Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Romain Duris in All the Money in the World

Romain Duris did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Cinquanta in All The Money in the World.

Romain Duris oddly enough is in the part of the film that has been largely been forgotten due to the two controversies involving the film in rapid succession. The first eventually involving the extremely late introduction of Christopher Plummer to the project to replace the previous actor in the role of J. Paul Getty, and then soon afterwards the pay discrepancy between Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg in order to complete that replacement. Duris's portion of the film went untouched, and mostly unmentioned in the press. Although this portion is that which compels the film forward where it actually depicts the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), and his ordeal while in captivity. Duris plays one of the initial kidnappers known Cinquanta, and what Duris accomplishes here is one of the most interesting elements of the film. Now Duris is essentially this part of the film as the young Plummer mostly just plays different levels of fear in John Paul, and the other kidnappers throughout are seen as rather cold and distant figures. This leaves Duris who from the outset intends on making the most of this role, and fleshing out his kidnapper far beyond from that specific role. This is from his first scene where he calls John Paul's mother Gail (Williams) demanding the ransom, to which she initially thinks is someone just telling her that he's okay. Duris is terrific in this scene in the way his delivery attempts this vicious menace while coldly demanding the money, meanwhile though his expression holds less of decisive attitude. Duris finds even a bit humor in his portrayal of a momentary confusion when he has his initial "we have your son" doesn't properly take.

Duris even in that scene portrays Cinquanta believable enough as this potentially violent man asking for money, but even in that moment as we see him, though Gail does only hears him, he shows signs that he's probably not as sinister as his hissing voice suggests. This continues as Cinquanta acts as the primary guardian for Getty while in captivity, and again Duris excels in creating this duality within Cinquanta utilizing his voice and his physical performance separately. A great moment with this is when he speaking to Getty from outside of his cell so he can only hear his voice, but we obviously see Duris the entire time. Again Duris delivers Cinquanta's lines possibly with the interpretation of creating fear in the young man as questions why his family hates him so much since they refuse to pay the ransom. Meanwhile Duris physically shows in this moment Cinquanta taking in this idea of a family refusing to this for his son genuinely troubles him, and creating this anguish in his eyes as he thinks about being so rejected that his family would leave him at the torment of his kidnappers. Duris again reveals more of a duality in this as he portrays Cinquanta again attempting the role of the kidnapper through his words, yet the man's thoughts tell a different story. This is more fully exploited when Cinquanta casually walks into the cell exposing his face to Getty. Duris's performance in this scene is essential to the moment as he approaches in exuding just a friendly demeanor and even the moment of the realization Duris plays not as anger towards Getty, but rather a moment of sheer anxiety for potentially his own fate and possibly his hostage as well for this exposure.

Duris quietly realizes in each subsequent scene this gradual reduction of any sort of false intensity, needed for a kidnapper, and slowly begins to reveal this decent man despite himself. This continues as Cinquanta and his family decide to sell Getty to a bigger name in the underworld of Italy, who they decide to keep Cinquanta on as basically a caretaker for Getty. Duris in these scenes, even when he says barely anything, is the most captivating factor. His silent work is remarkable as he so effectively portrays the ever growing concern in Cinquanta as the other men speak of the young man's fate. I love the way Duris reveals, even though there is not a great deal of attention paid to this by the film overall, this conflict in the man. He depicts almost this dual frustration in him that begins more as the man is pained by his inability to be harder than he truly is in heart, that slowly coverts towards itself to not being able to fully be that man he is in heart. Duris though in each scene breaks the walls down on any facade of this vicious thug. In his scenes with Plummer Duris begins to become quite moving actually in showing a more direct warmth and as a well a somberness as he tends to Getty knowing some terrible things may happen to him very soon. Duris does a great deal of heavy lifting here as I found Duris's performance made me care more about John Paul III than Charlie Plummer's performance.

Duris keeps this direct concern alive, and brings a real needed emotion to the tension of these scenes. Duris is fantastic as he begins to make it that even in his phone calls, where Cinquanta could most easily put on the kidnappers act, he now reveals his concern. This is to the point that Duris in the later calls brings the urgency in every word almost to the point as though he's the one attempting to ensure Getty's release. In a way he is and it is marvelous the way Duris so naturally realizes this transition. One of the best scenes in the film is Getty's ear amputation, which is a infamous moment in the actual case, but the reason for this again is Duris's devoted work to the idea of Cinquanta's concern for Getty. Duris is again oddly enough far more heartbreaking than Plummer in this scene by showing how much the act is tearing apart the man in watching while at the same time still so earnestly projecting such a warmth as he talks him through the "surgery". In every scene Duris is genuinely affecting by quietly portraying this sympathy that only gets stronger. I love the moment where Getty almost escapes, and Duris delivers just this subtle bit of joy in the moment hoping that he has been successful. The idea that the kidnapper goes from one of the people putting a bag over the young man's head to attacking another man to save the kid is a bit farfetched. Duris manages to overcome this rift in the suspension of disbelief by so honestly and effectively portraying every step of this transformation by showing to be more of this revelation of the man's true self throughout. This is a great performance, and it is an utter shame that it has been barely given a mention around the film since honestly Duris is the best part of it.

18 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on these missed film opportunities:
Kubrick's Napoleon and Aryan Papers
Hitchcock's The Short Night and Kaleidoscope
Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (Depp/Rochefort)
Romero's The Stand (Stephen King)
Jodorowsky's Dune
Nolan's Howard Hughes Project

Luke Higham said...

Very happy that he he got a 5, really looking forward to Hamill's review next.

Mitchell Murray said...

