Sunday, 6 November 2016

Alternate Best Actor 2005: Damian Lewis in Keane

Damian Lewis did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying David Keane in Keane.

Keane is an interesting character study about a disturbed man.

Damian Lewis plays the title character. Lewis is an actor I have to say who has somehow flown under my radar for some time. Now that I'm actually starting to catch up with some of his work though I must say I'm finding him to be an immensely talented actor. This role presents a challenge as the film bares so much on Damian Lewis's performance. We follow David Keane in an intimate fashion and I mean intimate. This is even more so than in the normal character study or even the typical one man show, as the camera itself never wavers more than a few feet from him with so many of the shots staying directly on him. In the early scenes of the film we follow David just as he goes about his day. We are not given his backstory. We are instead dropped right into this man's life without any preparation. Quite simply this is where everything could have gone wrong for the film and for the central character if it was the wrong actor in the role. Luckily it is Damian Lewis who absolutely inhabits this character, which is essential given the condition of the man.

The film opens with David asking employees at a train station if they've seen his daughter. Lewis is heartbreaking from the outset as his pleas for some sort of information are harrowing. There is such a palatable desperation in his voice as he attempts to find any solace which they cannot offer him. We continue to follow the man and it becomes clear he is mentally ill. The mental illness that Lewis manages to depict is a different sort than is often focused upon in films, in fact David Keane feels more like a character we might just meet just for a scene in most films. Lewis reveals a far messier type of illness as he so effectively shows the disjointed mental state of David. Lewis never forces this rather making his randomness feel so natural. In fact Lewis is so good he is indeed rather hard to watch as he portrays the struggle for the man to keep himself together for even the most basic tasks. Lewis's physical manner, and behavior always reinforces the jumbled state of a man who struggles to think clearly.

We first follow a day in his life as David pays for his rent, buys drugs, and randomly looks for work. Lewis shows though in these actions that it even goes deeper than his mental problems, as he brings this almost constant sense of distress in the man which alludes the loss of his daughter many years ago. Lewis takes this idea through David's day as many of his acts seem an attempt to find some sort of solace. Lewis reveals a strain in David as he makes this attempt for some sort of ease whether it is using drugs, having sex with a random woman, or in one instance just trying to listen a song at a bar. Lewis is harrowing to watch as he exudes such pain in David in his futile attempt to calm his mental state. The bar song scene is especially powerful as Lewis brings such a raw desire in David as he tries to take in the song as much as he can, while still showing that it never quite brings David what he is looking for. This sort of changes when David befriends a mother (Amy Ryan) and her young daughter (Abigail Breslin).

Lewis excels in these scenes as he shows a greater comfort in David in these interactions, though the disturbed nature of the man is never forgotten. Lewis shows just a bit of ease in David, but he simply still is a mentally unwell. As he finds out more about them though, David begins to believe that the mother might be abandoning her daughter. This is unsaid yet made through Lewis's performance. Lewis conveys this as he brings the growing paranoia back to David once again, and begins to lose his stability. Lewis is terrific as he creates this as a thought in David that gradually grows, and only builds his inability to keep himself together. Lewis's work is deeply moving though in his interactions with the young girl, as he brings such a warmth as we see David as the father he was meant to be if his own daughter had not been stolen from him. Even as his intentions become problematic, since David tries to use her as a bait of sorts as he believes that the person who abducted his own daughter still frequents the same train station, Lewis strangely reveals a noble intention. Lewis only reveals a very earnest desire for some sort of closure but is given none. Lewis's work though is truly affecting though as he still reveals only the love of a father as he decides to do the right thing. This is a striking performance, and the film frankly would not have worked at all if it were not for Lewis. If for a moment this felt like acting it would all fall apart in a moments notice. Lewis's work though always feels real, and carries us through this man's troubled life.

60 comments:

Giuseppe Fadda said...

Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast?

Louis Morgan said...

Giuseppe:

Everyone else is fine, but the nature of the film makes it so it's only really Lewis's show.

Calvin Law said...

Hell yeah. This won't be the last we'll see of him.

Giuseppe: I thought Linney was incredibly overwrought and mannered in her one scene and just embodied some of the worst excesses of Ford.

Omar: I was ambivalent to the ending. I'd have liked a better ending scene for Andes though.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on the Almost Got 'im episode from Batman TAS?

Calvin Law said...

Also Louis you should check out Homeland at some point in the future; the show is solid and Lewis is great in it.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

It's one of the best episodes. Now all the stories are more than decent action set pieces but what makes the episode stand out are the interactions between the villains. The episode has so much fun with this as we get to see the villains in a more casual atmosphere, and the little insults they trade with one another are fantastic. I must give special mention to Killer Croc's hilarious "almost got him" story. The episode is great how it allows us to see the villains in a different light, but in no way compromises them, it only adds to their characters.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What did you think of the twist at the end of the episode? I always loved it.

Robert MacFarlane said...

So are there any performances coming out in 2017 that you guys are excited for? Just curious.

Matt Mustin said...

Robert: Gary Oldman's take on Churchill. The makeup looks great, and it's been a while since he got a really great role.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Mine is Keith Stanfield in Death Note. L is one of my favorite anime characters, and Stanfield's work on Atlanta is practically an audition. Something tells me that even if the movie doesn't work, he will.

Calvin Law said...

Oldman for me too.

RatedRStar said...

Robert Macfarlane: I dont really want to think about the Death Note film if I am honest lol

Calvin Law: I heard there was a cheap jump scare in Nocturnal Animals, can I ask what is because I dont want to witness it lol?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Death Note is one of my top 5 favorite manga and anime of all time, but even I have to say, I'm not that enthusiastic about the film either.
Louis: You mentioned once that you find yourself quite out of touch with modern music (I do too, frankly). But I was wondering, what would be your top 5 favorite songs of the 2000s?

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar: Amy Adams watches a baby on an iPhone screen, gets scared by a female figure who leaps out.

Alex Marqués said...

Wow, I thought this was going to get five Mifunes, judging by the review.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm cautiously optimistic about the Death Note movie. I think Wingard will at least come up with something interesting. Really all I want is L to be done justice.

Calvin Law said...

Robert: Have you seen the Japanese adaptation of the manga? I really like the casting choice of Stanfield, too.

Alex: Was thinking the same, he may well sneak into/close to the top 5.

RatedRStar said...

Kenichi Matsuyama was just ok as L in the film version, he certainly had all the L traits and mannerisms.

The new version of Death Note, isn't really gonna be similar to the anime version really is it, this new one will probably be its own thing because were not gonna see Keith Stanfield sitting on a chair like L does are we lol, its unlikely we will see Keith Stanfield munching on cakes.

RatedRStar said...

As for the anime I do mostly like Death Note (its very Hitchcock feeling in terms of suspense), the first half is definately better than the second half, thats mostly due to a replacement appearing and not being as interesting.

RatedRStar said...

I am trying to think what other Anime that Hollywood will try to get the cash cow going on, Attack On Titan? Psycho Pass? maybe even Free! lol

Alex Marqués said...

Which performances from 2016 have been saved by Louis so far?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a Hollywood adaptation of Black Lagoon.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Why wouldn't Stanfield play L without the quirks? Like, there is absolutely no reason to assume that.

RatedRStar said...

I would love to see Creature From The Black Lagoon get the Fincher treatment because I reckon he could make it spooky and disturbing.

Robert: Look ill happily eat my words if I am wrong its just a prediction/opinion.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

They better not touch Attack on Titan. Hollywood film studios cannot do anime adaptations right, i.e Dragon Ball Evolution.

L Rime said...

Anonymous:

Quentin Tarantino doing a Black Lagoon adaptation would be incredible. But really, that's the only way I could see it being done. The English dubbed version of Black Lagoon is one of the most perfect translations anime's ever had and a movie could only be done by someone who "gets" it. Tarantino could do it but he's about it.

RatedRStar:

When you speak of the replacement, who are you talking about? Since there's two of them and they represent the two sides of L. The immature side and the analytical side.

RatedRStar said...

Rime: I used the term replacement purely because they basically were L and I just found it to be a poor writing decision to have L again but not as interesting and or as entertaining then again that comes from the original decision to get rid of L which is a pretty awful decision from virtually every point of view.

RatedRStar said...

As I said I do really like the Anime adaptation of Death Note I just think the second half of it is underwhelming lol.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm not a fan of the second half of Death Note either. Killing L was a major mistake from a narrative standpoint. Still, great ending (moreso in the manga, since Light is a groveling, begging wreck when he dies).

Anonymous said...

Death Note has a great dub. It's funny how the company who dubbed Death Note also dubbed the infamous dub of Dragon Ball Z.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Man, I miss Canadian anime dubs.

Anonymous said...

Canadian voice actors are pretty underrated. You can't go wrong with Scott McNeil, Brian Drummond and the Dobson brothers.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I actually rewatched the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist, and only now I realized they must have flown Scott McNeil from Canada to Texas to record six episodes worth of work.

RatedRStar said...

Alessandro Julianis voice as L =D =D =D , if Anime characters were real I would date L =D lol, I dont think he would date me lol since he doesnt like hugs.

Anonymous said...

RatedRStar: I would date Android 18 if she was real. Krillin is a lucky bastard.

Anonymous said...

Louis: So the villain of Affleck's solo Batman film is gonna be Deathstroke. Thoughts on this?

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: I just noticed that Mysterious Skin didn't get a public release until 2005: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0370986/releaseinfo
Wouldn't that mean that he should be reviewed this year?

Alex Marqués said...

(JGL I mean)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

A splendid twist if only believable in the world of animation.

Robert:

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (Feel like she could fit like glove with McDonagh, and the film itself is probably my most anticipated film of 2017.)

Tahmeed:

Well after looking through songs post-2000, I'm afraid I am as lost as I thought I was.

Anonymous:

Interesting choice to be sure, though he's not a Batman villain, he seems a good fit for the style of Affleck's Batman we've seen so far. Not sure about the casting but I've only seen Manganiello in some very minor roles.

Alex:

Sadly such information would have been useful earlier, nevertheless I'll add him to the docket.

Calvin Law said...

I'd be interested to hear how Louis will react to Mysterious Skin and JGL.

Everyone: what year would Sam L Jackson for Black Snake Moan be?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

The fuck is America thinking?! I hate to be political, but seriously.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm extremely upset right now and may stay off the internet for a few days.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

How is this shit possible? How? No offense to any Americans on this blog, but honestly speaking, if that racist, xenophobic, incoherent, unqualified buffoon is actually elected to the most influential post of the globe, World War 3 is imminent.

RatedRStar said...

I dont really know what to say if I am honest

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I don't have words to express how shocked and upset I am...

Varun Neermul said...

Once upon a time a man named Donald Trump wanted to become President... Usa allowed it.

Varun Neermul said...

Sweden is angry right now lol. We are very liberal.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I feel sick, terrified, and indescribably miserable.

Luke Higham said...

This would not have happened if Sanders was the Democratic nominee.

Calvin Law said...

I liked Sanders and his policies a lot but based on how the mentality seems to be...I dunno. Crazy.

Hope for the best though, eh, American fellas.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Goddammit Luke, just shut up about that nonsense.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: I know you like to be as apolitical as possible, but your thoughts on the US elections?

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

No comment.

RatedRStar said...

I think the USA will be fine, I think as hard to believe as it is, with social media so powerful nowadays there will always be hope, if Trump was universally liked but hated by a few then it would be a lost cause but because he is hated by most people, clearly hated by most celebrities so the fact that he is mostly disliked, possibly the most hated president to win ever, since Clinton, Obama and all the others even Presidents that are considered poor like Jimmy Carter and George W Bush weren't given the hateful treatment that Trump is getting when they were elected, so there will be hope and im sure lots will fight against the ridiculous policies and comments that he will provide.

Lets move on anyway, you never what can happen in this world.

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: how many performances from 2016 have you saved so far?

RatedRStar said...

you never know what can happen in this world.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

The only thing I'm looking forward to is how South Park will skewer the American populace in its next episode.

Calvin Law said...

So apparently the role Redmayne was in the running for on The Force Awakens wasn't Hux as I'd previously thought, but Kylo Ren. Eep, that could have gone terribly.

94dfk1 said...

Calvin: Yikes. Imagine him giving the same performance he gave in Jupiter Ascending. OH WHAT HAVE I DONE?! I CAN'T GET THE IMAGE OUT NOW!

Thank God for Adam Driver. His screen presence is a better fit for Kylo Ren than Redmayne. Dude's pretty tall so that helps.

Louis Morgan said...

Alex:

Actor:

Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water
Chris Pine - Hell or High Water
Anton Yelchin - Green Room
Andrews Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge
Jake Gyllenhaal - Demolition
Viggo Mortensen - Captain Fantastic
Michael Shannon - Midnight Special
Robert Downey Jr. - Captain America Civil War
Russell Crowe - The Nice Guys
Ryan Gosling - The Nice Guys
Tom Hanks - Sully
Julian Dennison - Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Supporting Actor:

Ben Foster - Hell or High Water
The Witch requests
Sam Neill - Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Alden Ehrenreich - Hail Caesar!
Christopher Lloyd - I Am Not a Serial Killer
Aaron Eckhart - Sully

I ought to start thinning lead out a bit.