Thursday, 11 June 2015

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2007: Albert Finney in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Albert Finney did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Charles Hanson in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

Albert Finney plays the father of the sons Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank (Ethan Hawke) who work together on a plan to rob their parents' jewelry store to solve their severe financial problems. Finney's appearances are rather brief in the earliest scenes of the film as we see him rather simply as apparently just a supportive grandfather towards his granddaughter and loving husband towards his wife. His role seems simple enough but when robbery masterminded by Andy goes wrong, that all changes. The film at first jumps between the perspective of the brothers, but when the fallout begins the film jumps back to show the events through Charles's eyes. In the earliest scenes in a chronological sense Finney is good in honestly realizing the somewhat simple life of Charles we are shown. He presents Charles as being content enough with his life and bringing a nice bit of warmth in just his slight interactions with his wife. It technically speaking is not anything overly substantial but Finney does a good job of establishing the contentment in Charles's life just before the robbery is about to take place.

The robbery though is botched which leaves Charles's wife severely injured to the point she falls in a completely unresponsive coma. Finney is tremendous in the first scene, chronologically speaking, as Charles comes back to the shop to discover the police investigating the crime scene, and so well portrays the overwhelming fear in Charles as he tries to find out what has happened to his wife. Soon afterwards his children come to the hospital and we see Charles as he has to wait to know his wife's condition. Finney is heartbreaking as he portrays the anxiousness in Charles as he sits in the waiting room chair barely able to be still as well as a striking confusion and sadness he shows Charles trying to come to grips with what exactly happened with his wife. Finney is incredibly moving as he plays Charles as being barely able to speak as he portrays just how distraught Charles is over his wife's condition, and clearly how much he loved her. Finney is terrific in the scenes succeeding this one chronologically as Charles has to make his choice whether or not to pull his wife's plug, and let her die since her brain is no longer functioning.

Finney portrays so well Charles's grief as he almost seems to retire into himself as he must contemplate letting his wife go. Finney shows that Charles almost can barely comprehend how he's in this situation and depicts so well this sad state where Charles does not want to have to recognize this decision he must make. Finney reveals all the pain in Charles in such a poignant fashion as Charles finally says to let her go. Afterwards we see Charles in his state of grief and Finney keeps Charles still attempting to comprehend what has happened while suffering every moment of this confusion. During this time there is a fantastic scene for Finney where Charles's elder son Andy voices the distance he feels from the rest of the family largely because of the cold treatment he received from Charles. Although we never see any of the boys childhood Finney is marvelous in the way he brings out such a considerable sorrow and regret, as well as warmth as Charles attempts to apologize to Andy for this. What makes Finney's performance of this scene particularly brilliant though, is when Andy seems to go too far in his anger, Finney brings out the Charles that caused that, showing the stern father as he quickly slaps Andy to set him straight.

Charles's story does not end as the film continues to follow him as deals with his wife's death past the funeral. Finney again keeps Charles unable to stop thinking about what happened, and so good at portraying this obsession in him. Finney naturally eases away from the confusion in Charles to a palatable anger, which Finney always portrays coming directly from his sadness. Finney creates the sense of discontent in Charles as no one seems to care about what really happened at the crime scene. Finney builds the overwhelming frustrations in Charles as all of his attempts to get the police to do something fail, and Finney makes Charles decision to investigate the crime himself an inevitability. Finney is outstanding because when Charles makes this decision Finney expresses finally a sense of purpose in Charles. Finney perhaps reveals a bit of the old Charles as he brings a considerable determination in him, as it becomes clear that Charles will have his revenge. This brings Charles to a fellow jewelry dealer who he knows was a fence, and happened to be the man Andy goes to to ensure he'll be able to move the jewelry from the robbery.

When the fence reveals that Andy was behind the plot due to Andy having left his business card with the fence, Finney's reaction brings the weight of this revelation to Charles, as he seems to shatter from the inside, and Finney delivers the severity of this betrayal. This leaves one last scene, the final scene of the film, where Charles visits an injured Andy in the hospital, after Andy's back up plan has also failed, to finally confront his son. Finney's performance is amazing here as he still suggests just a hint of the support of the father as he claims to accept Andy's apology, but it's only a hint. Finney then reveals the full extent of Charles's rage towards his sons. The intensity Finney brings is shattering, as he shows Charles finally unleash everything he has just barely been able to pent up since the robbery. This is a great performance Albert Finney, perhaps his very best, as he creates such a vivid and powerful portrait of a man's loss and the need for vengeance that comes from it.

