Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2007: Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman in Gone Baby Gone

Ed Harris did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Detective Sergeant Remy Bressant in Gone Baby Gone.

Ed Harris comes into Gone Baby Gone as the lead detective investigating the disappearance
of a little girl who is none too happy to have to aid private investigator Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) who has been hired also to follow the case. This sort of role fits right into Ed Harris's wheelhouse as Ed Harris is always good at being a colossal ball buster. He does well in establishing Sergeant Bressant's attitude toward Patrick in a believable fashion. Although there are revelations about his character later on that paint a fuller picture about Bressant's motivations there's no need to question him at first because of Harris's performance. Harris presents acerbic attitude quite effectively as it does not seem too much by any means. Harris gives the right sense that Bressant simply not being impressed by the young man, and frankly just does not have any time for him. Harris creates the sense of the sort of cop Bressant is in these early scenes. There's an obvious wear that Harris effortlessly conveys in Bressant due to his time of dealing with the worst scum, that while it does not necessarily fully excuse the way he treats Patrick, it certainly allows one to understand why he treats him that way.

Harris's performance works well as a contrast to Affleck's performance, as it seems Bressant is possibly the man that Patrick could become as he is also changed by the murky world the investigation brings him through. Harris gives a needed bluntness to his scenes as he basically has Bressant state the apparent truths without sentiment, while Affleck carefully carries a more overt sentiment around the problems in the case. Harris is careful though not to portray as though Bressant has lost his humanity or anything near that. Harris also has a strong emotional quality to his work but he carefully shows how it differs from the certain hopefulness Affleck brings to Patrick. Harris is indeed most often a bit callous in the way he presents Bressant attitude, but when a moment forces something out of him there definitely something there. Instead any any idea of hope though Harris instead brings a particularly vicious hatred in disgust into Bressant for the developments of the case, as though he has no reason to have any hopes since he is well aware of the world that he lives in.

Harris's best scene is probably after Patrick's sort of proved himself to Bressant, by doing something that seems to support Bressant's own world view. Harris is very good in the scene as he let's go of his more acerbic tendencies and Harris reveals in all earnestness what motivates Bressant. There is a concern that Harris reveals and shows that he's not way just some simple mean cop. The film has its twist take in place though and Bressant takes many extreme measures to try cover what it is that he did. Harris is good in these scenes because he does not make Bressant seem to suddenly become some psychotic villain, even though he does have to wear a clown mask at one point. Harris is good in these scenes because he also loses any of that dark levity that is found in his early scenes. Harris presents Bressant as being especially concerned in these scenes, and reveals that in the Bressant was too entranced into the case for his own well being as a cop and a man. This is a good performance that manages to realizes his character in a way that gives some understanding to the twist, but never gives it away either.
Morgan Freeman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Captain Jack Doyle in Gone Baby Gone.

Morgan Freeman plays a well respected police Captain who has a personal investment in the case because his own child had been abducted. Freeman seems like good casting in the role since he's someone who carries a certain respectability through his natural screen presence. This would seem a perfect fit for the character of Captain Doyle, and I must say it seems that way in the brief glimpses we are given of the character in his very official setting. The first time Patrick meets him though Freeman takes the approach of giving a very intense confrontation from the outset as he speaks the words about his own loss, and the severity of the situation as though Patrick should feel guilty around. Freeman creates a volatility with the character just as Harris did in his scenes, but the problem with Freeman is is really did not need to the way he does. It feels as though he overplays his hand, and wipes away the bit of respect his initial appearance creates. From the outset there seems to be something off about his character, and there is no reason to accept him as a character more fitting to the Morgan Freeman type.

As the investigation progresses and a break through seems to appear the Captain get directly involved with it, as he attempts to make Patrick and the other detectives do things his way. Freeman again seems to intentionally has a certain falseness about the Captain, as though he is overly trying to show his concerns to those around him. Freeman has shown before he certainly knows how to do passion when he needs to but Freeman gives a falseness to it here. Now it is true that a twist works best for the film as a whole if it is set up, so even though you get tricked by it the first time, when you watch the film again the film still works since you know can see what brought the twist together. Gone Baby Gone's twist is problematic to begin with since it seems a bit odd that three seasoned police officers are going to put so much on the line just to help one guy who wants a better life for his niece, and if Doyle wanted another kid so badly he could just adopt. Even with its ridiculousness Freeman telegraphs it too much with his performance by not creating an sense of false security with his character. Freeman always plays every moment as too much of a confrontation, and with far too many oddly fake moments in there.

