Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974: Richard Harris in Juggernaut

Richard Harris did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Lieutenant Commander Anthony Fallon in Juggernaut.

Juggernaut though starts a bit slow is a rather compelling thriller, once it gets going, about a cruise ship being held for ransom after being armed with a series of time bombs.

Now what gets the film truly going is Richard Harris as bomb dismantling expert Fallon. There is perhaps that character that just seems "right" for an actor and this seems to be the one for Harris. There is that role that seems in tune with their onscreen persona, and for Harris here his off screen, or at least, interview persona. This requires a bit of an explanation I suppose though I would just suggest one should go watch Harris in any of his interviews as he is one of the most effortless and entertaining actors in that setting. That charm brings so wonderfully in that setting he transfers here as Fallon, perhaps this was even hoped for by the filmmakers given that they have Fallon being a particularly fond of an alcoholic beverage now and again. Harris to begin with brings such a natural quality to his work with the sheer ease of his performance, and brings a natural levity to the film, despite the severity around his role. Harris is simply naturally entertaining to watch here in a role that he just makes his own in that very special way from the point that in that outset it seems to become quite evident that only Richard Harris could have possibly played this part quite like this.

This is not to say Harris is coasting here, far far from it in fact, in a way it is pretty astonishing how Harris brings himself to the role while fully developing Fallon as his own man. This includes Harris's own bountiful charm for sure, but this is actually part of the character in a two fold way. In part Harris through this shows the confidence of the character that by his charm is wholly endearing, and makes sense out the man who we initially meet as he's casually disarming a far less impressive bomb. Harris though goes further with the idea than just showing Fallon as this expert. There is more in that Harris conveys this lightness in his work often in some of the more intense moments actually. In these scenes Fallon constantly makes humorous side remarks, which Harris does deliver in a genuinely funny way however he goes further with this. Harris in these moments suggests this as partially a defense mechanism of sorts for Fallon in dealing with the situation. This is because Harris never delivers them in a way that seems tonally awkward or ever out of character in the slightest.

Now a reason for that is Harris's overall approach to the part particularly in the bomb disposal scenes which are the highlight of the film, and Harris is a major reason for this. Although Harris projects that confidence so well, along with that humor he doesn't downplay the severity of it in Fallon's mind. In even the moments where he makes his little jokey asides Harris's eyes convey very much the very real concerns for Fallon. Harris is never static here instead his whole performance alludes to a man who has gone through this particular line of work, and has found his way of dealing with. That partially includes his humor, but Harris never simplifies it. I love an early moment where Fallon espouses on his talents in this particular line of work and mutters he wishes he was as such a success in a different line of work. Harris doesn't deliver this line with an overt sadness or anything like this but rather an amused shrug which so well emphasizes the way Fallon has come to terms with this. When Fallon is pressed by the ship's captain (Omar Sharif) on his attitude though we get a bit of a darker side to Fallon, which potentially could've become a confusing aspect to the character, however Harris's firm grasp on the material ensures that it is not.

When something goes wrong or Fallon's methods are questioned Fallon delivers some darker views in regards to the technical insignificant amount of lives in the scheme of the entire universe. These moments much of the time are still with the other members of the bomb squad where Harris still brings a more comedic bent in this philosophy, but with the captain, after Fallon's lost another one of his men, Harris matches the darkness of the message. The callousness though that Harris delivers though comes through an insincerity in attitude in this moment. Harris in part suggests one that he is not terribly impressed by the Captain's concerns, since Fallon is more keenly aware than anyone in regards to the severity of the situation, but it also actually reinforces his personal way of dealing with his particular line of work. Again Harris usually adds that humorous touch to this but in this moment Fallon understandably doesn't bother with easing the words. Harris though shows with that humor and insincerity though the fashioned belief the man uses, not to truly delude himself, but rather to help himself deal with his job where he could die at any moment therefore he needs to be a little insensitive now and again just to be sane in his work.