78 comments:

luke higham said...

Yay, another 5 for Finney.

luke higham said...

Please give Rockwell a 5.

Robert MacFarlane said...

The last scene gave me complete chills. Brilliant performance.

Matt Mustin said...

Great, great performance from a wonderful actor.

Matt Mustin said...

And yeah, that last scene's pretty unforgettable.

luke higham said...

Matt: Indeed.

Michael McCarthy said...

This is definitely great work, but I gotta ask...does it seem to anyone else like Finney had difficulty closing his mouth in his later work?

Matt Mustin said...

Bryan Cranston seems to have the same problem. Doesn't really bother me.

Calvin Law said...

Louis what are, your top 5 performances for Finney, Tom Courtenay.

Calvin Law said...

Great performance, great review.

Calvin Law said...

Also, some retoroactive castings for 2007 films, anyone have any suggestions?:

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (1940s Version)
Andy: Orson Welles
Hank: Joseph Cotten
Charles: Edmund Gwenn
Gina: Claire Trevor
Nanette: Belulah Bondi

Rescue Dawn (1980s Version)
Dieter: Klaus Maria Brandauer
Duane: Raul Julia
Gene: James Woods

Gone Baby Gone (1960s Version, England)
Patrick: Tom Courtenay
Angie: Vanessa Redgrave
Doyle: Michael Redgrave
Bressant: Richard Attenborough
Helene: Rachel Roberts

The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (1950s Anthony Mann Western)
Jesse James: James Stewart
Robert Ford: James Dean
Charley Ford: Eli Wallach

Eastern Promises (1970s Version)
Nikolai: Robert Shaw
Anna: Sarah Miles
Kirill: John Hurt (in I, Claudius mode)







Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Finney:

1. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
2. Miller's Crossing
3. Saturday Morning Sunday Night
4. Tom Jones
5. The Dresser

Courtenay:

1. Doctor Zhivago
2. Billy Liar
3. King & Country
4. The Dresser
5. King Rat

Retro Castings for the best picture lineup:

There Will Be Blood (1960's directed by Akira Kurosawa):

Daniel Plainview: Toshiro Mifune
Paul/Eli Sunday: Tsutomu Yamazaki
H.W. Plainview: Yoshitaka Zushi
Henry: Minoru Chiaki
William Bandy: Takashi Shimura

Atonement (1960's):

Briony (13): Pamela Franklin
Briony (18): Joan Plowright
Briony (77): Gladys Cooper
Robbie: Albert Finney
Cecelia: Julie Christie

Juno (1940's directed/written by Preston Sturges):

Juno: Veronica Lake
Paulie: Eddie Bracken
Vanessa: Claudette Colbert
Mark: Joel McCrea
Mac: William Demarest (No other choice allowed)

Michael Clayton (1970's):

Michael Clayton: Robert Redford
Arthur Edens: George C. Scott
Karen Crowder: Faye Dunaway

No Country For Old Men (1950's):

Sheriff Bell: Clark Gable
Anton Chigurh: Yul Brynner
Llewelyn Moss: William Holden
Carl Jean Moss: Patricia Neal
Carson Wells: Kirk Douglas

Robert MacFarlane said...

Rescue Dawn 70's Version

Dieter: Al Pacino
Duane: Brad Dourif
Gene: Dennis Hopper (don't deny this is perfect)

Michael McCarthy said...

I love Calvin's cast for BTDKYD, as well as Wallach for Charley Ford, Dourif for Duane, and Mifune, Yamazaki an Zushi in There Will Be Blood. I think I'd like to see Ian Bannen take a crack at Bressant, and for Jesse James I was kinda thinking Robert Ryan.

Calvin Law said...

Michael: Yes, actually, Robert Ryan would be perfect.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: Yul Brynner would be a great Anton Chigurh.

Michael: And Brad Dourif for Duane, perfect casting too.

Calvin Law said...