Harris throws in a few slight instances where he alludes to the fact that Bressant knows a bit more than he is telling Patrick, but these one's are only really noticeable after already knowing the twist. Freeman puts too many in for his own good as he sets up the twist, but goes too far giving it away at the same time. It would have likely been far more effective if Freeman did play into making the Captain as respected, as the film claims he is, but Freeman never creates the illusion making his fall from grace carry far less of an impact than it should have. Freeman's best scene is when the act is wholly dropped and he tries to argue with Patrick the morality of his needlessly complex method of avoiding filing adoption papers. Although probably have some forging done for his plan anyways, but I'm getting off topic. Interestingly enough Freeman is far less confrontational in this scene than in his earlier ones, but this actually works much better as he finally seems to make his character genuine in the least. It's a good scene for Freeman as he finally delivers the passion that motivates the character in an honest fashion. It's fine end but as a whole Freeman's approach is a miscalculation that severely undermines what I assume was the point of the character.

56 comments:

Robert MacFarlane said...

Alas, poor Michael McCarthy. I knew him, Horatio.

Psifonian said...

Yeah, I really didn't expect Freeman to fare too well here. He's not so much bad as he is wasted with a thinly-written part.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I agree with that. Welliver would have been more worthy of a review.

Michael McCarthy said...

...I am slain.

I'm sure this isn't surprising to most of you, but this has gotta be the most I've ever disagreed with a review on this blog. It's hard to defend whether or not he gives away the twist because that's completely subjective, but I never thought he overplayed his hand. Yes he did seem like he wanted Patrick to feel guilty at the beginning, but that's because Doyle feels like he is morally superior to everyone around him. Gone Baby Gone is a film about people who aren't the people they're supposed to be despite doing the best to create that illusion, but Doyle stands out as the only person who is fully in denial about himself. I think it's a fascinating portrait of an officer of the law who feels himself to be above the law.

Calvin Law said...

I stand by giving Freeman a 4, even if I can't as eloquently express like Michael, why.

Anonymous said...

In time, thanks, Louis, for the thoughts about Dench, Cruz and Cotillard in that horrible film - I quite agree with them, despite the fact I'd give Cotillard a 4.5 and Dench a 2.5 (in her musical scene she's quite delightful, althought a little too over in her accent).

Other anonymous talked about Kidman, and I felt her so lost in that film - probably the worst of it's performances.

About Slow West and the argument that it's not Gonna be in the radar, I just considered it because of the good response out of Sundance.

And finally about those reviews, what I remember about this film is basically Freeman's last scene, in which he's very nice, specially in that last look through the window of the car.

Michael McCarthy said...

Calvin: Thank you sir.

There's only one thing that can make me forgive this...and that's a 5 for Nicholas Hoult in Mad Max: Fury Road.

luke higham said...

1. Lynch
2. Rockwell
3. Harris
4. Travolta
5. Freeman

RatedRStar said...

Michael McCarthy: Hugggg

Anonymous said...

Kind off topic, but I don't know if you have seen this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hw4yNA8XnQM

4:19-4:45- one diva talking about other. But, I mean, her reation when Cotillard won the oscar just gave an idea of this.

Calvin Law said...

Aww that's so sweet of Cate :) I think they should star in a film together, sometime soon.

Calvin Law said...

By the way, a recommendation to everyone: The Hit (1984).

Magnificent performances by John Hurt, Terrence Stamp, and Tim Roth.

Robert MacFarlane said...

If you pay attention to when they presented Cate's Oscar clip for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, you could see she herself didn't even think she should have been nominated for it. There's actually a lot of actors who either laugh or cringe at their own terrible performances that ended up nominated. Stanley Tucci, Kevin Costner, and just this year Meryl Streep.

Matt Mustin said...

Robert, you keep saying that, but I'd just like to mention that some actors don't like watching themselves *at all*, whether or not it's a good performance.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Except Streep has NEVER done that in any of her 100 or so nominations. Plus Tucci has even admitted being uncomfortable in that role, and I think Blanchett has outright said she regrets Golden Age.

Anonymous said...

[2] on Calvin.

Talking about actors who don't like to see themselves at all, Dench may be in the top of it - visibly uncomfortable when they show the movie scene for her nomination, and then you think: "what a disgusting lady"; and then when they announce the winner she smiles looking very happy for the other one's victory, rs.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, off-topic, but what would you say is Ewan McGregor's best performance?

luke higham said...

Matt Mustin: It's gonna be Moulin Rouge, I think.

Anonymous said...

Ghost Writer I guess.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Well, it ain't gonna be Trainspotting, that I guarantee.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis, see any movies recently?

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

The Ghost Writer.

Robert:

Nothing new yet.

RatedRStar said...

Ladies and Gentlemen on the blog, we have lost a great stage performer from this world, and one legendary performer.

RIP Ron Moody

and

RIP Christopher Lee xxxxx

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: R.I.P. Ron Moody and 'OMG' Christopher Lee
One's a great performer and the other is one of the most recognisable faces in Horror and one of my all-time favourite actors.

Calvin Law said...

RIP CHristopher Lee. Such a great talent in all he did, what's everyone's favourite performance of his. Mine would probably be either The Wicker Man, or any of his Hammer Dracula films.

luke higham said...

