Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Alternate Best Actor 2011: Matthias Schoenaerts in Bullhead

Matthias Schoenaerts did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jacky Vanmarsenille in Bullhead.

Bullhead is effective as a character study, though I'd say less so as a crime drama, that details the life of a man involved with the Belgian underworld of illegal growth hormones for cattle.

Matthias Schoenaerts is one of the most intriguing actors of his age group even though he is currently in a state of the in between in terms of his prominence. He at the very least has broken out internationally, aided no doubt by his unmatched ability with accents, the transformative quality of his performances, and his original leading performances in somewhat prominent foreign films. This includes the 2012 film Rust and Bone but started with his performance in this film. Funny enough, like his contemporary Tom Hardy's work in Bronson, Schoenaerts's first major leading turn came with a massive physical change as a musclebound man. As with Bronson, Jacky is not just fit but seems encased in himself. The opening scene of the film seems to suggest that the purpose of this bulk may be similair to that of Bronson's, as we go see Jacky intimidate a man for dealing with someone other than his own family. Obviously Jacky is an imposing figure to begin with his size and height, and Schoenaerts is appropriately menacing as he brings the needed ferocity to Jacky's hectoring of the man. Soon afterwards we see Jacky injecting himself with some sort of substance, it appears we're following a drug addled thug, but that is only a glance.

It soon becomes clear that it's not so simple and this is even before we learn anything from the film itself because of Schoenaerts's portrayal of Jacky. Schoenaerts portrays a constant discomfort in Jacky as though there is something wrong with his very being. Schoenaerts lumbers around as portrays this certain unease of a man who suffers even from such a simple act as walking. Schoenaerts presents a man who is fundamentally flawed in some way, there is damage in his soul. When Jacky is going about injecting himself, which turns out to be testosterone for the most part, there is a desperation in it. There is a pain in the very moment that Schoenaerts suggests though he never attaches this to say the pain of the needle. It is rather a desperation in the act, which is as though he is searching for some sort of reprieve of his current state through the injection which is never found. Schoenaerts creates even a sense that his muscles are some sort of personal armor to protect himself from this underlying trauma that constantly inflicts him, once again though Schoenaerts shows that this is a failed attempt as nothing can change his past.

That past is eventually revealed through a flashback. The flashback reveals that as a child Jacky's testicles where permanently destroyed by a mentally ill older boy, and his constant injections began as a child in order to allow normal male development. The damage of the event went past the injury as seen through Jacky's current state. After witnessing the event we are given a greater understanding of Jacky as a man and Schoenaerts's portrayal of him. Schoenaerts's work is outstanding the way that event seems ever a part of him. This is not only from the physical manner of the man. Schoenaerts is terrific as he represents also the history that followed. The history of being shunned in a way by others not knowing how to deal with what happened, but also from others mocking him for what happened. There is a barrier that Schoenaerts creates between Jacky and almost everyone he interacts.  This is within the general situations where Schoenaerts always separates himself from the rest as Jacky rarely stays within another's presence, and almost never stares at them directly.

Schoenaerts's work is effortlessly compelling in the way he realize such complexity in Jacky, despite having only the rare spoken word. Schoenaerts creates understanding for the surface of the man, which is as the hulking thug. In the scenes where Jacky becomes violent there is never a satisfaction to it, but rather a sad resignation. Schoenaerts presents a man being the only thing that it seems life has allowed him to be in these moments, as he relies on defense mechanism of sorts. In his most vicious attacks Schoenaerts brings a learned quality to it, as though it is the only way he can react given his past. Again it is always blunt and to the point. There is one moment where one of his associates mocks him for what he lacks, and Jacky smashes the man's face. Schoenaerts brings no sadism in this instead rather portraying it as the only way Jacky can communicate. Schoenaerts shows the way he snaps into the role that he's established for himself, the only role he knows from a life experience of a constant isolation.

There are a few instances where Jacky falls out of that role though. In the scenes where we see Jacky work with his cattle, Schoenaerts brings a more outgoing quality within Jacky. There is finally a bit of comfort in Jacky's interactions, though they are only with animals who are being primed for slaughter to begin with. Schoenaerts portrays so wonderfully the man who could have been. Late in the film Jacky is helped by his old childhood friend, and Schoenaerts portrays this relationship a bit differently from the rest though not inconsistently. Schoenaerts's performance depicts a bit less of that inner intensity that goes hand in hand with his personal pain, as he effectively shows the way Jacky interacts with someone he knew well before the incident. He's not closed off in the same way here as well, though Schoenaerts still infuses some distance fitting their time apart yet creates a proper connection to allude to their history together.