I mean, Robert, Dourif would be a great choice, him and Pacino would be an incredibly interesting match.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Do you plan on seeing Jurassic World, anytime soon.

Calvin Law said...

I will try over the next few weeks, but my first priority will be Mr Holmes.

luke higham said...

Calvin: I hope to see a 4.5 at the very least from McKellen, whenever I see it next friday.

Calvin Law said...

The performances I am most looking forward to this year,

Ian McKellen in Mr Holmes
Tom Hardy in Legend
Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hardy
in The Revenant
Tom Courtenay/Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years
Emily Blunt in Sicario
Saorise Ronan in Brooklyn
Samuel L Jackson and Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight


luke higham said...

Calvin:
Fassbender and Cotillard in Macbeth
Tom Hardy in Legend and The Revenant
Leonardo Dicaprio in The Revenant
Mark Rylance in Bridge Of Spies
Ben Foster in The Program
Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes
Johnny Depp in Black Mass
Jackson/Russell in The Hateful Eight
Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs
Michael Caine in Youth
Tom Courtenay in 45 Years
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol
Carey Mulligan in Suffragette and Far From The Madding Crowd
Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak
Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl

Robert MacFarlane said...

As much as Vikander has caught my attention with her brilliant performance in Ex Machina, I can't bring myself to get excited for anything related to The Danish Girl so long as that wretched hack Tom Hooper id directing it.

luke higham said...

Robert: Vikander's slowly becoming one of my favourite actresses, so I have to give her a mention, even though I'm not much of a fan of Hooper either, although, I quite like The Damned United and (To each his own) Les Miserables.

luke higham said...

Robert: I think Hooper belongs in Television, since I like his work very much on Elizabeth I and John Adams.

Calvin Law said...

Hooper is a talented director who needs to rein in his excesses, is all I can say, since I have enjoyed most of his work.

Vikander is certainly one of the best young actresses working today, and I should mention that I am actually looking forward to Redmayne's performance as well.

Calvin Law said...

On a separate note I just watched Alpha Dog and I must admit, Ben Foster was awesome despite having heard less than favourable criticism of it beforehand, shame he pretty much disappears halfway through.

Hirsch: 2
Timberlake: 3.5 (actually quite impressive)
Yelchin: 4 (verging on a 4.5)
Foster: 4 (verging on a 4.5)
Hatosy: 3
Willis: 3
Stone: 3.5
Dean Stanton: 3.5 (give this man a good role for chrissake)

luke higham said...

Calvin: If he produces a better performance there, than he did in The Theory Of Everything, then it's a success in my view.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Ugh, I hated everything about Alpha Dog. Maybe a zero star movie for me. Foster's histrionics only work if you view it as parody, and unfortunately I don't buy that.

Calvin Law said...

Robert: I think, we shall have to agree to disagree here, since I thought the film was effective enough. :)

Robert MacFarlane said...

I think it's the worst film of 2007.

Calvin Law said...

http://actorvsactor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/head-to-head-tinker-tailor-soldier-spy_12.html

By the way, my new post is up. Luke has a whole load of great requests but if any of you guys have any other ideas for head-to-heads, feel free to recommend!

Calvin Law said...

Louis: Don't worry I won't be doing this shameless self-advertising for every post!

Robert: Oh well, at least, looking at your top 10 of 2007, we can agree that The Assassination of Jesse James, Hot Fuzz, There Will Be Blood, Atonement, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, and I'm Not There are all great films.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I've always been really baffled by the appeal Alpha Dog holds for... really anyone. It's on par with 70's exploitation garbage, yet it masquerades as "serious drama".

luke higham said...

Jurassic World Ratings
Pratt - 3.5/4
Howard - 3
Johnson - 3
D'Onofrio - 2.5
Khan - 2.5
Sy - 2.5
Simpkins - 2.5
Robinson - 2.5

I think I enjoyed the film more than I probably should've done. Pratt was very entertaining although the rest of the characters were thinly written.
The score & the visual effects were really good and the nostalgia factor resonated very well with me.

John Smith said...

Louis, what would you say is your favorite performance review you have written?

luke higham said...

Louis: Can you repost your rating for Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years A Slave, please.

Anonymous said...

Louis I've found your thoughts on most of the GoT actors, but I can't find Lena Headey's. Can you tell again what you think of her?

