Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2012: Cillian Murphy in Broken

Cillian Murphy did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Mike Kiernan in Broken.

Broken is a low key and I found to be rather effective coming of age story set in a pseudo To Kill a Mockingbird framework.

Now it's pseudo in that we do have a lead young female character who goes by a nickname, this time Skunk, who has a brother, given far less focus than in "Mockingbird", a father (Tim Roth) who is a lawyer. Several of these elements though are subverted particularly in the Boo Radley equivalent who in the end is shown to be dangerous in his mental derangement, and the low class father (Rory Kinnear) isn't quite the villain Bob Ewell was in the original film. We also aren't given a real Tom Robinson the closest we get is Cillian Murphy's Mike. We first meet Mike only really in passing at first as Skunk's nanny, Kasia's, boyfriend. Ge is given a more substantial role when it turns out he's Skunk's new school teacher as well. Although Murphy is an actor who often excels at playing the off-beat character or the man in an incredibly tense situation, though I actually liked seeing him here as just an average guy.

There may seem "baiter" roles at hand with Roth's sort of take on Atticus Finch, Robert Emms as the deranged man or Rory Kinnear as the loving yet violent father, who are indeed all good, however even though he's grappling with the least intense material Murphy actually left the strongest impression for me within the confines of his low key character. Murphy in no way tries to change that idea either, but is effective in playing Mike as an unassuming guy who almost accidentally gets caught up in the problems within Skunk's neighborhood. I like the honesty that Murphy brings that just adds a nice bit of life to the proceedings in a character that easily could have been forgotten about. Murphy so naturally realizes the various sides of Mike that Skunk sees him in. He brings the right type of awkwardness in this as Murphy shows sort of the strain as he attempts to be the proper teacher while still having these casual moments though suggesting the the sort of friend he has been in the past.

Murphy's performance actually brings in a nice bit of humor to the film though in a way that is natural to the overall tone of the film. For example his wordless hapless reaction to hearing a not so pleasant message from Kasia delivered by Skunk. Murphy is such an enjoyable yet understandable luckless guy here. Murphy brings the right likability through his earnest approach such as in his scene where Mike saves Skunk from harassment by the local bullies, the daughters of the Bob Ewell equivalent. Murphy in the scene does not command much of anything but he is so good at showing just the most noble intent in Mike as he tries to help. This unfortunately for Mike leads to him being accused of rape by one of the daughters followed up by a sudden severe beating by her father. Murphy somehow makes this somewhat amusing despite the severity of it by in his genuine reactions that show just how taken aback Mike is by it all. He further avoids melodrama even as he chews out Skunk's father for helping him, since Kasia is now seeing him instead, because he captures that undercurrent of comical disbelief with the very real emotion of his strange situation. Furthermore he is even moving as Murphy brings such vulnerability in Mike's later phone call to apologize for his behavior. This performance is notable because he essentially gives Mike a reason for being in the movie since he technically could have been eliminated. Murphy gives Mike purpose by offering the right depth in his little side story that is quietly humorous yet still sympathetic as just the wrong man in more than one way.

23 comments:

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Thoughts on the rest of the cast.

Louis Morgan said...

Charles:

You can find my thoughts on Roth and Emms two posts ago, and my thoughts on Laurence three posts ago.

Calvin Law said...

Entirely agree about Chappelle on the previous post, and about Murphy here. I was wondering Louis if there was anything in particular you think could have been improved upon in the film?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone here seen 'Gangs Of Wasseypur'. Would you recommend it?

Varun Neermul said...

Louis, have you watched the tv show 'Louie'?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you started watching the Hollow Crown films from 2012.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And your thoughts on the FOTR pieces that you listed on the previous review.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: I'm eager to hear Louis' thoughts when he's seen the Hollow Crown films too but I think we should take it easy on him, he's probably pretty busy with just these reviews alone as well as other stuff.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: also, with regards to Hellboy, I think del Toro just spends way too much time with too many different projects for studios to really trust him.

Psifonian said...

RIP Michael Parks, the man who (if it weren't for Gary Poulter) would dominate my Supporting Actor lineup in 2014.

Luke Higham said...

RIP Michael Parks

RatedRStar said...

RIP Michael Parks

Charles Heiston said...

R.I.P Michael Parks

Alex Marqués said...

RIP Michael Parks

Robert MacFarlane said...

RIP Michael Parks. I was really hoping Tarantino would give him one last good role as a swan song.

Calvin Law said...

RIP Michael Parks

Louis Morgan said...

R.I.P Michael Parks

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

I rather enjoyed the film and I don't feel it had any major obvious flaws.

del Toro seems often sunk by his own enthusiasm which is not terrible fault to have, but Hellboy 3 was never going to happen with his apparent budget demands. I have to say though I would rather have seen his Hobbits than his Crimson Peak and Pacific Rim, and maybe he could have made Hellboy 3 with those successes under his belt. I imagine with the reboot they'll go for a low budget horror route given the lack of major financial success for the series.

Varun:

I've seen a handful of episodes which I enjoyed for their Jim Jarmusch with touches of Lynch style.

Luke:

No I haven't. I have to admit I must apologize as I started watching Twin Peaks instead, since the revival is coming out soon.

Here's the first five for starters:

The Prophecy - (It is notable to begin with how this was such a stretch for Howard Shore being massively different from his earlier work which was in general simpler. He thrives though with the sort of full orchestra and choir style of an epic. This is a beautiful piece of opening music as it sets the stage so well with its soft choir that slowly grows to a more emotionally charged power and that wonderful mystical element of the second half of the piece that just creates the feeling of a time past.)

Amon Hen - (Again what Shore does is brand the music in such brilliant way as every piece is Lord of the Rings and you'd never think it was from any other film. This has a slight call back but in a new way in terms of the battle music from a Ben-Hur or a Spartacus. As he builds so well in its horns capturing that build up towards the battle so effectively. Then coming to the amazing Orc theme that just captures perfectly that intense industrial style in a brilliant march.)

The Treason of Isengard - (Obviously Shore loves his choir intro and outro but again they capture the spirit of the magical elements of the material so well. This piece is mainly a medley with snippets of pieces past and some to come but quite effectively so.)

Flight to the Ford - (Again voices though this time simpler and so powerfully so in creating such a elegance amplified by the light use of strings. This style in a way I feel gave a definition to fantasy music or how it should sound as its influence can be heard. It brings back the Nazgul theme and builds up to quite the incredible climax as it drifts from dramatic vocal to orchestra to the respite created by the return of the soft vocals.)

Journey in the Dark - (Terrific piece as it just seems to represent a pure death with that baritone soft orchestra supplemented by the matched voices that build as a sort of warning almost. It slowly though builds back up by gradually lifting to match sort of the intensity of battle, and creates that sort of rush effectively. Although I will say though this a great piece I always wished Jackson had required for only the use of drums in the initial arrival of the Orcs, as that is what the tension was based around in the book.)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Frank Silva in Twin Peaks.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If you're not able to watch the hollow crown films before the results are posted, then could you do so whenever you do 2016 again, since you also have Henry VI Parts I & II and Richard III. And there's not much to watch from that year.

Matt Mustin said...

Luke: They're TV so they won't be in the rankings anyway.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I'll let you know when I'm further along.

Luke Higham said...

Matt: I know the rules, yet I've wanted Louis to watch them for awhile now.