The most powerful aspect to Schoenaerts's work comes in the scenes where Jacky attempts to create any sort of relationship with a perfume saleswoman Lucia, who also is the sister of the boy that had attacked Jacky so many years before. Schoenaerts is downright brilliant in the early interactions as he shows the difficulty in Jacky as he attempts to just ever so slightly break out of his shell. Schoenaerts is rather affecting in portraying this unusual shyness in Jacky as he tries to meet her later in a nightclub, and in his eyes you can see the way how he cannot get past the constrictions brought upon others as well as himself. When Jacky brutally beats another man who tried to pick up Lucia, Schoenaerts even makes this basically an act of despair as he just resorts to the only response he feel he has once again. The film ends with Jacky attempting one more time to really speak to Lucia, which is made difficult after she has discovered that he beat the other man to an inch of his life. Schoenaerts is absolutely heartbreaking in the scene. He has only a couple almost meaningless lines, yet all of the meaning of the meeting is in his face. Schoenaerts is devastating as he shows Jacky trying so hard to come out with the right words, yet cannot bring them to his mouth. Every word and every emotion can be seen in Schoenaerts's haggard expression, but unfortunately Jacky still cannot escape himself failing to connect Lucia before falling into a final depressed rage. This is yet another amazing minimalist performance from 2011. I remained invested in Jacky's story even when the film wavered a bit, as Schoenaertes crafted such a consistently fascinating character who in the wrong hands could have been just an unlikable lout. Schoenaerts says so much with so little in his complex and sympathetic portrait of a truly unique character.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

He was really great. He never disappoints.
Louis: Your overall thoughts on Mel Blanc, Frank Welker, Jim Cummings, Billy West and Maurice LaMarche as voice actors.

Calvin Law said...

I'm so glad you took to him. If not for Oldman's all-time great turn he'd be my win for the year. My favourite scenes of his were indeed his scenes with Luia; I's say the best few seconds of his performance are in the perfume shop when he contemplates his past, and his final few seconds of seething rage. Amazing performance.

I'm wondering if you had the same issues with the film I did, namely the tonal whiplash of the comedic relief characters and the somewhat muddled crime 'plot'. It does work much better as a character study.

Could I have your thoughts/ratings for Perceval and Dandoy?

Calvin Law said...

Also, love that you love the There Will Be Blood score as much as I do. Although my favourite use of music in that film has to be the two instances where Brahms is played.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I love him in general, can't wait to see this.

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar must be nervous, I must say I'm interested in Gierszal's review.

Michael Patison said...

I thought I'd chime in on Garfield's accent in Hacksaw Ridge. I really don't have a problem with it at all. From what I can tell it captures well the mix of the "standard American" accent that emerged post-war and the typical sort of country Southern accent, which is most definitely different from the oft-copied drawl of the Deep South, a mix that was, and is, prevalent in the accents of many people living on the outer reaches of what would typically be termed the South.

Calvin Law said...

I'm extremely interested to see how Garfield's performance will stand with Louis. Gibson's a fantastic director but his protagonists tend to be rather one-sidedly heroic in nature. Desmond Doss, far as I'm aware from reading about him, doesn't even need the artistic licence Gibson needed for William Wallace to be portrayed as an all-round swell guy.

Calvin Law said...

That was very interesting though, thanks Michael :)

RatedRStar said...

Calvin Law: I am a little nervous actually haha, ive said it so many times but the performance just connects to me so much, I just feel like I am him in so many ways like his looks, issues, family, snobby background lol.

RatedRStar said...

I haven't seen Bullhead but I knew right away he would get a 5, its one of those performances where you just go " yep he is getting a 5"

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Can anyone find me Louis's thoughts on the problems present in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Alex Marqués said...

Now I really want to see this, I'm not familiar with Schoenaerts at all and I want to change that.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Daniel: I read the plot of Suicide Room, and I have to say, I might find it a difficult watch xD.

RatedRStar said...

Tahmeed: You reckon xD lol

Alex Marqués said...