Still haven't seen the movie but damn.. It seems all its performances are getting some love say for the obvious.

Calvin Law said...

I actually haven't re-watched this one yet, since I watched Plummer right before I did my reviews, but this makes me want to. I like the point you made about how his facial reaction didn't necessarily match up with what he said which was quite the inspired stroke.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: Interesting how you deliberately avoid mentioning the name of a certain actor in your discussions of this film.

Mitchell Murray said...

Its probably for the best. I mean, if Ridley Scott had his way in the first place we wouldn't need to mention Spacey at all.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Kubrick's Napoleon and Aryan Papers - (Well really any project by Kubrick would be interesting in at least some element. Aryan Papers technically is one that properly naturally met its demise as Kubrick specifically decided against it after seeing Schindler's List. Napoleon though is something else though in that it could have been Barry Lyndon but with far more drive and a far grander scale. To see Kubrick tackle a full scale battle of the Napoleonic era could have been something to see. It will be interesting to see how the miniseries based on his screenplay turns out.)

Hitchcock's The Short Night and Kaleidoscope - (Well Hitchcock/straight thriller usually is a good thing. For Short Night sounded like a return to the themes he explored in Notorious which could have been fascinating if he had returned to them. For Kaleidoscope there is even some perspective into the serial killer film and the style he was going to use. It looks rather impressive, and perhaps it could've been one last great Hitchcock film.)

Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - (Well we're going to find out soon.)

Romero's The Stand - (I'm not sure if Romero could or not pull of King's epic, however the idea of a theatrical darker adaptation is promising enough in itself to worth mention as a missed opportunity at the time.)

Jodorowsky's Dune - (I don't love Jodorowsky's films but I do love his visuals. I could see that he and Dune could have potentially been the perfect match since his visuals have that grander scale to them to begin with opposed to David Lynch who goes for a more intimate perspective. I could see Jodorowsky having brought the best in terms of the potential from the visuals of the world, while perhaps the more refined story would reduced some of his excesses as a storyteller.)

Nolan's Howard Hughes Project - (I have to say out of all unrealized projects the worst ones, for being unrealized, are whenever they were cancelled due to another film that covered similair subject matter. The fact that Nolan cancelled this film for The Aviator, which is perhaps Scorsese's most "eh, it's fine" film is a real shame. Frankly the story of Hughes, and his grand ambitions feels far more fitting to Nolan than Scorsese as filmmakers. In addition Jim Carrey in the lead role could have also been very special. I'd love to see Nolan return to this project since the Aviator was far from definitive, but that garbage dump made by Warren Beatty probably has further discouraged the prospect. Side note I saw thirty minutes of that dumpster fire, and that was more than enough for me.)

Calvin Law said...

I only made it through half of the trailer for that myself.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Leone's Leningrad and Coppola's Megalopolis, which were never made.

Bryan L said...

Also crazy to think how modern film history could've changed if Nolans Hughes biopic went through, since it would've delayed his Batman trilogy if he still ended up doing it.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Leone's Leningrad - (It is unfortunate in general how few films we ever got to see from Leone, and this film is particularly a shame since he was just about to make it before his untimely death. Although his last two films are not flawless they still showed his unique vision this time on taking on different genres, particularly with Once Upon a Time In American, whereas Duck You Sucker still has some western elements in it still. Those are both powerful films even if they are not as good as his two western masterpieces, few films are. This would have been a step away from how he made his name, but also potentially honing on something he worked with before. He did tackle war partially in TGTBTU, and those are some of the greatest sequences he ever directed. It likely could have been another masterpiece from Leone.)

Megalpolis - (I think tackling a large scale project could potentially bring him back to greatness, however Coppola just doesn't seem to care any more, or perhaps he really has just lost it. The truth is his big scale films post-Apocalypse Now, The Cotton Club and The Godfather Part III, were not very good. Sometimes an artist just loses that spark, and that might be the case for Coppola. Like Lucas, and opposed to say Scorsese or Spielberg, when he speaks about film making there is this certain disinterest and egotistical attitude about it. They both go on saying they're making films to paraphrase "For ME" now, yet somehow their aforementioned contemporaries can still make passion projects in a way that appeals to people other than just themselves. Although the project on paper sounds fascinating, I doubt Coppola will ever make it, and I'm not sure it would turn out well if he did.)

Robert MacFarlane said...

Brilliant work from him, glad to see him get a 5. I'm hoping he gets more English-language roles now. He'd make a great Bond villain.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Present film roles you could see these classic actors in:
Humphrey Bogart
James Cagney
Clark Gable
Robert Mitchum
Edward G. Robinson

Michael McCarthy said...

I’m not sure who’s next, but if it’s the Detroit men I’m hail Marying for Boyega. I’m really hoping he’ll leave the same kind of impression that Ernest Borgnine left in From Here to Eternity.

Matt Mustin said...

Is Wahlberg supporting in this?

John Smith said...

Louis, do you think that Walt cared about Jesse?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have there been any upgrades for the Dunkirk cast.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Based on Oscar nominated roles of the decade only:

Humphrey Bogart: Sheriff Willoughby
James Cagney: Officer Dixon
Clark Gable: Marcus Hamilton
Robert Mitchum: Woody Grant
Edward G. Robinson: J. Paul getty

John Smith:

Yes. The horrible things that he does to them for the most part are Walt believing he is doing the right thing. He takes as many risks to try to save Jesse throughout the series. The one moment where he goes beyond the pale is only after Jesse has directly betrayed him.

Matt:

I'd put him in lead, but he's on the border.

Luke:

No.