Calvin Law said...

Watching 10 Rillington Place for the first time ever now and boy are Attenborough and Hurt great. Especially Hurt, it may well be the best I've seen from him yet.

Calvin Law said...

Right Hurt is definitely in my top 10 for supporting now, and Attenborough just on the cusp of my top 10 for Lead.

Anonymous said...

Bryce Dallas Howards is one of the most underrated and underused american movie actresses today. I didn't know she was in Jurassic World - just expect that they give some good parts for her with this film success.

Michael McCarthy said...

Attenborough's an easy win for me, and before I saw 10 Rillington Place I didn't think anyone could unseat McDowell for me. I loved Hurt but I'm not sure I see him as supporting.

Calvin Law said...

Michael: You have a point, since the film actually follows Hurt for a large portion of the second act or so...nevertheless, I will put him in supporting for the timebeing.

Yes, Hurt is definitely my win for 1971, and I do love McDowell and Paul Scofield (King Lear) a great deal...

Though I really need to see Oliver Reed in The Devils.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: How was BD Wong in Jurassic World.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Just back from my 21st birthday dinner, although my birthday's on the 15th.
I'd give Wong a 3, he's got a very limited part, but I thought he did well with what he was given.

JackiBoyz said...

luke Higham: Wow that is cool because RatedRStars birthday is on the 15th also lol, hope you had fun.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Reed's fantastic, but at this moment in time, he isn't in my top 5 for '71, with the uncut version still yet to be released, although from what I understand, the missing footage (8 minutes) mostly involves Redgrave's character and a group of nuns.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: I hope you had a great time :D

luke higham said...

JackiBoyz: It was great. =) I've known about Daniel's birthday for quite awhile now.

Villa Italiano!

luke higham said...

Calvin: Thanks. =)

RatedRStar said...

Luke: Oh wow I didnt know we shared a birthday =D, what did you have at the restaurant =D?

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Pepperoni Pizza with Garlic Bread and Sticky Toffee Pudding. Yum! =)

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: I'm pretty sure I mentioned it, about 6-8 Months ago, but better late than never.

Calvin Law said...

Now I'm hungry...

http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/nicole-kidman-is-the-queen-of-the-desert-in-first-trailer-poster/

I have to say this does not look very promising, and very much in line with what I'd imagined it to be based on the critic's reviews. Kidman I suppose looks alright, but Franco and Pattison seem incredibly miscast.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Hkghhhhhhhhhmphhhhhhhhhhhhh! BORINGGGGGGGGGG!.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Certainly looks like the worst, Herzog's ever made.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: My memory is pretty poor lol oh my god that is yummy lol.

As for Queen of the Desert, well I always like to see Herzog no matter how bad it is, all filmmakers make duds sometime or another.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: That's alright. =)

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: If PTA and Nolan ever produce a Dud, I'll be crestfallen and would probably take a year for me to get over it.

I do consider TDKR a fine film for what it is.

RatedRStar said...

=D, Louis, you remember Leslie Howard, how you said you were gonna perhaps give him a second chance in Berkeley Square, well, I think it might be a lost cause lol I do like Leslie Howard quite a lot as an actor (and a hero) but I recently saw the film, and omg, maybe the director/producer didnt think it had a chance of an Oscar so Howard basically attempted to cruise by not giving a damn, he looks half asleep.

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar: When Leslie Howard sleeps, he really sleeps.

Everyone: who are some veteran actors who have never been nominated/haven't been nominated in a long time, that you would like to see get another nomination or even a win sometime soon?

John Hurt
Donald Sutherland
Tom Courtenay
Terrence Stamp

RatedRStar said...

Luke: I think TDKR is a fine enough film 2 but it is my least favorite Nolan film, I do like some moments, such as Tom Hardys performance, and the back snap scene, also I do like Bale and Tom Conti in the prison scenes, but it feels like a step backward from The first 2, especially in the story/plot twist department.

Calvin Law said...

Also, James Woods.

Calvin Law said...

Attenborough, that is.

luke higham said...

Calvin:
The Brits/Irish are coming
John Hurt
Jeremy Irons
Alan Rickman
Tom Courtenay
Brendan Gleeson
Ian Holm
Ian McKellen
Michael Caine

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: It's my least favourite too, it just isn't in DUD territory for me. I do love Hardy's portrayal of Bane though.

