Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Alternate Best Actor 2003: Ivan Dobronravov in The Return

Ivan Dobronravov did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Ivan in The Return.

The Return follows two young brothers on a strange trip with the intention to bond with their estranged father after a 12 year absence.

Ivan Dobronravov plays Ivan in the most creative naming of a character since Alex Frost as Alex in Elephant. The idea behind such a naming could be to reinforce a certain realism, as the actor should not be as detached from the character, or at least an idea of sort of hiding the acting. Well unlike that other performance from 2003 Dobronravov's performance seems to support this choice. Dobronravov was obviously a child when delivering this performance, and giving any reality to a character is one of the first indicators of a good child performer. There is not any precociousness here, as Dobronravov presents from his first a scene a kid in a fairly troubled situation. We see him early on with his brother, and his friends, or at the very least his peers as they play a game involving heights. Dobronravov is terrific in this opening scene since he realizes so effectively the distress of the situation. In first portraying the intense fear of a child's fear properly, as he breaks down physically in his reaction. Further Dobronravov afterwards captures that terribly shy embarrassment as he shows Ivan attempting to pull himself together, while only falling apart all the more when facing ridicule by those around him.
 
The film then cuts as Ivan and his brother Andrei return home after the incident. We are given just a few moments but Dobronravov and Vladimir Gari as Andrei both create the right inherent chemistry of two brothers who share a strong connection. There isn't a lot said in regards to the matter it is known through the performances as the two both reveal just that right sort of ease with each other, and certain comfort the two share when directly interacting with one another. Their time at home changes suddenly when their father suddenly reenters their lives and swiftly takes them on a strange trip. The central conflict begins through the separate reactions of the brothers. Gari's performance shows Andrei mainly going with the flow portraying an active attempt to become re-acquainted with their father, whereas Dobronravov establishes early on a hostility towards the man. Dobronravov's performance once again works by the sort of intensity only fitting to a child's particular reaction here. Dobronravov importantly creates the right lack of certainty in the emotional state, as he shows the distress that seems to stem from both his feelings of abandonment as they do from his feelings of not knowing how to feel about the situation.

Dobronravov gives a very stubborn performance that is quite effective in showing Ivan refusal to go along or in any way open up to his father. From the moment they set out in the car Dobronravov is consistent in portraying that raw anger of the son towards the father that has the right senselessness in a way, since again it is a kid dealing with this not an adult. As the film progresses though the father's behavior is random as he seems to try to fulfill every role of a father possible in a rapid succession. Dobronravov's performance is often reflexive towards this in portraying the growing confusion in Ivan towards his father's bizarre behavior. His performance does well though as he takes in these moments to gradually worsen Ivan's state as his underlying anger begins to also become confused with feelings of disbelief, paranoia, and even isolation as Ivan begins even losing his connection to his brother. This eventually leads to Ivan acting out in a call back to the opening scene involving a high tower. Dobronravov earns the breakdown as he makes it a powerful release of everything Ivan's been dealing with in a single act, that again is not refined moment of outrage, but rather as messy as it should be for a boy in his situation. This leads to a sudden tragedy and the film suddenly shifts as does Dobronravov's performance. What happens though makes sense for the swiftness of the shift and Dobronravov's fulfills the needed change. That being he shows similair confusion of emotion but now it is defined most strongly by sadness rather than anger, showing the boy still to be lost though now for a different reason. This is a good performance as Ivan Dobronravov realizes this difficult state of this boy through his strange situation offering the needed honesty to the specific drama.

62 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Rating and thoughts on Lavronenko.

And thoughts on the Fargo season finale and thoughts on the cast of season 3.

Luke Higham said...

Don't let me down Thornton. I'm quite badly in need of a request.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And your rating for Gari.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Lavronenko - 3.5(It's an effective performance in that it is purposefully impossible to decipher since we are given Ivan's perspective. Lavronenko's performance works in that way though in that he is constantly changing from warmth to coldness, from a teacher to a disciplinarian in an awkward way but natural given the situation. It works well as a distant performance until just his last scene where he poignantly finally offers a direct sympathy even if it is for only a few seconds.)

Louis Morgan said...

3

Luke Higham said...

Looks like Jason Isaacs will be reviewed for Peter Pan. :)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is this only the second Russian film you've watched.

Louis Morgan said...

Possibly.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: If your views on Girard's performance coincide with Michael's, could you review Duvall instead. I don't want the lineup ending on a 3.

Robert MacFarlane said...

There was a Russian film from 2011 I watched called Elena. Thought it was too dry, but you might like it more than I did. I did love Elena Lyadova's supporting performance quite a bit, though.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Tarkovsky, Eisenstein and Bondarchuk's War and Peace.

Charles Heiston said...

I hope Thornton gets at least a 4.5.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Actually, this is the third Russian film you've seen after Alexander Nevsky & Come And See.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Could Eisenberg go up for The Social Network

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Louis said that he could go up once he's given a re-watch.

Calvin Law said...

The Workman himself Ron Howard is set to finish off the Han Solo film.

Well I guess we know what Disney wants now.

Luke Higham said...

Screw Disney. I'm extremely glad Patty Jenkins proved them wrong with Wonder Woman, Edgar Wright seems to have had another success in Baby Driver and hopefully Lord & Miller will nail The Flash.

And even though Josh Trank blew it with Fantastic Four and dug himself into a hole, I hope Fonzo will be a major comeback.

Luke Higham said...

I do not want yes men directing these films.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I wonder which villain are they going to use in The Flash. He doesn't really have the best rogues gallery.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: If they plan on making a trilogy, they should start off with Grodd, then Captain Cold and Zoom.

Luke Higham said...

Saw The Mummy. I miss Brendan. FTS.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I'm guessing it was bad. I'm not surprised.
Louis: Who do you think was worse: Eisenberg's Luthor or Leto's Joker?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Isn't Leto lower on the rankings?

Anonymous said...

Robert: Now that you mentioned, he is lower than Eisenberg. Personally, I think they're equally shitty.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I refuse to watch Suicide Squad to find out. Life's too short.

Oh yeah, almost forgot: Louis, do you plan on seeing Book of Henry? I fee like it's a bad movie everyone needs to see.

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

Well since it sounds like this year's Collateral Beauty, I probably will.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Silicon Valley episode "Hooli-Con".
Also, do you have any updated thoughts on the performances of Middleditch and Zach Woods?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I loved the fact that they re-enacted the whole Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle in the episode, it was hilarious.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

I thought it was a funny episode particularly that final gag and everything involving Jared, no episode is unfunny, but it further showed the weakness of the plot this season. Once again Erlich wasn't part of the main plot, I have a strong feeling they were working with a difficult schedule with Miller to begin with since he has felt so disconnected this whole season. Now the way they're writing him out of the show does seem very rushed unfortunately. The main plot again just did not build properly this time with so many strange fall starts and leads throughout which is a shame given how well they would build to their final episode the past three seasons.

No for Middleditch. Woods though has returned back to his first season prime though with just a bit of added intensity that is particularly hilarious.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Fargo Season finale and your cast ranking.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I thought it was a very strong finale, though I wished one death had been avoided, but that isn't really a flaw per se. It managed to wrap up threads all effectively with some two incredibly tense sequences, along with just the right amount of ambiguity particularly in the brilliant final scene between Thewlis and Coon.

1. Thewlis
2. Winstead
3. Stuhlbarg
4. Coon
5. Wise
6. McGregor
7. Melamed
8. Harvard
9. Bogdan
10. Linklater
11. McDonnell
12. Whigham
13. McNairy
14. Yu
15. Mann
16. Sandoval
17. McElhenney

Calvin Law said...

Louis: haven't seen the series yet but my friends have talked about it, does McGregor's lower ranking owe something to how one of his characters is handled midway through the season, or did you still think he was really good.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

No I still really liked him, just merely preferred those above him.

Calvin Law said...

And I'm guessing McElhenney is just a bit bland, I'm not a fan of his acting, even on It's Always Sunny, though credit must go to him for the writing/creation of the series.

Calvin Law said...

Lastly, I'm certain you preferred Season 2, but how would you compare this season to Season 1.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Was Thewlis's work a relief for you.

Calvin Law said...

And which point in your ranking does it change from 'good' to 'bad'.

Louis Morgan said...

I like him a lot on It's Always Sunny actually, but he gave basically the same exact performance here which was a little strange.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Yes it was, though it is definitely a "take it or leave it" performance.

Calvin:

Though I know some didn't really care for this season, I still thoroughly enjoyed it but I'd say Season 1 was tighter overall. Obviously Season 2 is still king by far.

Bottom three are kind of eh, and some of the comparable performances fall short. Like I thought McNairy was okay, but a considerable downgrade when compared to Kieran Culkin.

Robert MacFarlane said...


I would have Thewlis much lower than you. Frankly I wasn't a big fan of Varga as a villain, and his performance felt too ridiculous at times. Winstead was the MVP for me.

Calvin Law said...

Will definitely check it out then.

Didn't know Russell Harvard was back for this. Glad to see he was good/great.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts and ratings for the cast of Beethoven?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the special effects of King Kong 2005.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Your top 10 Ed Harris acting moments.

omar said...

In these days i've seen a couple of movies that were in competition in this year Cannes Film Festival;

Happy End; as a big fan of Haneke I was a bit disappointed, the movie has some great moments but i felt some of the themes were unnecessary, like the Immigration theme.
Huppert: 4
Trintignant: 4 (could go higher)
Harduin: 5
Kassovitz: 2,5
Rogowski: 0

120 beats per minute; interesting movie about AIDS, but nothing new or that has ever done before.
Biscayart and Valois: 3,5

Le Redoutable;
Garrel: 4
Martin: 2,5

Ismael's Ghosts;
Almaric: 2
Gainsbourg: 4
Cotillard: 4

Loveless; directed by Zvyagintsev (director of The Return)
Spivak: 4
Rozin: 4,5

How to Talk to Girls at Parties;
Fanning: 4,5
Sharp: 4
Kidman: 3,5
Wilson: 3,5

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Do you intend to watch The Big Sick, or Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa)?. Also, is the latter film a 2016 or a 2017 release by your rules?

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: It's a 2016 release.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Here's Louis' thoughts on Caviezel, if you haven't read them already.

Caviezel - 3.5(I'm not really a huge fan of Passion of the Christ as I do feel it focuses far too much on simply the torture involving Christ's crucifixion. This leaves Caviezel's performance somewhat limited because of that. To be far to him he portrays the pain quite realistically and is effective in portraying the intense degradation. In the very brief moments of showing an inspiring Jesus Caviezel does deliver, but there was not enough of it)

Bale needs to be requested, 2004 won't be coming until after 2008 and 2000/01/02 are out of the way.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke I figured Bale would be guaranteed. And thanks for those thoughts. Figured he would be rated higher.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: If there's one spot left open by then, he's guaranteed, but better be safe than sorry. I thought for sure Duvall would get in for Open Range, though he could still be reviewed instead of Girard.

Luke Higham said...

I know this has been discussed before but I really hope Bettany does get reviewed for A Knight's Tale, I'd actually go as high as a 4.5 for him.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Frank Welker as Galvatron and Dick Gautier as Rodimus Prime (you forgot to post them in another review).

Anonymous said...

Luke: Wow, a 4,5 for Bettany? I'd give him a 3,5 or a 4. Not crazy about the film, although he and Ledger are good.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I love A Knight's Tale and would really like to see Bettany upgraded. Ledger and Mark Addy as well.

Matt Mustin said...

A Knight's Tale is delightful.

Luke Higham said...

I think it's one of the most underrated films of the 2000s.

Calvin Law said...

And Alan Tudyk!

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: 'It's called a lance, hello'. :) Alan Tudyk is great too.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I watched the extended cut of A Knight's Tale lately and there's a scene late in the film with Bettany in the stocks defending William that I wish was left in the theatrical cut. Might actually be his best scene, so I'd recommend it to you, if you decide to review him for 2001 supporting.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Oh wow, I expected to be alone on A Knight's Tale. It's nice knowing that it has fans.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Well it's been a good twenty years or so but I recall liking Grodin quite a bit as the grumpy yet likable father, and Tucci and Platt as an unlikely pairing of bumbling fools.

Anonymous:

The visual effects mostly stand up well. The creatures themselves look great particularly Kong himself. Some of the with human work though is less impressive particularly the stampede scene. There is still a good combination with the real illusions with the computer ones that ground them effectively.

Charles:

Harris:

1. "Ask him why he's so good at killing" - A History of Violence
2. CPR - The Abyss
3. The Man in Black explains his quest - Westworld
4. "How you doing Joey?" - A History of Violence
5. Moss After the police interrogation - Glengarry Glen Ross
6. The Man in Black meets Ford - Westworld
7. Time for a Ride - A History of Violence
8. Meeting Wilford - Snowpiercer
9. Theoretical crime - Glengarry Glen Ross
10. Discovery - The Abyss

Tahmeed:

Eventually I'll watch both. The Big Sick along with the Beguiled are unfortunately not playing anywhere near me.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Welker's does seem a little strange that he dropped the Megatron voice which I preferred. It actually is interesting in a different character. In Webworld though this actually works as a completely insane to the point of broken, just as villain though it was far less effective.

Gautier's vocal performance is fine in terms of providing a believable emotion actually but at the same time it did nothing to deter his weakness when compared to Cullen's Optimus to almost a comical eppoint.