Sunday, 31 January 2016

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2015: Richard Jenkins in Bone Tomahawk

Richard Jenkins did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying back up deputy Chicory in Bone Tomahawk.

Bone Tomahawk is an effective western horror about four men who go out to rescue captives from a group of cave dwelling cannibals.

Now I must admit the first time I watched Bone Tomahawk, despite being basically told to watch out for Jenkins's performance, for quite awhile I was waiting for Jenkins to show up. Of course his character of Chicory appears early on, but Jenkins wholly disappears into his role. Jenkins is a fine character actor, and often matches the needs of the various roles he's tasked with no matter how small they may be. This one though, he goes above and beyond in his creation of Chicory, as he seems to call upon his inner his Walter Brennan or perhaps Arthur Hunnicutt in his portrayal of an old timer in the old west. Jenkins takes upon a haggard voice and all of his physical movement are slightly slow suggesting a certain effort that it takes just for him to move at the speed he does. Jenkins realizes many rough years that Chicory has had to endure in just the way he speaks and moves. The most remarkable part of all this is how natural Jenkins makes it all seem, since he just seems to be some other character actor that is older, or at least has not aged as well, as Jenkins. There's no visual effort or even the idea of seeing a performance. Jenkins simply is Chicory here, and even before he does any thing the mere set up Jenkins is already rather outstanding.

Jenkins though does not stop there as he not only becomes the Walter Brennan for the film, but he also must fulfill the potential needs of a Walter Brennan role for this western. Well that being he's just a bit of an old coot, but in the best sort of way. Jenkins is extremely endearing in the role as he portrays such enthusiasm in Chicory as he attempts to go about supporting the local Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell). Jenkins brings such a genuine pride in Chicory whenever he states his position as the town's backup deputy, who frequently tries to offer his opinion the Sheriff, which he always refers to as "the official opinion of the back up deputy". The eagerness that Jenkins brings to the role makes Chicory so likable, since he never seems overbearing either. Whenever Chicory steps up, including attempting to help the Sheriff stop a potentially dangerous drifter, Jenkins reveals an old guy trying his absolute best to help. It's hard not to love the old man in Jenkins's hands since everything about the man just feels completely honest, and there's not a forced element to his depiction, this quite an accomplishment in itself considering how different Jenkins is in this role to begin with. It's splendid work from the start, and it only gets stronger as the film proceeds.

When the Sheriff, the husband of one of the captives Arthur O'Dwyer (Patrick Wilson), a self-proclaimed Indian killer John Brooder (Matthew Fox) set off an a rescue, Chicory demands to come along as well. Just before he goes though there is just a wonderful small moment for Jenkins as he visits his wife's grave, and Jenkins so tenderly reveals the great loss to Chicory in just a few moments before he departs. On the journey itself Jenkins is terrific in realizing so well the eternal optimism of Chicory as they are basically descending into hell. Jenkins importantly keeps a light humorous touch, even in some rather dark sequences, by keeping Chicory's inherent kindness a constant. He's great in the way he finds a certain chemistry with each of the men. He brings just the utmost respect in his interactions with The Sheriff, suggesting Chicory's steadfast devotion to his duty. With O'Dwyer though Jenkins brings the right consistent kindness as he always reflects Chicory clear concern for O'Dwyer's personal plight. The best though may come in his relationship with the philosophically opposed pessimist Brooder (whose name upon reflection may be a bit on the nose).

Anyways Fox and Jenkins are great together though in portraying the opposite ends of the spectrum. As Brooder mocks everyone on the mission, Jenkins is good in finding this believable resilience as Chicory never lashes out against Brooder. This is all except when Brooder supersedes the Sheriff's authority, and Jenkins is great by bringing some much passion in Chicory very specific disagreement with Brooder because he's disrespecting the law. It's splendid because it's not really anger that Jenkins expresses but rather almost a concern as he wants to makes sure he is fulfilling his duty as backup deputy. Jenkins never loses that bright outlook of Chicory's , and  makes it even convincing that Chicory is even able to win over Brooder by the end. Jenkins makes this whole defining quality about Chicory work so well by being a consistent bit of sunshine in a film that only becomes darker as it goes along. Jenkins plays around with it just enough, and manages to derive some well earned humorous moments simply from Chicory's personal style, yet never makes the character a joke. In fact Jenkins manages to be quite powerful by offering such an empathetic presence with Chicory, as manages to find such poignancy with every loss in the film.

