Friday, 28 April 2017

Alternate Best Actor 2012: Toby Jones in Berberian Sound Studio

Toby Jones did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Gilderoy in Berberian Sound Studio.

Berberian Sound Studio follows a sound engineer as he works on an Italian horror film. I appreciated it more as an exercise than as a wholly satisfying film.

The film is centered around Toby Jones, the reliable one of a kind character character, whose pretty much guaranteed to bring something to the films he's in no matter the size of his role. It's always a pleasure to see whenever a character actor of Jones's pedigree gets a leading role. It's funny here though that Jones sort of plays what would often be a supporting character in a film about film making, though this film focuses on the sound design for an Italian giallo film never seeming to leave the studio where they are making the tracks for the film. The role of Gilderoy even with the film is a curious one, as even though he's the main character, his presence within that is often off to the side against the diva actress, the mean producer, or the sleazy director since he is often unaware of their internal conflicts by the group since they are so often speaking in Italian around him. This leaves Gilderoy in a very strange position as he attempts to do his work on the film.

Jones also acts as our entry point into the Italian studio as he tries to discover what he'll being doing exactly, while we try to see what the film is about exactly. Jones is very good in these early scenes as he realizes the unease of this unknown as Gilderoy tries to acclimate himself to the studio. This is made all the more difficult through Jones's realization of Gilderoy's introversion. Jones is terrific in this regard as he makes it such a natural element to his work which he doesn't overplay though. He shows the way that Gilderoy never quite looks anyone else in the eye, and Jones delivers his lines often with a rush as he struggles to pace his speaking to the normal societal standard. Jones doesn't though go so far as to make Gilderoy this creep though, and does offer a sympathetic bent to this state of the man. Jones makes the awkwardness unintentional as he should be, and shows well the way that Gilderoy does attempt to speak with a greater ease, he just struggles with it.

Jones is pivotal in creating the atmosphere of the film as he manages to offer that outsider's state of mind in the place, which is made worse through his introversion. Jones reveals that difficultly in trying to even be part of the group he's working with, which extends further than his personal awkwardness. Jones conveys that underlying, quiet fear, of the unknown as even his reactions to the Italian speaking is important as Jones so well shows that state of disconnectedness. Jones creates this so well as he does allow Gilderoy to be an empathetic figure through the honesty of many of his reactions. One in particular is when Gilderoy is seeking a little reimbursement for his airplane ticket from the producer and he is brutally chewed out. Jones portrays so well the way this only worsens Gilderoy's state and only seems to further place him on the outside while being stuck within the studio that slowly seems to be some of purgatory if not hell for Gilderoy.

The only reprieves that Jones shows are in the form of letters from his mother, about chicks, and at times when he is left to work all alone. Jones subtly in his eyes conveys so well the bits of solace Gilderoy finds in these moments yet he even makes these somewhat cruel by the brevity of this time. Jones will show this only lasts when Gilderoy is left to himself but the moment matter of the film comes back, he backs into that state. Jones not only helps to create the atmosphere but also balances it with the pivotal human factor through his depiction of Gilderoy's experience. He offers an understanding to the man and the situation even as he becomes more and more unwieldy. A great deal of the horror comes in Jones's reflection of the oddly painful situation, as he is able to show that terror that is most unpleasant as he's not even quite sure what it is he's afraid of. There though seems to be something off and Jones grants this all the more power by offering such a genuine, even if unique, presence. One of the most unnerving moments is when Gilderoy has a call to the outside where he is told his plane ride he took to Italy supposedly never happened. Jones makes it such a chilling moment by finding the confusion within Gilderoy as the fear in the man begins to surface. I will say the film doesn't wholly make use of what Jones is doing as it begins to get swallowed up by its own style, though at least that style is good, and loses its way a bit. Jones maintains his compelling performance right until the end as he brings Gilderoy at least to his end in his strange hell. Jones internalizes the emotional desperation in Gilderoy as he becomes all the more broken, yet all the more silent in his pain. Jones's performance is worthier of a stronger film, though this isn't bad one. I do feel a better film could have allowed Jones to take this role even further. As it stands though he amplifies the film's best elements through his ability to realize the horror and humanize it.

49 comments:

Luke Higham said...

I'm glad my request paid off. :)

Louis: Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast.

I can't wait for the first Mikkelsen review next.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I hope you'll review him in Infamous.

Matt Mustin said...

Terrific performance, and I actually enjoyed the film quite a bit too.

Charles Heiston said...

I think he's guaranteed for Infamous. I prefer his portrayal of Capote to Hoffman's.

Luke Higham said...

My 2006 Lead lineup.
Toby Jones
Mads Mikkelsen (After The Wedding)
Ben Whishaw (Perfume)
Michael Shannon (Bug)
Joseph Gordon Levitt (Brick)

I hope he'll review Cohen as a bonus.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Could I have your thoughts on A Tale of Two Cities (the book) and its characters? Cause I've gone from completely loving it to realizing that all of my admiration for it revolved around Sidney Carton.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: I'd have to agree with you on that.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: With Guardians 1 & 2, which soundtrack do you prefer.

Calvin Law said...

Tough question Luke. I liked the songs in Vol. 2 more, but preferred the way they were used in Vol. 1 more. Both soundtracks are great anyway.

It's really growing on me even more when I think about it. But I think I'll wait till the others get a chance to see it to say more.

Calvin Law said...

Also, I agree that Rooker is the MAP.

Calvin Law said...

*MVP

Luke Higham said...

I'll replace Michael Shannon with Sacha Baron Cohen. Bug is 2007 by Louis' rules.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I'm half considering requesting Baron Cohen.

Luke Higham said...

I'm not sure about Gosling getting in for 2007 now.

Alex Marqués said...

luke: I think he should, it would be an interesting performance to review.

Luke Higham said...

Alex: I agree, though I plan on requesting Riley and Markovics at some point and I'm sure Calvin will choose Amalric as well. Leaving us with Gosling, Leung and Shannon (Bug & Shotgun Stories).

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Is Song Kang-Ho any good in The Host.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Matthias Schoenaerts as an actor. I asked it before, though you said you needed to see a bit more from him first.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: he's good but it's far from his best performance, very simple role. I think Louis would probably give him a 3.5 or 4.

Calvin Law said...

I'll admit I'll rather Gosling get in than Leung, whose performance I've always found good but there's something a bit missing, plus I thought Tang Wei kind of overshadowed him.

Charles Heiston said...

I think Leung should get a review, i don't think anyone overshadowed anybody. I could live with Gosling missing out for Leung's work in exchange.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I did request Darsheel Safary for Taare Zameen Par for 2007, and I'm anxious about Louis liking him. I'd also be pissed if my request prevents a better performance from being reviewed

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: I believe he'll not be part of the actual lineup, so I wouldn't worry about it.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I know this is quite late, but have you settled on a 4.5 for De Niro in Mean Streets.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: I was hoping for him to get bumped up to a 5 when he redid 1973 recently.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Which of today's actors would you compare to Robert Shaw.

Michael McCarthy said...

Louis (and/or whoever else has seen it) where is a good place to watch The Funeral (1984)? I can't find it for the life of me.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Sotiropoulou - 3.5(She's pretty good in the scenes of doing the underwhelming acting particularly the screams, that just don't quite cut it. She properly though offsets that through her far more authentic and raw portrayal of her character's intense anger towards the men.)

Fusco & Mancino - 3.5(Both are pretty good in creating the same type of juxtaposition of the two sides of the men's horrible behavior. The first being the delusion of grandeur Mancino as the director with the vision and Fusco as the true professional. They make those properly thin against the real intentions with Fusco bringing the right sleaze, and Mancino the quick burst of anger at everyone and everything for not making everything go perfectly.)

No in regards to De Niro.

Ralph Fiennes, Mads Mikkelsen, maybe Damian Lewis.

Tahmeed:

I think that is a fair assessment as Carton's character arc is the most gripping aspect. Darnay on the other hand fits into the more typical bland Dickens bland "lead" there only to be a foil for Carton and the colorful side characters, though they are particularly broad in this case even for Dickens, and I always have felt something a little comical in the English against the French in terms of their depictions. I do think the setting provides an interesting alternative, though it is best used though just in terms of setting up the tragic heroic story which is the strongest element.

Michael:

It had been on youtube, but I think it's gone now.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: How likely is it for De Niro to go up.

Louis Morgan said...

Fairly possible.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could you give Mean Streets a re-watch sometime soon, though not really soon.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If you do put him up to a 5, then all is completely forgiven for the Taxi Driver downgrade. :)

Calvin Law said...

Louis: Your top 10 Bob Hoskins acting moments.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Hoskins:

1. The boardwalk - Mona Lisa
2. Confronting Mortwell - Mona Lisa
3. The Ending - The Long Good Friday
4. Story of his brother - Who Framed Roger Rabbit
5. A broken bottle - Long Good Friday
6. Toontown - Who Framed Roger Rabbit
7. Confronting the Americans - The Long Good Friday
8. Poorly dressed - Mona Lisa
9. "Remember me Eddie?" - Who Framed Roger Rabbit
10. "I did that job" - Mona Lisa

Luke Higham said...

I assume the Who Framed Roger Rabbit upgrade's definitely happening.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: I asked Louis awhile ago, he said it's possible.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I already knew back when you did ask him, but it looks certain.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Hoskins should definitely be upgraded for Roger Rabbit.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Your top 10 Jack Lemmon acting moments.

Louis Morgan said...

Charles:

Lemmon:

1. War speech - Save the Tiger
2. Greenhouse breakdown - The Days of Wine and Roses
3. No sale ever - Glengarry Glen Ross
4. Phone call to his wife - Save the Tiger
5. Final plea - Glengarry Glen Ross
6. Beach house - Save the Tiger
7. Final goodbye - The Days of Wine and Roses
8. Client's heart attack - Save the Tiger
9. Helping Roma - Glengarry Glen Ross
10. "Fun" drinking together - The Days of Wine and Roses

Calvin Law said...

Louis: could you see Hoskins in Borgnine's roles in From Here to Eternity and Marty in 1980s versions, and in The Wild Bunch in the 1990s?

Gus B. said...

Louis: now you watched Rust & Bone, what is your top 5 2012 lead actress and your top 5 Cotillard's performances?

Luke Higham said...

Gus B: I'd wait on his top 5 for Lead actress until the results are posted.

Gus B. said...

Indeed, there'se still Vikander and Smith.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Do you think I Live in Fear(1955) would've worked better if Shimura and Mifune switched roles?

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Yes I could, as there even are some qualities of Marty in George, and some overlap between Fatso and Harold Shand as well.

Charles:

Possibly, though I'd say in that situation it would be best actually to have Shimura take the lead and have Masayuki Mori take Shimura's role.

Calvin Law said...

It just struck me how similar they both look too.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Out of all the men on your ten best actors from the age of 40 & under list, who's the most likely to win an Oscar.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I'd say Fassbender.