =) I just said that lol.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: From what I've seen, I think by Louis's Criteria, which is explained on Phoenix's review for Her, I would add McConaughey and Hoffman to that list.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: He has seen Waltz in The Zero Theorem.

RatedRStar said...

Yes It is possible that Hoffman and Matthew will get 5s, and ah right, well Waltz never gives bad performances so its possible.

Anonymous said...

@RatedRStar: What are your top 10 films of 2014 so far?

RatedRStar said...

1) Interstellar
2) Brotherhood Of Blades
3) Nightcrawler
4) Locke
5) Pride
6) The Grand Budapest Hotel
7) Gone Girl
8) Mr Turner
9) The Skeleton Twins
10) The Babadook

RatedRStar said...

That list could change of course, and most likely will eventually.

Michael McCarthy said...

Daniel: my main problem with the film was that every part of the plot was underwritten, from the tension between the twins, to mother's role, to Hader and Burrell's history. I just thought there should've been more to everything. Having said that, I really liked all of the main performances, including Burrell's (I actually think the two of them did a marvelous job of suggesting their complicated past just through their performances) and I thought almost all of the dialogue felt very organic and real.

RatedRStar said...

Dance with me Michael =D lol haha.

Michael McCarthy said...

Daniel...all I can say is...will you go to prom with me?

Louis Morgan said...

Matt: Haven't seen it but I ought to watch it just to be a Jones completest.

Luke: I'll be seeing it on Monday.

Anonymous:

I believe I've given my thoughts on The Magnolia Men and McGill before.

Carlyle - (A re-watch could easily move him up in the overall ranking as I thought he was pretty, well, awesome as the villain. He goes from being genuinely harrowing in his initial scenes to such a deliciously (pun intended) evil villain. Carlyle does a particularly great job of playing the absurd role, and relishing in it, while never becoming too much)

Sarsgaard - (He's good in combining just the pure sleaze of the character's brutality but as well still bringing a certain sleazy charm to the part as well)

Weaving - (He gives the best performance in the film as he does cold calculated menace quite effectively. What I actually like best of the performance is the way he shows the way Smith seems to slowly gain emotions as if he is slowly gaining too much sentience for his own good)