Just watched Bullhead, all of the acclaim was completely justified and then some. You nailed it with your review as per usual, Louis.

Calvin Law said...

Just a few short thoughts on some trailers that've come out today:

A United Kingdom (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsHVqy2Xd6E): looks perfectly fine, but I feel it might underperform in awards season outside of the two leads as it really does look like just a very standard sort of prestige biopic. Looks like they're definitely playing to Oyewlowo's strengths on the basis of 'Selma', but Pike looks like she'll be going against type slightly, which I'm interested in.

Lion: just bits of a short clip I saw, looks a bit standard and workmanlike too but Dev Patel's Australian accent is pretty spot-on.

Manchester by the Sea (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsVoD0pTge0): Well it looks pretty understated thus far. I actually like how it doesn't seem too overbearingly emotional. I hope Affleck knocks it out of the park.


Anonymous said...

Louis, what are your top ten horror films?

Michael McCarthy said...

Calvin: I dunno, next to the Loving trailer I'd say A United Kingdom looks pretty awesome. And I'm super pumped for Manchester By the Sea, but does anyone get the sense that it's supposed to be quasi-autobiographical to Casey Affleck?

Alex Marqués said...

Manchester by the Sea looks so good, god I can't wait.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Dev Patel looks surprisingly good in that Lion trailer. Also, the Jon Snow look works for him.

RatedRStar said...

Lets face it, Casey Affleck is only gonna get a 5 for this role cause I know he will get reviewed, the films getting amazing reviews, this trailer has like 10 moments where I am like, that looks so powerful, I particularly love when he says to the kid "do you want .

Casey Affleck in real life for me always gives off the impression that he is depressed deep down so.

RatedRStar said...

I didn't finish that quote "do you want me to call your friends" theres something so endearing about that.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what are your thoughts on David Strathairn, John Hawkes, Bryan Cranston and Stanley Tucci as actors?

Anonymous said...

Louis what are your thoughts on those 3 trailers and the Loving trailer?

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Thoughts on Nicolas Winding Refn as a filmmaker?

Calvin Law said...

Robert: I thought the same thing about his look. I've never disliked Patel actually, I thought he was fine in Slumdog and I hardly blame him for the direness of Chappie.

Speaking of Refn I re-watched The Neon Demon and it's really staying with me.

Anonymous said...

I'm expecting Lion to be bad. Patel can't act to save his life.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Mel Blanc - (Earning his nickname of the man of a thousand voices Blanc was a true pioneer in his field. He made almost everyone of the voice he made up for the looney toones all iconic in their own right. Just about everyone of them hilarious, and essential to bringing to life those unforgettable and extremely entertaining characters)

Frank Welker - (His "minor" work in terms of any given animal needed or sound possible seems a bit unparalleled. His work expands far from that in that his voice is difficult to recognize from role to role. Whether that is his enthusiastic take on Ray in The Real Ghostbusters, his truly maniacal approach to Megatron, or his impressive recreations of so many characters.)

Jim Cummings - (The same can be said for Cummings who not only managed to succeed Sterling Halloway, but also even was able to fill in for Jeremy Irons in the middle of a song. One should never overlook his excellent original creations particularly Darkwing Duck, and my personal favorite voice of his that being the sinister alteration with Negaduck.)

Billy West - (Now I'd say his recreation work is less impressive than some, as his Bugs Bunny has never sounded quite right for me. However his original work is pretty consistently great especially his work in Futurama. Where he not only successfully plays a variety various roles in an entertaining fashion, and managed to portray a rather notable bit of emotional range as well.)

Maurice LaMarche - (Again impressive in terms of the sheer amount of different characters both in terms of recreations and imitations successfully bridged into successful characters. The most notable being his exceptional Orson Welles parody which he took about as far as he could, not only in terms of representation of Welles, having voiced him in Ed Wood, but also in successfully making an original character with it through the Brain.)

Calvin:

I'd agree with the issues. The thing is though I kind of enjoyed the antics of the hapless mechanics all on their own, but those scenes did not cohere with Jacky's scenes in the least. They seemed in a different movie from the one Schoenaerts was in.

Perceval - 3.5(I could almost say the same about Perceval for most of the film, who I again I did enjoy his portrayal of the character's hapless manner as an informant. Thankfully I did find he managed to at least jump the gap when he goes to help Jacky, and again the two actors were effective in realizing their friendship of the past in a moving fashion.)

