Thursday, 29 January 2015

Alternate Best Actor 2014: Guy Pearce in The Rover

Guy Pearce did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Eric in The Rover.

The Rover is an interesting film that takes place in kind of a less bombastic version Mad Max's Australia, and depicts one man's bloody quest to retrieve his stolen car.

Guy Pearce plays the role of Eric who actually is never named during the film, only given one in the credits, and technically speaking he is a man with no name. Guy Pearce seems to be a fit for the part of the lone hero in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, in fact he played a last minute hero in The Road. Guy Pearce may physically look the part but Eric is not exactly dressed as you might expect. There's no cool heroic outfit, just a very casual shirt, shorts, and shoes, nothing to make him stand out exactly. Pearce though does carry himself partially as you might expect. Pearce has that steely gaze, and is completely effortless in the way he commands the screen. There is something so precise about Pearce's movements as Eric as he seems always abundantly certain of his next movement. There is no thinking about it he knows, and he certainly does not need to consult anyone else on any matter. Of course there is a distance Pearce creates in his manner, although in a different film you could view all of this as being just the manner of a bad ass hero, the thing is Eric's not a hero.

Eric's quest is caused by three criminals who swipe his car and make off with it, and Eric goes about trying to get it back. One of his first steps is to retrieve a gun from a dealer. Eric does not have any money to pay for it so Eric shoots the man in the head, who probably was not especially savory, but that's not the reason why Eric shot him, he just wanted the gun. Pearce is amazing in the part because of what he actually does is present a fascinating depiction of a certain amorality in Eric. His killings aren't for pleasure, nor for some sort of justice, but rather just something he just needs to do in terms of simply getting by. Pearce is very chilling by having such a detachment involved in the scenes where Eric goes about murdering people whether they were attacking him or not. There isn't a second thought in the process Pearce depicts it almost as just a job to do, but not really quite in that he seems to say that Eric isn't even that invested in the killing. Pearce is brilliantly disconcerting here as he kinda twists the usual sort of post-apocalyptic hero in something really quite brutal.

It's an interesting thing that Pearce somehow manages to not become someone that's too off-putting to become invested in. I suppose one could argue Pearce's considerable charisma allows this, but actually Pearce dials that down, although his particularly strong screen presence still obviously quite evident. I would say part of the reason is in his exact way that he shows that Eric's manner towards violence. Pearce is fantastic as he some how finds a different path as he's definitely not a cool action hero here, but he does not come off like the usual soulless killer type either. Eric is not an Anton Chigurh type. Pearce finds something else here that is very intriguing. The way Pearce interacts with everyone and everything has that same detachment, as he seems to even look past the people that may be speaking to them to something else. Pearce suggests Eric is almost of another mindset than anything else, and this is a brilliant approach on Pearce's part. Pearce's performance creates the idea that much of Eric's mind is another place so when he needs to interact with the present he does it without hesitation.

Eric's mind is somewhere though because this is not an unemotional performance despite Eric's cold treatment of the living. There is in fact a great emotional intensity within the technically calm reserve in Eric. Pearce probably does not even raise his voice once during his performance yet Pearce is absolutely searing in his depiction of Eric's emotional state. Pearce is spectacular though by how he has it all just right underneath the skin in Eric, and conveys an idea that Eric's mind mostly is in the past. This is rather compelling though because this is not a case of a man keeping his mind in the past in a nostalgic sort of fashion. Pearce instead is absolutely striking in depicting such a vigorous anger in him, and a palatable bitterness in the man. What may be the most remarkable though is that there is a great sadness as well. Pearce is spellbinding in the complexity of emotions he realizes while still keeping that constraint, and turns Eric into one captivating enigma. Eric is not without explanation though and there is a single scene where Eric reveals his past.

Pearce is extraordinary in the scene where Eric tells what happened in the past to a some sort of military man who took him prisoner. Eric reveals that he had murdered his wife and her lover after he discovered the affair. Pearce again still keeps Eric confined, as there is no reason for him to breakdown, as he's merely explaining something to the man. Pearce once again is marvelous as he internalizes the pain as Eric describes what he did. What is most notable about it though is that Pearce in this scene manages to explain the distance through his performance. Eric explains that no one came to prosecute him for his crime, nor did he face any scrutiny whatsoever for what he did. Pearce expresses that was perhaps the moment in which Eric detached himself from any sort sympathy, since committing such a heinous act meant nothing, therefore nothing he does in this present reality should mean anything. Explaining Eric very well might have backfired though but it does not because Guy Pearce is completely convincing in his explanation and creates one of most powerful scenes in the film.

To retrieve his car Eric rescues the critically injured brother of one of the men who took his car. Guy Pearce creates a believable dynamic relationship with the young man Reynolds (Robert Pattinson). Pearce starts out bluntly as Eric merely uses him to get to his brother and when he says he will slit Reynolds throat if he is lying to him, Pearce shows that this is merely the truth. Pearce is outstanding in the way he does subtly suggest a slight connection Eric develops with Reynolds. He never compromises Eric's nature, but in moments of recognition there is an understanding developed. One especially moving scene is when Reynolds laments having accidentally killed a young girl. Eric says it is good to remember those one has killed, and Pearce does not break Eric's reserve, but he does seem to discover a way of having a modicum of sympathy with another human being. Pearce builds this effectively until the climax of the film when there is finally a death that means something to Eric. Pearce's reaction is heartbreaking as he does finally make the emotions in the man leave from under his skin and come to the open. It's not even a loud breakdown but in the simplicity of Pearce's performance there is such poignancy. Even in the film's final twist regarding Eric's quest only makes complete sense due to Pearce's characterization. Guy Pearce creates a masterful portrait of a haunted man who seems to have lost all his humanity for the present due to it being trapped by the past.