What we came to the film for though was to see Richard Harris disarm a bomb and we get that in style with Harris. He is down right mesmerizing in these scenes, and he is essential to the film's success since the parts of the film that truly work are the disarmament scenes. Harris again is brilliant in that he layers his performance as noted in bringing a real depth actually to the character's manner during these scenes however he still ratchets the tension up in every moment. Harris is particularly great near the end of the film where the situation becomes more dire and he could be killed at any moment. Harris is fantastic in doing so much tension through his performance by slowly losing some of that comfort in Fallon right down to the final scenes where he loses his humor, and physically Harris reflects the real fear in the situation. Fallon never falls apart, but Harris is great by realizing that he's still a man doing a very dangerous task. My favorite moment of Harris's performance and the film is at the end with naturally one last wire to cut. Harris builds to the moment so effectively, and then releases the tension with his final moment of comfort and perfect delivery of Fallon's very much earned self-congratulatory "Fallon is the champion".  I love the line because as much as it is a genuinely, for the lack of a better word, a cool moment for Harris, he also does brings that sense of a sigh of relief along with it. Harris absolutely owns this part from beginning to end creating such a captivating character that steals the film without question.

32 comments:

Luke Higham said...

YESSSSS! So glad Harris has his 2nd five. :)

Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast.

Luke Higham said...

I guess Harris could take the #2 spot here.

Charles H said...

He's no doubt winning the line with this great performance

Charles H said...

I see Gazzo went up to a 4.5. Deserved upgrade.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I saw Happy Death Day. It's basically what Adam Wingard tried and failed to contort Death Note into. It's a half-dumb-half-clever teen horror-comedy that is pretty damn entertaining. Also, Jessica Rothe has my single favorite line-reading of the year.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Is this Harris's best work.

94dfk1 said...

Everyone: I thought Gosling and Stone were terrific in La La Land and had chemistry for miles but do you think Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper could also have worked in the starring roles? Just a random thought.

Matt Mustin said...

94dfk1: Cooper possibly, I don't know about Lawrence.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: It absolutely should be.

Robert MacFarlane said...

94dfk1: Truth be told I actually would have liked Cooper in that role more.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

94dfk1: It'd certainly be interesting to see Cooper play that role, and I think he could have been up to it. With Lawrence, her work probably would have gone either way.

94dfk1 said...

Everyone: I could buy him as both a struggling musician and a successful jazz club owner. He also seems like the type of guy that's basically an encyclopedia when it comes to a specific genre of music.

Lawrence would've done great in Mia's comedic scenes/lines as I do think she can be funny and charming when she wants to be. However, there's a chance that her "Lawrencisms" (some of you may know what I'm talking about) may have overplayed Mia's emotions in the dramatic scenes ("No one showed up, "I'm not going to that audition").

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top 10 male leading performances of the 70s.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: What did you reckon to Richard Harris reaction to Ben Johnson winning his Oscar? I loved his dance lol. (I should say I liked the reactions by Bridges and Scheider as well)

Anonymous said...

Richard Harris for me was miles better than Michael Gambons portrayal of Dumbledore (Gambon was better in his last couple of films), Harris had the perfect wise wizard outfit and looked like he could kick your ass, Gambons outfit was so silly, dressed like grandpa, not a powerful wizard.

Harris voice fit the character better as well, his elgent wise nature, rather than Gambons "WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME"

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could Harris go up for Cromwell.

Henry W said...

Guys, if A Streetcar Named Desire was remade today, whom would be a good fit for the characters of Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Harris in Patriot Games.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Henry: I could see Tom Hardy being a terrific Stanley. As for Blanche, I'd say Emma Stone might be great.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: Hardy would be perfect but Leigh was near 10 years older than Brando, so I don't think Stone would be the right choice for Blanche if she was working with him.

Henry W said...

I think Hardy or Matthias Schoenaerts would be great fits, but Stone? Hmm, questionable.

Omar Franini said...

Henry: i would choose Kidman or Mara, even if she's younger, as Blanche while Cotillard as Stella; with Hardy as Stanley.

Calvin Law said...

I'd go for:

Chris Evans as Stanley
Naomi Watts as Blanche
Matthew Lillard as Mitch
Hannah Murray as Stella

Henry W said...

Okay guys, here's another one.

How do you think the winner of the 2016 Best Actor Osca would fare in the following roles:

Norman Bates in Psycho
Henry Hill in Goodfellas
Mac Sledge in Tender Mercies
Terry in On the Waterfront

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Henry: I'd be interested to see Viggo Mortensen's take on those roles, particularly Mac Sledge.
As for Garfield, I could see him pulling off Norman Bates in a remake of Psycho.
I would also say that Denzel's Terry Malloy would be quite intriguing as well.

Calvin Law said...

Affleck as Malloy, Mortensen as Mack, Gosling as Hill, Garfield as Bates, and I would be interested in seeing Washington as Malloy too.