Dandoy - 3(I liked her performance, but the role was purposefully thin. As she acts as mostly a plot device for Jacky, though an effective one. Dandoy does admirable job in just portraying a straight forward charm, then realistic fear towards Jacky.)

Alex: Thanks.

Anonymous:

Horror Movies:

1. Jaws
2. Alien
3. The Thing
4. Psycho
5. The Innocents
6. The Exorcist
7. Videodrome
8. Halloween
9. The Night of the Hunter
10. The Fly

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

David Strathairn - (Strathairn is as far as can tell a guarantee of a solid supporting performance. No matter the part Strathairn at the very least delivers. In the roles where he's given a bit more than say exposition, like Lincoln, Matewan, and Eight Men Out, which are still limited roles, Strathairn delivers in giving nuanced turns that make an impact. The one pseudo out of type performance of his that I've seen is Dolores Claiborne, where he successfully wavered out of his comfort zone. I'd like to see him do it again.)

John Hawkes - (It is a shame it took him so long to finally break out to larger roles, because if you find him in those smaller roles he still delivered like his one scene wonder in Dusk Till Dawn as the scared store clerk. He now has been upgraded to named parts and he's always a welcome presence to any film he's in. He has an extremely natural performance style, which offers a nice bit of stability to any film he may appear in.)

Bryan Cranston - (One of the most unlikely careers considering he spent so long as a movie and tv bit part player. I have to say in those bit part throughout the years he was consistently good whether it was in minor dramatic role, or in his broader sitcom turns. Breaking Bad though, which is the greatest television performance of all time, has given him a chance to be a 60 year old leading man. Cranston seems to be aware of his luck in that he seems to be becoming one of the prolific actors around. Now having only seen two of his post-bad works, Cranston has given two very over the top performances, though to be fair as very over the top real life individuals. I'm very interested to see where his career goes and I hope he finds the right roles for his talent which is considerable.)

Stanley Tucci - (Tucci I suppose I could call a chronic overactor, something he might not disagree with given his own personal statements or his reaction to his own Oscar clip. Tucci is a guarantee of a bit of raw energy for any given film which can certainly work in the right role, and he does know how to temper himself when the role calls for it like in Spotlight.)

Louis Morgan said...

94dk1:

Refn - (I have only seen three of his films. One which is one of my all time favorites, one I did not care for, and one that I rather liked to begin with and it's growing on me. Refn, even with Only God Forgives, has an undeniable eye for visuals. All three films look beautiful that should not be disputed, and he knows how to match that imagery with such memorable sounds and music. I'd say Refn is someone who needs to find the right material to combine with his visuals, and his unique storytelling. For example there are moments of gruesome excess fitting for an exploitation film in all three movies. In Drive, the head stomping sequence, it serves the story perfectly as the brutal act juxtaposed against the beauty of the first kiss reflected the driver's own conflicting personality. In Only God Forgives, the needle scene, adds nothing to the story as it is so long and so violent. The Neon Demon I'd say he was back on the right track, though I'm not sure I needed the necrophilia scene I will admit it at least technically gave insight to a character. Refn is someone I'd say will continue to be divisive just by the nature of his style, but I would not want him any other way.)

Anonymous:

United Kingdom. It came off as very standard prestige drama to me. I don't think it looks bad at all though, I still think Oyelowo could win for it, and hopefully there's something special hidden between the various prejudicial/inspirational statements/moments shown through the trailer.

Lion. First off I must agree with Robert Patel should keep the Jon Snow look it suits him. Also as someone who hasn't liked Patel in anything, he looks at the very least decent from the trailer anyways. Just in terms of the trailer I felt it was cut rather awkwardly, as it looked like Patel was trying to find his younger self who was currently stuck on a train. Nothing screamed greatness by the trailer, but I think it could be good.

Manchester by the Sea. Affleck looks promising. The trailer I honestly thought was a bit too quote dependent though. I must disagree with Calvin, in that I did find the trailer made the film look just bit overbearing, but I expect or at least hope the film will tell its story with a bit more nuance.

Loving. This trailer actually goes back to what I said about Nichols before. His plots are not the best parts of his film, and that's basically all the trailer focuses on. I don't think that's how the film will be. Past that the trailer at least suggests the central performances are promising.