Matt Mustin said...

An amazing performance with not a single wasted moment. What are your thoughts on Pattison, and a rating as well?

luke higham said...

Incredible Performance, his last couple of scenes alone made him my number 2 of the year.

John Smith said...

Tought and ratings on Charlize Theron in Monster

RatedRStar said...

I will be annoyed if I find on this blog in like 2020 (I hope this blog is here forever lol) Guy Pearce still has yet to be Oscar Nominated.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Great performance by a great actor.

Anyone else seen Kingsman The Secret Service? It was surprisingly good fun.


koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I don't plan on seeing Kingsman. Kick-Ass has soured on me over the years, and I CAN'T FUCKING STAND Mark Millar.

luke higham said...

Will anyone be pissed if Gyllenhaal loses out to either Pearce or Hardy.
Personally, I'm completely fine with Pearce or Hardy winning, but I'll be really surprised if Gyllenhaal isn't 2nd at the least.

Michael McCarthy said...

I can't say I'd be pissed with any of the fives winning, but I really do think it should be either Gyllenhaal or Keaton, though I also wouldn't mind a Fiennes win at all.

luke higham said...

Michael McCarthy: After this review, everyone apart from Gyllenhaal, Hardy and maybe Phoenix is out of the running in my opinion, since calling it a masterful portrait, is more like, Performance of the Decade worthy to me.

luke higham said...

Michael McCarthy: Actually, I would be fine if any of the 5s win, I genuinely care more about the ratings than who wins the ranking, although with the other 6 reviews yet to come, plus comparing McConaughey, Oyelowo, Gleeson, Keaton and Pearce's reviews, Pearce is the clear favourite.

RatedRStar said...

@Luke: I forgot to answer your question from a few posts ago, the top ten most anticipated films of 2015 and you know what, Ill give you top 10 video games as well in the next post =D.

1) The Revenant ( I hope it does well, the story looks like a great western thriller, with Leo and Hardy looking great for oscar noms, the fact that it comes out 25th of December shows this is clearly an oscar contender)

2) Spectre ( Despite Waltz misfiring in Big Eyes he is still a great actor, and with Mendes and Craig on board, this looks great)

3) Macbeth (Fassbender and Cotillard on board, with a promising director as well, this looks tasty)

4) Crimson Peak (I love great horror films, I am hoping for some creepy delight from this)

5) The Hateful Eight (Tarantino, an interesting cast, a western setting, sounds like fun to me)

6) The Queen Of The Desert ( Werner Herzog is always an interesting film maker, I am interested about the casting, particularly Franco and Pattinson)

7) Silence (Scorcese directing a rather unusual story, it has my curiosity)

8)Steve Jobs (Fassbender is a great choice I must say, the script also)

9)Demolition (Jake is hot right now, and this could be his second nomination, a well respected Oscar director as well helps)

10) Star Wars: The Force Awakens ( I am so excited to see if this fails or skyrockets)

RatedRStar said...

Top Ten Video Games of 2015

1) Kingdom Hearts 3 ( Ten years in the making since a proper console sequel, a perfect bulid up from Dream Drop Distance, an excellent trailer, this looks set to be amazing)

2) Metal Gear Solid V (This should see the final villainous turn by Big Boss/Snake, Hideo Kojima is a genius and has never had a bad Metal Gear game)

3) Batman Arkham Knight (The final Batman game, a terrific mystery involving the Arkham Knight, and Scarecrow being the main villain)

4) Final Fantasy XV (Square Enixs last chance, they look like they are pulling all the stops with this one, and this being the darkest Final Fantasy makes me hope of 6 and 7 again)

5)Persona 5 (Its been too long since the last proper Persona, each Persona game has been virtually a different story told in the same universe, from a Murder Mystery in TV Land to a serial killer hunt of a bag man called Joker, I wonder what this one is? )

6) Bloodborne (Demons Souls creators on board, a creepy gothic setting and disturbing monsters, this looks like a bloody gorefest)

7) Uncharted 4 (The final Uncharted, there has yet to be a bad one, I expect great set pieces and an adventurous feel)

8) Until Dawn (A Heavy Rain serial killer feature, this one being scary and full of classic twists and turns just like Heavy Rain was)

9) Mortal Kombat X ( Mortal Kombat is on top of the fighting genre in terms of story and popularity at the moment, this game looks set to continue MK9s great momentum)

10) The Order 1886 ( A strange thriller about English Victorian agents, looks like it could have some twists up its sleeve plus an original story)

Louis Morgan said...


Pattinson - 3.5(His accent is a little off and can be slightly distracting at times, although that's nothing compared to Scoot McNairy's. Pattison though does well in playing a stupid man in an honest way. He never becomes a joke but rather is quite moving in depicting the emotional devastation in a man who frankly has a poor grasp of his own mind. His final confrontation scene with McNairy is particularly good as he expresses the confusion and sadness that comes from the betrayal his character received)

John Smith:

I think I must have given my thoughts on here somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Best this year