Jenkins's best scenes, which is saying something, come after part of the group is also captured by the cannibals, and basically put in cages, waiting their turns to be slaughtered. If there was a moment for Chicory to lose his hope this would be it, but he still does not fall into despair. Jenkins importantly does bring nuance to this still showing an underlying anxiety and sadness from the situation, but earns the optimism all the more by depicting the effort as he still looks for the silver lining. There leads to one especially amazing scene for Jenkins as Chicory talks about seeing a flea circus once, and stating his belief that the show was real despite being told otherwise. The conviction of this belief that Jenkins is so heartwarming, particularly when O'Dwyer's wife supports Chicory's belief, as Jenkins so genuinely presents Chicory's complete joy in finding some sort of encouragement for his mindset. My favorite moment of his performance, and I love em all, is when Chicory swears he'll avenge one his friend. Chicory obviously does not appears to be the most formidable man, but even in a scene of violence Jenkins manages to add a sweetness to it by portraying once against such undeniable earnestness as he fulfills his friend's final request of sorts. This is a brilliant performance by Jenkins in every regard. He not only crafts a wholly unique character, he manages to be both a marvelous comic relief and the soul of the film. It's downright beautiful work by Richard Jenkins and essential to the film as he becomes interminable ray of light within the darkness of the film's bleak world.

74 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Brilliant Work. :)

Louis: Seen anything new recently.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I will say I nearly spit out my drink when I realized it was him. Entirely unrecognizable.

Anonymous said...

Louis what is your thoughts and rating for Vanilla Sky?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are you saving Russell.

Calvin Law said...

I do need to check this out again as even though I really liked the film (#12 for the year) I didn't seem to think as much of Fox as everyone else on here seems to, however agree that Jenkins was perfect.

Calvin Law said...

Also, probably the most endearing character of the year alongside Tony in Brooklyn and was so glad he made it out alive.

Michael McCarthy said...

I really hope you're still considering reviewing Russell. My god, his reactions during THE SCENE created one of the most powerful moments in film acting in 2015.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I kind of view all four principles as equals. Favorite might be Wilson since his depiction of physical agony convinced me more than DiPassion of DiCaprio. Also, for convincing me anyone alive would go through all that pain for someone as boring as Lili Simmons.

Anonymous said...

Great review.
Louis: You said that if The Assassination of Jesse James was made in the 50's, Lean would be your choice for director, but who would be your cast?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Sal Mineo as Robert Ford, I accept no others.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Sal Mineo as an actor?

Calvin Law said...

For a 1980s version, I think Michael J. Fox would've been a fascinating choice. As for 50's Jesse James, maybe Montgomery Clift?

Calvin Law said...

Actually he might've been a bit young. William Holden maybe then.

Anonymous said...

I'd choose Clift over Holden as Jesse James.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Noted.

Luke:

I'm guessing I'll just have do fifteen in lead.

Anonymous:

Burt Lancaster. Even though he could have been absolutely brilliant or completely bland, a bit like Pitt actually. Mineo's a fine choice, but if I got my dream choice I'd go with Harry Dean Stanton.

As for the rest:

Frank James: Raymond Massey
Charley Ford: Ben Johnson
Wood Hite: James Whitmore
Dick Liddil: Richard Jaeckel
Ed Miller: Kevin McCarthy

Anonymous:

I have not seen too much of Mineo though I've found him fairly impressive from what I've seen, as he usually brought quite the emotional intensity to his performances, yet knew how to temper himself when it was ill fitting to a role.

Luke Higham said...

I fucking love you Louis. :)

Luke Higham said...

Hardy
Fassbender
McKellen
Courtenay
Attah
Segel
Jordan
Tremblay
Foster
Bateman
Mendelsohn
Russell
Dano/Cusack
Depp

Luke Higham said...

And Hanks as well, if Dano & Cusask share one slot together.

Alex Marqués said...

YES, that's the right rating for him. Such a brilliant supporting performance.
Excellent review, Louis.

Calvin Law said...