RatedRStar said...

Calvin: I would love to see all 4 of those actors again lol =D, um the one that I feel deserves it the most would be Hurt, simply because he consistently gives great performances in films whether they deserve it or not, although judging by this year Tom Courtenay may have a chance, although his performance in The Dresser was a worthy finale.

I always like to see an actors final Oscar nomination be a truly worthy final nomination, like if it was their final performance, hence I dont mind John Hurt or Terence Stamp never getting nominated again because their final performances were so great.

@Louis: I really cannot decide between Terence Stamp and Omar Sharif for 1962 supporting (I know Stamp was lead), I keep going back and forth because I thought they were amazing. I really do believe you underrated Stamp a bit by only giving him 4 star but hey at least you liked him =D.

RatedRStar said...

I do feel sorry for Omar Sharif knowing he now has Alzheimers =(.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Bless him!.

RatedRStar said...

Bless Him indeed =(, I wish Sharif and Stamp weren't competing in the same year because I hate to choose between them, I feel so sorry knowing they both only received one Oscar nomination, I mean I love Lawrence Of Arabia so much, but Billy Budd is such a personal film to me that I was shredding tears at the end of the film, Louis I would like to think it was a fairly close decision between Sharif and Stamp.

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar: That is true, though I am sure Hurt has it in him to give a few more Oscar-worthy performances, as does Stamp (have you seen Song for Marion Daniel, he is incredible in that, as well as Priscilla and The Limey and...), Courtenay by all accounts will have his last worthy shot this year. Had Donald Sutherland gotten one for Ordinary People I would not be begging the Academy to give him a nom.

Poor Sharif, Alzheimers sucks :( His performance in Lawrence of Arabia is my all-time #2 favourite supporting performance.

Calvin Law said...

I would say, that Billy Budd has really grown on me each and every time I've watched it.

luke higham said...

Calvin: I'd bet £10 that Ryan's gonna win the overall for '62. =)

JackiBoyz said...

I also would bet money that a second viewing from Louis on Billy Budd would help Terence Stamp get higher than a 4 as I feel 4 is a little too low for a rather heartbreaking performance from a great actor. As for Omar Sharif I think he was also unlucky in only recieving one Oscar nom, plus the fact he was the favorite to win the actual oscar as well must have been hard to take.

Louis will you be watching Billy Budd again, or will your thoughts on Ryan and Stamp remain the same?

luke higham said...

JackiBoyz: I'm pretty sure he will and Ryan has yet to be reviewed by the way.

RatedRStar said...

I do also feel sorry for Albert Finney, he has been nominated 5 times, and from my knowledge, aside from Erin Brockovich never came close to winning the Oscar, which is such a shame, I know he is a free mason and likely never seemed bothered by the Oscars but deep down actors like Claude Rains and James Mason, were quite upset when they never won the oscar on their final attempt and that makes me quite sad, as Finney had 5 nominations, same with Courtenay, I feel 2015 is his last chance as despite him looking great for his age, likely doesnt have too many years left, same with Stamp and Sharif also.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: what are your thoughts and rating for Deobrah Kerr in The Sundowners and Separate Tables?

Louis Morgan said...

John Smith: My review of Raul Julia for Street Fighter.

RatedRStar:

Well I suppose I don't need double check after all then.

Luke:

2.5

Anonymous:

The more I think about her performance the more I actually think she's pretty much exactly how she should be in the role. Like many of the performers she succeeds in becoming the role in such a way that anything she does feel as it should be for Cersei. Past that though she does her cold manipulator well, but is not only that. The emotional strain she finds within the character works rather well. I have to say I love that moments in the second season where she expresses her concerns to Tyrion and they do such an odd dance not to show any affection for one another, even at such a difficult time.

Calvin:

Glad to hear you took to the performances in 10 Rillington. Such an underrated film.

Check the alternate 58 or something I think I gave my thoughts on her there.

The Sundowners - 4(Really quite her here in a relatively limited part. She has quite a strong chemistry with Mitchum and she balances well the more sultry qualities of her role within the realm of a certain maternal warmth)