Calvin: For me, it's easily The Wicker Man and Louis had better review him for '73 Supporting.

RatedRStar said...

The Wicker Man for me, although I did love him in Kingdom Hearts II also =D.

luke higham said...

Louis & Calvin:
The Program - Lance Armstrong/Ben Foster
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4MiqwYE-5k

Michael McCarthy said...

Funny story about Christopher Lee, he was actually the only cast member of Lord of the rings who was old enough to have actually known Tolkien, who apparently told him many years before the films were made that he wanted him to play Gandalf.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Christopher Lee was in the battalion that inspired Inglourious BAsterds. He was a badass before he was even an actor.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: Looks much better than I excepted. Foster looks great and I have a feeling they haven't shown his best scenes yet so...Oscar contender? :)

luke higham said...

Calvin: Ben Foster's the most underrated actor in the world right now, so I'm very confident that he'll give it his all and if he's gonna be nominated and end up winning the oscar, then this is the role that I want him to get it for.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: I also was actually quite impressed by what I saw of Chris O'Dowd in the trailer, I don't usually care much for him but here he actually seems to fit the role rather well.

Calvin Law said...

I agree, Foster is incredibly underrated mainly by the fact he never really chooses Oscar-baity fare to star in, I am so looking forward to his 3:10 to Yuma review.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Me too.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Same.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Glad they're making Armstrong out to be the asshole he actually is.

RatedRStar said...

That trailer is actually great lol, love the ending shot =D, ye I think because Foster is so underrated (he is so young yet he has been here a while =D) then I think at the very least, a bonus review incoming.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar & Calvin: I might actually request Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road, at some point within the next 4 months, as he might get a 5 on re-watch and I'll try to get Louis, to extend the field again for the alternate lead lineup from 5 to 10.

RatedRStar said...

Oh I guarantee 2015 will have 10 bonus reviews, these trailers that have been coming up keep getting better, better than most of last years trailers which had some worried (Foxcatcher, Into The Woods etc)

That shot of Foster doing the shut mouth at the end of that trailer was chilling =D.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: I guess Hardy and Fassbender are going to get two of those slots for Legend and Macbeth respectively.

RatedRStar said...

I'm I the only person who finds Lance Armstrong quite creepy lol.

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

RatedRStar: You're not alone. Hate that cheating scumbag.

Calvin Law said...

I know it's impossible, but I would love to see Hardy get a Best Actor nomination for something if not this year, then next year, although if it's between Hardy and Foster as dark horses then I'll probably root for Foster since his window of good roles seems to be rapidly shutting and Hardy will, I assume, have plenty of other chances to get nominated/win.

RatedRStar: You're not, the real guy is a nutcase by all accounts.

Luke: I think, the Alternate Lead lineup may look like this, excepting any surprise nominations/unexpected campaigns

Hardy (Legend)
Fassbender (Macbeth)
Foster (The Program)
Gyllenhaal (Southpaw)
Hawke (Regression)
McAvoy (Victor Frankenstein)
Depp (Black Mass)
Segel (The End of the Tour)
Cheadle (Miles Ahead)
Cranston (Trumbo)

...completely random guesses, by the way.

I also am guessing, that the nominees will be, (completely random as well)

Gyllenhaal (Demolition)
Dicaprio (The Revenant)
Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Courtenay/McKellen (45 Years/Mr Holmes, I know I may be placing to much stock in the 'veteran' card but by all accounts they both have the performance to go with it)
Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

Calvin Law said...

Also: Michael Caine in 'Youth', and Jason Segel in 'End of the Tour'.

luke higham said...

Calvin: I don't know about Gyllenhaal in Southpaw, the film looks cliche ridden, although I'm sure he's gonna be good in it.

You said Segal twice.

With what I said, a couple of comments ago, I'd put Hardy down as a maybe for Mad Max: Fury Road as well.

Calvin Law said...

Actually yeah, replace Segel with Hardy maybe for Fury Road, I think Louis would not mind reviewing it again haha. And actually in terms of the veteran recognition factor, Caine might get ahead of McKellen and Courtenay since he is more well known.

luke higham said...

Calvin: It's such a shame with Bale and McConaughey.

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

I would also bring Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hanks and Michael Shannon into the equation with I Saw The Light, Bridge Of Spies and Midnight Special respectively.

Matt Mustin said...

I think if anyone's getting awards attention for Bridge of Spies, it'll be Mark Rylance, although they might nominate Hanks to make up for his Captain Phillips snub.

luke higham said...

Matt Mustin: I wholeheartedly agree with you, but I actually meant to be in contention for a review, nominated or otherwise.

Matt Mustin said...

Oh, my bad.

luke higham said...

Matt: The fault is mine, friend.

Louis Morgan said...

The Program looks like it might have potential as a film. Foster looks very promising (but that's no surprise).











R.I.P. Christopher Lee and Ron Moody