Robert MacFarlane said...

From what I've heard Manchester By the Sea is WAAAAAY different than the trailers are painting it as. Apparently the trailer is just all the money scenes stapled together.

Calvin Law said...

I mean, I considered it less overbearing than the other 'Oscar bait' trailers I've seen. These films all could be good, but for upcoming films I must say Hacksaw Ridge and Rogue One easily stand as my favourites.

Regarding The Neon Demon, I actually love the final scenes now. I can't put my finger on exactly why since it is a bit of a whiplash from the story up to that point, but boy did that ending really make an impact on me.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: You've seen Bronson as well :)

94dfk1 said...

Thanks. I myself think he's a better director than he is a writer, and certainly very divisive. He is quite unique, which is nice in today's Hollywood atmosphere.

Wait, that was John Hawkes in Dusk Til' Dawn? A true one-scene delight.

Oh and thoughts on Neil Blomkamp as well?

Calvin Law said...

I'm starting to think Neil Blomkamp might be a one-hit wonder.

94dfk1 said...

Calvin: In fact he did. He reviewed Tom Hardy in Alternate Best Actor 2009.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Oh yeah, for some reason I always forget he directed that. Well then his record is even better for me.

94dk1:

Blomkamp - (His films have gone on a extreme downward curve. He'll always have District 9 I suppose. Which had great action, great acting from Copley, great atmosphere and even his social commentary worked. He used the pseudo documentary approach particularly well as he did not hammer in the message, though it was clearly present, unlike his later films. He even allowed there to be some humor to the proceedings and the emotional moments were far more affecting because he did not beat you over the head with them. So far that's all he has had though. Both Elysium and Chappie feel like diminishing returns from District 9. The visual style in both seem like a regurgitated version of what he did with that film. He lost all notions of subtly with his absurdly heavy handed writing. Then even his ability for structure fell apart with Chappie which was a mess in terms of tone and structure. Maybe he only had one vision, or maybe he needs to adapt someone else's script and find a story that requires a completely different setting than the ones he's currently been working with. I hope it's not the former.)

Michael McCarthy said...

So wait, am I the only one who thinks Edgerton looks like he's gonna be awful in Loving?

Calvin Law said...

No, I was going to say, he looks like he's doing the whole 'squinting' and 'mumbling' thing that really annoys me. Negga looks like she'll be good though. The film itself? Looks meh.

Calvin Law said...

Only issues I have with the pseudo documentary approach in District 9 is that it's not the most consistent, but that's a nitpick. Elysium at least had a good leading turn from Damon, and Sharlto Copley was fun (though I'm not nearly as crazy about him as Louis). Chappie was just awful through and through and through.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Neon Demon certainly has stuck with me, but I'm not sure Id go above my mixed-to-positive reaction.

I have to admit I have some issues with District 9 (it's kind of racist, dropping the whole documentary style without warning), but it's certainly great in its best moments, and Copley is pretty damn good in it. Elysium... Yeesh. I couldn't bring myself to watch Chappie.

Calvin Law said...

If you hated Elysium that much, you'd probably cry through Chappie. Poor Hugh Jackman looked like he was going to break down any moment.

94dfk1 said...

Maybe Blomkamp should go more in a Ridley Scott direction and focus on helming other people's scripts. His writing seems to be a weak link in his latter two movies.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Is Marlon Brando a 4.5 or 5 in supporting for Julius Caesar?

Calvin Law said...

Tahmeed: He's still a 4.5 according to 2014 Louis in James Mason's review for the same film.

Luke Higham said...

Everyone: What are your thoughts on Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Robert MacFarlane said...

My third favorite Wes Anderson. His style was perfect for both that story and stop-motion. Managed to be better than the book by a wide margin.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on the cinematography of The Big Country?

John Smith said...

Louis: Thoughts and Ratings on Rupert Grind, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in 'The Deathly Hallows part 1'

94dfk1 said...

Wes Anderson can hit-or-miss for me. I count Fantastic Mr. Fox as a hit, though. Still need to see Bottle Rocket, The Darjeeling Limited, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

94dfk1 said...

Also, is it just me or does anyone else think Jason Segel would make for an effective lead in a Woody Allen film?

Calvin Law said...

Luke: I'm not a huge fan, but it's a nice enough little film. Haven't seen it in ages!