RatedRStar said...

If this were the 60s Richard Harris would be perfect for Stanley =D. This Sporting Life was basically Yorkshire Brando.

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar: just saw the dance you were referring to, that is just golden.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

I'd say this is his best work in terms of realizing Richard Harris's onscreen appeal so to speak, however I think I'd give the edge to Cry, The Beloved Country for his best overall turn dramatic or otherwise.

1. Gene Hackman - The Conversation
2. Richard Attenborough - 10 Rillington Place
3. Jack Nicholson - One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
4. Al Pacino - Dog Day Afternoon
5. George C. Scott - Patton
6. Peter Finch - Network
7. Jack Lemmon - Save the Tiger
8. Laurence Olivier - Sleuth
9. Al Pacino - The Godfather
10. Warren Oates - Bring Me the Alfredo Garcia

94dk1:

Well having just seen the scene from Burnt where he talks about food in terms of people "not eating", I would not want Cooper telling me about Jazz.

Luke:

Holm - 4(He doesn't have that much of a role in terms of his lines and such, however Holm makes the most out of what he has. In his work as well he conveys the complex emotions going on through his character's head at all times as he struggles to comprehend what he should do, creating the right sense of distress as he interacts with the somewhat indifferent government officials. I particularly love his final moment at the end of the film where Holm brings such a cathartic passion when he finally lashes out against them for this.)

Sharif - 3.5(His character doesn't seem to really get resolved, my early guess would have been him volunteering to man one of the bombs, nonetheless Sharif I found does well to convey the considerable internalized stress that he reveals well in brief moments where we see what he's going though overall he fashions a cold surface trying to cover it up.)

Cusack - 3.5(Rather effective cameo from him in bringing just really sinister and chilling quality in his quiet bit of sadistic disinterest to the situation.)

Louis Morgan said...

Knight - 3(I would say her character could have been easily excised from the film however I thought she brought enough of a charm and at least naturally realized a bit of depth to the part. Plus I rather enjoyed her chemistry with Kinnear.)

Kinnear - 3.5(Speaking of I'm quite sure I always enjoy seeing Kinnear whenever he shows up this is no different in that he's rather enjoyable, but also more than a little moving in portraying the sheer desperation of his character to try to look at the bright side of things.)

Hemmings - 2.5(Limited as he just doesn't get to do much, he has decent chemistry though with Harris in their little time together.)

James - 3.5(Seeing another non-hillbilly sheriff performance by him I'd say he was pretty good actor when he wasn't forced into that stereotype. That's certainly shown here as I liked his fashioned politician speak yet I thought he subtly added sort of the real nature of the man even as he spoke as such.)

Jones - 3.5(Similar to Cusack in that he very quickly and very effectively realizes the demented state of his character though this time portraying more of a sinister attachment to what is going on.)

Hopkins - 3.5(Although his character does not get much focus he's terrific in entirely through his performance conveying the desperation of his character given his situation, and keeps that as a proper constant throughout. He's particularly good in showing the way his attempt to hide his desperation slowly fails more and more as the film goes on.)

Seth - 3(Thought he brought quite a bit of charm in sadly quickly cut off performance.)

Probably not but maybe for Cromwell, I need to re-watch Patriot Games, since I haven't seen it since the early nineties.

RatedRStar:

That jig of his is a gem.

Henry W:

If we are only referring to Affleck in each role then:

Bates - (He could bring the creepiness for sure but I think he'd struggle in portraying the innocence needed for the role.)

Hill - (Uh doesn't quite suite the role as I feel it needs someone a bit more extroverted, I do think he could have worked though.)

Sledge - (All wrong)

Terry - (Although I doubt it would reach Brandoian heights in this case, I do think he could be pretty effective in this role.)

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on Carl Weathers in Arrested Development? And your thoughts on Burnt and thoughts/ratings on the cast.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Weathers - (Great as usual. Weathers here is one of the most downright hilarious guest stars by playing right into his assumed type partially in giving off so confidence in his performance while espousing such non-sense. Everything that Weathers does is ridiculous in his bizarre cheapskatery and Weather, playing Weathers, is so great by playing every moment without the tiniest bit of shame. I especially love the sheer enthusiasm he brings to his fervent description of getting his stew on. I only wished that Weathers had stayed on permanently a Tobias's acting teacher.)

Should have clarified, I have only seen that scene from Burnt, and that was more than enough for me.