Everyone: which 8 characters from films from 2015 would you like to put together in a cabin and watch them interact, a la The Hateful Eight? For me, it'd be:

The Marquis Warren: Alejandro from Sicario
The John Ruth: Nathan from Ex Machina (but a more twisted, less sympathetic version)
The Daisy Domergue: Therese Belivet from Carol
The Chris Mannix: John Fitzgerald from The Revenant/Nux from Mad Max: Fury Road
The Oswaldo Mowbray: Finn from The Force Awakens (the twist being his natural Peckham accent)
The Joe Gage: Marty Baron from Spotlight
The Bob: Rudolf Abel from Bridge of Spies
The General Sanders: Sherlock Holmes from Mr Holmes
The O.B.: Chicory from Bone Tomahawk
The Jody Domingray: Carol Aird from Carol

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your overall thoughts on Joseph Cotten and Raymond Massey as actors?

Calvin Law said...

Luke: My predictions for the rankings:

1. Tom Hardy in Legend
2. Ian McKellen in Mr Holmes (I have a feeling his liking of the film has not waned and if Hardy wins supporting, he will win I think)
3. Michael Fassbender in Macbeth
4. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
5. Jason Segel in The End of the Tour
6. Jason Bateman in The Gift
7. Kurt Russell in Bone Tomahawk
8. Michael B. Jordan in Creed
9. Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road
10. Ben Foster in The Program
11. Abraham Attah in Beasts of No Nation
12. Tom Courtenay in 45 Years (he could go much higher though)
13. Jacob Tremblay in Room
14. Ben Mendehlson in Missisipi Grind (this is because Louis' passion for the film seems to have waned)
15. Paul Dano in Love and Mercy
16. John Cusack in Love and Mercy
17. Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies
18. Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs
19. Johnny Depp in Black Mass
20. (completely forgotten what other 4.5's Louis has given out, Joel Edgerton in Black Mass maybe?)

Calvin Law said...

The top 8 being 5's, with the possibility of Hardy being upgraded to another 5, everyone else 4.5.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I hope he reviews Attah first from one of the lineups.

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Do you really believe Russell will get a 5?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I think he will, and if Louis' just giving out 7 5s in the alternates, he wouldn't be doing three lineups.

So apart from Calvin's 7, I predict fives also for Mendelsohn, Attah, Courtenay, Foster and Tremblay.

Calvin Law said...

That's true Luke. Yeah, agreed with you then. I also wouldn't count out Hanks or Dano/Cusack.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: watching Mad Max again now and I really want to know what your thoughts are on any of the smaller supporting players. I'd asked you about Keough before but what about the other Wives, the Warboys, Rictus etc.?

Robert MacFarlane said...

What rating would you give the Stormtrooper who yelled "TRAITOR"?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: I should note the 15 is resulting in part due to the variety of personal favorites in lead actor this year as in no one seems to have the same top five or even especially similair top fives.

Calvin:

Actually I just realized I forgot to include Mississippi Grind in my top 20.

On Mad Max's underrated ensemble might as well ask again in Hoult's review.

Robert:

Well he's clearly an 8 out of 5. Yes he's just that good.

Calvin Law said...

That's true, love how varied everyone's opinions are on Lead Actor this year.

Calvin Law said...

Also, thanks, can't wait for Hoult's review.

tahmeed chowdhury said...

Jenkins was incredible. Glad he got a five.
RIP Frank Finlay

Matt Mustin said...

Wow. He might win this.

Calvin Law said...

R.I.P Frank Finlay.

L Rime said...

Calvin:

Pretty sure Louis gave Eisenberg in The End of the Tour a 4.5 if I'm not mistaken.

Anyway, as for Mr. Jenkins, I found him incredibly annoying for some reason. He was much better there at the end of the movie but for most of the run time, I found him sort of unbearable. Truth is though, I'm not entirely sure why. There's no particular reason. Maybe it was the character and not Jenkins. No idea.

Robert MacFarlane said...

At first I was kind of confused by his approach, but by the end I got what he was going for.

Michael McCarthy said...

I kinda hope Hoult gets reviewed next. Also...15? Really? Least year was easily better for lead actor and there were still only 10. I'm thinking a lot of people are gonna get disappointed by who doesn't get a 5.

Alex Marqués said...

Just saw Macbeth. Fassbender was excellent, my favourite scene of his being his monologue in the castle before the final battle. I think Cotillard was even better though.

Louis Morgan said...

Michael McCarthy: I don't really disagree with you, I don't think it's giving anything away to say its not as good as 2014 for the category. However if I only do 10 I will need leave off a lot of people's favorites. I mean I'll leave it up to the readers, if you want me to do 15 say so, or if you want me to cut it down to 10 let me know.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Please do 15. I really want Tremblay, Attah, Courtenay, Russell and Foster.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Can I exchange one of my performance requests, so that you could do 15.