94dfk1: Definitely as I think he'd be a great Allen-esque sort of protagonist without the need to impersonate him in any way. Segel reminds me a bit of Jeff Daniels in a way; I'm imagining a 2010s version of The Purple Rose of Cairo with him in Daniels' role and Carey Mulligan in Mia Farrow's.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Ratings and thoughts on:
Shaq, Richard Roundtree, Annabeth Gish and Judd Nelson in Steel

Calvin Law said...

Can anyone actually think of any athletes who can act? Ray Allen wasn't bad in He Got Game, Lebron James and John Cena were pretty funny in Trainwreck, but the closest I can think of in terms of genuine talent is Andre the Giant (if he even counts).

Alex Marqués said...

Has anyone seen Don't Breathe yet?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Much like everything else in the film, rather uninspired. Although not incompetent, there is nothing remarkable in terms of its composition and presentation of shots. The exterior work is standard wide shots for the most part, and the interior work occasionally uses shadows in somewhat interesting way, most of the time is still rather bland.

John Smith:

Radcliffe, - 2.5, Grint, Watson - 3(Although some of the problems that are part of the entirety of their work in the series are still present I'd say the film contains their best performances of the series. As in Watson, and Radcliffe rely too heavily on a few too many of the same tricks while Grint is still saddled with the films' version of Ron which is a far more limited role than it should be. They manage to bridge their performances to the darker tone of this film in particular, and they manage to do rather well in the forest sequence which relies heavily on just the three of them.)

Anonymous:

Big Steel fan eh?

Shaq - 1(Yeah Shaq and acting just don't come together. He has a bit of a problem in terms of making any line seem remotely believable, and he does not have a naturally charismatic screen presence to make up for it. His inability goes further as there is just a general awkwardness about everything he does on screen. Shaq just seems ill fitting to the very idea of being on screen.)

Roundtree - 2.5(He has some terrible lines to deal with but Roundtree does manage to bring a bit of charm to his very uninspired character)

Nelson - 2(Yeah it's a bit difficult to buy Bender as the menacing villain type. He could be worse, but he's not very good either.)

Gish - 3(She's way better than she should be given the film. She brings an endearing warmth to her character, and even if it's down in a very corny way she actually does give just a bit of weight to her character's recovery)

Calvin:

The answer is Carl Weathers, also the answer to most of life's problems.

Calvin Law said...

Oh yeah, Weathers. Always forget he was a football player to start with. And Woody Strode too, now that I think about it.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: I just watched The Quiet Duel, would you consider it lesser Kurosawa? Which is to say it was good, but just didn't have that extra 'spark' to it most of his films have. Mifune was great though, I'm torn between him and Cagney for my 1949 win.

Also are there any Takashi Shimura performances you might possibly bump up? I re-watched Drunken Angel the other day and though Mifune is still my win, Shimura I thought did a fantastic job as well and I've upped him to my runner-up and a 5 for the year.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Calvin: I hope Shimura and Massey's performances in I Live in Fear and East of Eden both get bumped up to a 5, to be perfectly honest.

Calvin Law said...

Tahmeed: Haven't seen I Live in Fear yet (really should), but yes Massey is utterly brilliant in East of Eden. It's so interesting to read about how him and Dean did not get along at all behind the scenes as it fuels their dynamic brilliantly.

Calvin Law said...

What's everyone's favourite reaction shot of all-time? For me it has to be either Guy Pearce in L.A. Confidential for THAT revelation scene, Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter when brought to the brink of despair, or Shimura for his heartbreaking reaction to 'Godola no uta'.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

The Quiet Duel is an interesting one I think. I personally would not put it up with his best, and the plot itself seems that of a standard medical melodrama. What Kurosawa does with that still I think is fairly remarkable as he not only makes the central conflict affecting, but I also love just his attention to the smaller details such as they way he creates a real sense of the life of the hospital.

I could easily raise Shimura up for both Drunken Angel and I Live in Fear.

As for reaction shots. Love your choices. A few of my favorites off the top of my head are when Salieri figures out who Mozart is in Amadeus, when Timothy finds out what happened to his daughter in 10 Rillington Place, and in It's a Wonderful Life with Stewart's reaction to "but George they'll vote with potter otherwise".

Robert MacFarlane said...

My favorite reaction shot is Michael J. Fox slowly leaning in to get a good look at past!George in Back to the Future.

Calvin Law said...

Ah damn, those are great too. I can't believe I forgot the reaction shots of John Hurt and Jimmy Stewart in those films too, after all they're my all-time wins in that category. They'd definitely be up there as well.

Robert: Fox's facial expressions in BTTF are absolutely gold, every one of them. I have a hard time picking out my favourite but that's a great one.

Calvin Law said...

And actually now that I mention L.A. Confidential, I can't believe I didn't mention Kevin Spacey's 'I don't remember'.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: Love your choice of Brian Blessed for Hamish. Makes me wonder, what would you think of Brendan Gleeson playing a character like Prince Vultan, in a film like Flash Gordon?

Calvin Law said...

Because I was thinking, George Miller had his Mad Max opportunity this year. Mike Hodges (or if he's retired, then Edgar Wright) should get the chance to do a brand new re-imagining of the Flash Gordon universe, with Chris Evans as Flash.

Alex Marqués said...

One of my favourite reaction shots is Arthur Leigh Allen's reaction when he meets Robert Graysmith in the store in Zodiac.

Michael McCarthy said...

Honestly the biggest one that comes to mind for me is Nicholas Hoult in Mad Max when Immortan Joe is promising Nux a place in Valhalla.

Michael McCarthy said...

Oh and of course Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges when Ken finds out why he's in Bruges.

Anonymous said...

My favorite reaction shots are probably those of Fox in BTTF and Jimmy Stewart in IAWL.
Louis: Your top 10 worst Westerns.

Matt Mustin said...

Can we count TV for the reaction shots? Because the one Dean Norris has when he realizes what WW means on Breaking Bad is classic.

RatedRStar said...

=D everybody here talking about reaction shots, while I sit here, rather nervously about what awaits me lol haha =D, only one review left....

Ill add another perfect reaction shot, Gene Tierney in Laura when Webb appears and says " Thats the way it is, isnt it Laura".

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

Just recently watched it again, and yeah that moment is a classic.

Calvin:

I could see that.

Anonymous:

Made a list a couple years ago, but here is the updated version.

1. Once Upon a Time in The West
2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
3. The Assassination of Jesse James
4. Unforgiven
5. The Treasure of Sierra Madre
6. The Proposition
7. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
8. For a Few Dollars More
9. The Ox-Bow Incident
10. The Wild Bunch

Anonymous said...

Louis: I said worst, not best.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: Calvin was right lol I am pretty nervous lol, especially since im sure you have seen what I look like and that isn't too diffent from Gierzals Emo appearance lol, I of course dont mind if you give it a bad rating ill still be here as always, just... I am sure ud know why it would mean so much to me.. on par with a Claude Rains performance.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Sorry about that.

Hmm.

1. Wild Wild West
2. The Conqueror (I'll count it anyways)
3. Cimarron
4. Duel in the Sun
5. In Old Arizona
6. Paint Your Wagon
7. The Black Dakotas
8. The Big Country

That's about it, to be honest I haven't seen that many terrible westerns. I'm sure they're out there, but I really don't even like having the Big Country on the list because of Burl Ives.

Anonymous said...

Louis: If Dick Tracy was made in the 1930's, who would be your cast? Lubitsch would direct it, of course.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: You saw Wild Wild West lol, even I did in a cinema when I was a little kid, your brief thoughts perhaps?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Saw Hell or High Water. Enjoyed it a lot. Loved Pine and Bridges in particular.

Louis Morgan said...

RatedRStar:

Must I, fine. Smith, and Kline can't make anything out of their abysmal material. Branagh is unbearably grotesque, though he's at least trying. Salma Hayek sleep walks through the whole thing. The film itself is a series of tonally odd unfunny sequences that look expensive but only in terms of how you can see that they wasted a lot of money on their very ugly sets and visual effects. It's a terrible film.

Anonymous:

Dick Tracy: Clark Gable
Big Boy Caprice: Louis Wolheim
Breathless Mahoney: Marlene Dietrich
Tess Trueheart: Bebe Daniels
The Kid: Jackie Cooper
Chief Brandon: Edward Arnold
Fletcher: Frank Morgan
Mumbles: Paul Muni
Flattop: Louis Calhern
Itchy: Ray Collins
Lips Manlis: Eugene Pallette