Calvin Law said...

To be honest, I don't really mind Louis. Obviously I'd love to see my favourites McKellen, Hardy, Segel, Jordan and Fassbender discussed, but I'm entirely fine if you decide not to review any of them.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Plus, you're hardly gonna do 15 more than once.

RatedRStar said...

15 should be ok because I am sure there will be plenty still for the Bonus rounds, I am currently up to the 90s on my Bonus spreadsheet.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: He'll at least have Rohrig for the bonus round.

Michael McCarthy said...

I definitely don't need to see a set of 15 but I won't protest if there is one.

Calvin Law said...

I'm kinda excited for 1962 supporting so wouldn't mind a 10.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I think 15 is overboard. Ten is fine.

Calvin Law said...

Robert: Which 10 would you like? I'm assuming Bateman and Mendehlson of course, Hardy, McKellen, Segel, and Fassbender are definites.

Calvin Law said...

Definitely would like reviews for Jordan, Courtenay, Attah, Tremblay and Russell since they'd be rather interesting to read. Don't mind though!

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: If it was 10, apart from those you mentioned, Attah is the one I really want.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I still personally want 15 though, just so that Louis will cover the 5 I mentioned earlier.

Luke Higham said...

I'd be happy enough if he did 2 lineups and 3 extra reviews, those being Attah, Tremblay and Russell.

Calvin Law said...

I'd always thought it was a bit of a shame Louis wasn't able to review Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year for 2014 Alternates.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I'm surprised he didn't make the top ten and would like to see a bonus round review, though its probably not gonna happen.

Alex Marqués said...

Isaac's performance in that movie was excellent.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Isaac's my win. Then again, I have an unhealthy obsession with that movie, as anyone who friended me on Facebook could tell you.

Louis Morgan said...

I'll probably do just the ten then which will be more manageable for me, but in the results for supporting make sure you make your preferences known, and be specific.

Luke Higham said...

Jason Bateman - The Gift
Ben Mendelsohn - Mississippi Grind
Tom Hardy - Legend
Michael Fassbender - Macbeth
Ian McKellen - Mr. Holmes
Ben Foster - The Program
Abraham Attah - Beasts Of No Nation
Jason Segel - The End Of The Tour
Michael B. Jordan - Creed
Tom Courtenay - 45 Years

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If someone asks for your ratings and thoughts on those that miss out, can you wait until I give a response, as I might change one of my requests for an extra review.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

What I meant by be specific is name the two or three you'd most like to see reviewed.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: In that case:
Tom Hardy - Legend
Michael Fassbender - Macbeth
Abraham Attah - Beasts Of No Nation

Calvin Law said...

Ian McKellen - Mr Holmes
Tom Hardy - Legend
Jason Segel - The End of the Tour

Though I might switch to Michael B. Jordan when it comes to supporting results.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If we're going by a preferential ballot system, then Fassbender's #1, Attah's #2 and Hardy's #3. (He's definitely getting reviewed)

mcofra7 said...

Segel, Bateman, Fassbender

Luke Higham said...

mcofra7: Bateman's been requested.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Because Bateman and Mendelsohn are requested:

1. Jordan
2. Courtenay
3. Segel

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I'm changing my request for Oliver Reed in The Devils to Abraham Attah in Beasts Of No Nation.

1. Fassbender
2. Hardy
3. Foster

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I'll change my request for Michael Smiley to Fassbender, as I'm not quite sure what his placement is.

And I would like one of my requests to get a 5.

Changing my preferences once again.
1. Hardy
2. Foster
3. McKellen

Louis Morgan said...

You got greedy Luke, I'm denying all switch requests for 2015, no touching it.

Luke Higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Higham said...

Louis: Fine.
1. Fassbender
2. Attah
3. Hardy

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Sorry about the delayed comment.

Cotten if he had a decent part always delivered no matter how challenging it was. He knew how to provide the right charm with his work, even though it did not define his performance. Really I can't say anything against him since he managed to be at least okay in A Duel in the Sun, which was a terrible film, and Cotten had a downright terrible part.

Massey was a very interesting actor, though I could see if his theatrical style could turn some off. He knew how to make his presence known therefore in turn became one of the best character actors of the period. He actually could excel in the various roles he was tasked whether they were dignified like Lincoln, emotional like Adam Trask, or downright bonkers like Jonathan Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace.