Saturday, 12 May 2018

Alternate Best Actor 1991: Christopher Eccleston in Let Him Have It

Christopher Eccleston did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Derek Bentley in Let Him Have It.

Let Him Have It is a somewhat decent however overly basic depiction of the story of a mentally stunted man being accused of murder after falling in with a violent thug.

Christopher Eccleston gives his debut feature film performance, although the film's aesthetic feels closer to a TV film but I digress. This performance though has the chance to depict rather tragic story of this central real life character as this young man struggling with his very existence. Eccleston is effective in the role in realizing Derek's state of being. He doesn't overplay this rather finding the stunted nature in this certain direct manner of speaking and reacting to people. Eccleston finds this narrow way of Derek of really in the way he even looks at people. There is this obvious focus that Eccleston depicts showing that Derek needs to put this certain extra energy into interacting just like a typical person. Eccleston finds this though not quite perfect and as this show that he feels almost average yet not quite. There is the right type of struggle in every moment of this showing Derek as having difficulty navigating just the normal day to day, and even then he realizes as a clear struggle. Eccleston's work is tasked even further though as Derek is not only troubled by his mental difficulties, but also physical ones as an epileptic. Eccleston to his credit is terrific in the moments of showing the fits, which could led to some wild overacting very easily. Eccleston though performs them believably while again realizing the precarious state that is Derek's life.

Eccleston, despite these clear problems, nicely doesn't always overwhelm his performance with them. He shows these moments with his family as rather sweet by showing the simple humanity even within the struggle. He is never simply a series of tics, but realizes the man within it all. He creates the right pathos through those interactions with his father, mother and sister where we can see the potential for some growth or at least some comfort. Eccleston offers the right warmth in these interactions to provide the basis for some idea of a future that are rather moving through how genuine they feel. This is against his interactions with his "friends" who are petty criminals, who frequently abuse Derek's nature. Eccleston is very good in these interactions as well though by making the right yearning in the interactions as his delivery is that of a simple man aiming to please, and in turn receive some sort of acceptance from these people. This becomes problematic though when he is pulled into a criminal endeavor, which again Eccleston excels with by conveying Derek's attempt to comprehend what is going on throughout. Eccleston though offers an earnestness and a confusion. In that he shows the man trying to be part of it, but also not really wholly aware of what he is part. When the crime turns violent, Eccleston is rather moving in realizing just the mess of the man.

Eccleston even captures the right ambiguity in the specific delivery of the titular line that could either mean for his friend to shoot the cop, or for his friend to drop the gun. Eccleston rightly balances the line by delivering it as this moment of sheer fear that could be either interpreted as plea, or the reaction of a muddled mind. Eventually the crime leaves a police officer dead with Derek and the actual murderer, a minor, facing punishment. The murderer though cannot be executed due to his age leaving Derek as receiving the full brunt of the wrath of the judicial system. The film rather rushes this period of the story however Eccleston manages to find some of the tragedy by portraying that even as he faces death Derek still is struggling to understand what exactly is going on. It is moving by reinforcing the man just trying very hard to figure what is happening right down to the execution itself where he has very little time even to breakdown because of that. This is a good performance by Christopher Eccleston however the film doesn't entirely allow Eccelston to fully sink his teeth into. The film never quite gives the time to Eccleston to truly make this a heartbreaking portrait of this man that seemed quite possible given the subject matter. Eccleston's performance is good, but the full potential of it seems somewhat unrealized by the film's underwhelming approach to the material.

65 comments:

Charles H said...

Louis: Thoughts and ratings on the rest of cast?

Bryan L said...

I quite like the addition of the blonde from Barton Fink in the background of the blog :)

Bryan L said...

1. Rickman
2. Phoenix
3. Mantegna
4. Snipes
5. Eccleston

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on the "Homer's Phobia" episode of The Simpsons, as well as John Waters' guest appearance?

Calvin Law said...

1. Rickman
2. Mantegna
3. Phoenix
4. Snipes
5. Eccleston

Some retro castings for 1991 films:



2010s Silence of the Lambs, directed by Jordan Peele

Clarice Starling: Felicity Jones

Hannibal Lecter: Don Cheadle

Jack Crawford: Anthony Edwards

Buffalo Bill: Caleb Landry Jones



2010s Terminator 2, directed by Doug Liman

T-800: Dave Bautista

John Connor: Nicholas Hamilton

Linda Hamilton: Emily Blunt

T-1000: Lee Byung-hun



2010s The Fisher King, directed by James Gray

Parry: Joaquin Phoenix

Jack: Bobby Cannavale

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could Crowe possibly go up to a 4.5 for Gladiator. My name is Gladiator and Are you not Entertained are in your top 10 Crowe moments.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Was Crowe's original rating for Gladiator a 4?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: He was a 2, then a 3.5 and then a 4.

Vanna Long said...

1. Rickman
2. Phoenix
3. Mantegna
4. Snipes
5. Eccleston

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Finally caught up with Infinity War. I loved every moment of it, and I'll give my ratings and thoughts on the cast a bit later.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts Leonardo DiCaprio as a actor?

Luke Higham said...

DiCaprio - (One of the few true box office draws around still, and a legitimate movie star. DiCaprio seems like he is possibly his own worst enemy in a way. It seems that he's a hard working actor who clearly takes his time in terms of choosing his projects, and usually chooses well. Now this has earned him some criticism as well a "tryhard". That can be easily seen as in his worst one does not think he's not giving his all, he's just giving his all in the wrong direction. This unfortunately also keeps him sometimes from utilizing his considerable charm. When DiCaprio pulls back a bit there is such an ease in his performances, that helped him to stardom with Titanic, and his career best with The Wolf of Wall Street. I personally don't think when he "tries" he's automatically bad, but then again there's no reason for him to waste some of his best assets as an actor)

Anonymous said...

1. Rickman
2. Phoenix
3. Mantegna
4. Snipes
5. Eccleston
Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography of Stagecoach and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.

Bryan L said...

Calvin: I like your choices for The Silence of the Lambs. Here's mine

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Peele would be an interesting choice though.)

Clarice Starling- Emily Blunt
Hannibal Lecter- Brendan Gleeson
Buffalo Bill- James McAvoy (Think Split)
I'd go with Edwards as well

Bryan L said...

Calvin: On second thought, I think Felicity Jones fits the part a little better.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

My ratings for the Infinity War cast:
Downey- 4
Brolin- 4.5 (might go up on rewatch for me, rivals Downey in Civil War for best performance in a Marvel film for me)
Hemsworth-4.5 (Brought gravitas and laughs in equal measure for me, his teaming up with Cooper was genius)
Cumberbatch-4
Bettany-3.5 (Really wish he had been given a bit more time)
Olsen-4
Holland-4
Saldana-4.5
Pratt-3.5 (Was just a tad iffy in his penultimate scene, but aside from that, he was decent with the more that was required of him).
Evans-3.5
Ruffalo-3.5 (I liked the way Banner was used in the film, much needed comic relief during those scenes)
Boseman-3
Hiddleston-3
Cooper-3
Dinklage-3
Johannson-3

Everyone else was decent, being at a 2.5 to 3. As for the film itself, I'm amazed it came together as well as it did. While the argument could be made that the film is one overstuffed climax after another, I felt the stakes at hand warranted it. I felt it was facilitated by splitting up the massive cast in different combos, which were all enjoyable and had a strong performance to carry the scenes. The film excelled so well with Thanos and Gamora, I can't give Saldana and Brolin enough credit.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: Sean Bean has won the Bafta =D so happy for him the legend =D =D.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I'm incredibly pleased, The man of a thousand deaths and your fellow Yorkshireman did well tonight. :)

Anonymous said...

Louis and everyone: What did you think about today's episode of Westworld? I thought it was great and the best episode of the season so far. Peter Mullan and Jimmi Simpson was wonderful. The two MVP for me.

Bryan L said...

Louis: Would Glenn Howerton be your choice for Griffin Mill in a 2010s version of The Player?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: That was definitely the best episode of the season. For me, Ed Harris was the MVP.

Michael McCarthy said...

1. River Phoenix
2. Joe Mantegna
3. Alan Rickman
4. Wesley Snipes
5. Christopher Eccleston

Luke Higham said...

1. Phoenix
2. Mantegna
3. Rickman
4. Snipes
5. Eccleston

Michael McCarthy: Your Ratings & Thoughts on the performances in the lineup.

Bryan L said...

Louis: Also, how do you think each of these actors would fare as Howard Beale in a 2010s version of Network?

Michael Keaton
Willem Dafoe
Denzel Washington
Daniel Day-Lewis
Gary Oldman

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could Peter O'Toole possibly go up for The Stunt Man and Sean Penn in The Thin Red Line.

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Bautista and Byung-hun as the Terminators are excellent choices.
Louis: Your cast and director for a 40's Public Enemies.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I kinda wish he could upgrade Holden up to a 4,5 in Network.

Michael McCarthy said...

RIP Margot Kidder

Luke Higham said...

RIP Margot Kidder

RatedRStar said...

RIP Margot Kidder

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Your ratings on the cast of Conspiracy (2001).

Calvin Law said...

RIP Margot Kidder.

Luke:

Branagh: 4
Tucci: 4.5/5
Firth: 4.5
Threlfall: 4

Need a re-watch for the rest of the cast.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: And your rating for Colin Firth in The Railway Man.

Omar Franini said...

1. Rickman
2. Phoenix
3. Mantegna
4. Snipes
5. Eccleston

Calvin Law said...

Luke: solid 4.5.

Bryan L said...

Luke: Which actors have dethroned the previous winner since the bonus rounds started for the Overall Lead/Supporting rankings? (I.e. Burt Lancaster for 1968 Lead)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Death of Stalin is one of the great satires and comic book adaptations. It lifts the general structure of the events, but smartly adjusts and amplifies the satire, which is nearly as deft in the comic. Iannucci and his writers interestingly actually broaden the characters in the right way to become more directly humorous opposed to the comic which instead uses those moments to emphasize the grotesque nature of the characters. The adaptation doesn't lose that idea, but properly makes it more digestible by just bringing out more humor into every situation, further amplified by some appropriate improvisation as well. The way the screenplay forms the juxtaposition, also further amplified by Iannucci's intelligent direction, makes for a far more entertaining telling of the story without losing any of the bite. The adaptation finds the balance that honestly lacked in the comic, which doesn't embrace enough of the satire making the story itself rather unpleasant. The screenplay properly tweaks the material that in no way makes it any lighter nor does it lose any of the potential within its themes, but just makes it a whole lot more enjoyable to experience.

I believe I've covered Strangelove's screenplay before.

A Fish Called Wanda's screenplay obviously had some work after the fact, removing Otto's strange cat tail habit, which does sound funny on paper however doesn't work visualized, and softening Wanda as a character to make more of a love story. Having written that though the screenplay still realized the most enjoyable heist comedy screenplay since, well, director Charles Crichton's previous endeavor in the genre The Lavender Hill-Mob. As with that film, the film as written seems to understand that it isn't about making the heist funny it is just that everyone and everything involved with the heist should be funny. In that sense the screenplay is a major success in the creation of the characters from the manipulative Wanda, to throwing in the hapless defense attorney, but where it really goes the extra distance though is in Otto and Ken. The two characters even as written are hilarious as such extremes of the ultra violent man with the superiority complex, and then the animal loving stutterer. Seeing the two interact is already a hilarious pushing of two extremes together, but what takes it the next step is what it does with them. It puts Otto in situations where he essentially has to try to help, and then puts Ken in the situation of the assassin. The situations as realized within the screenplay are comedy gold, particularly the fish and chips, but really what takes it the next step is how it manages to create a natural progression. This is a common problem that Wanda's screenplay avoids, in that each hilarious setup naturally builds towards the final climax, where the pieces (scenes) fall together so beautifully, rather than just being a series of crazy scenes that just end in a mess. That can be funny, however Wanda as written succeeds being a proper heist movie that builds towards an appropriate climax, and a hilarious comedy that is so enjoyable to experience as it gets there.

Louis Morgan said...

The Great Dictator's screenplay I wouldn't quite say is its greatest element, though I am in no way trying to knock it. As with a lot of Chaplin's work he doesn't really try to have this structure that builds towards something in really refined steps. There are some loose ones to be sure, but mostly he sets up the starting point then the end point, both which usually meet some specific dramatic point to bookend film. In between there he has really just a series of setups to explore mostly his trademark physical comedy, although I will give him credit as he effectively does some "talkie transitioning" by bringing in some verbal satire as well within the Hynkel scenes and his interactions with Napaloni and Garbitsch. These scenes as enjoyable as they are in themselves, and again there are some great satirical set pieces through including some of my favorites such as the radio presenter translations, and the not so bullet proof vest. My major point in regards to the screenplay though is these are great hilarious scenes within themselves, and that's why it is a great film, however each scene does not build on each other. For example you technically could remove the Napaloni scenes and it really wouldn't change the overarching plot, but you'd want to keep them because they're entertaining. There are few plot pieces that do come together however even these are not brilliantly realized by any measure, such as how the barber replaces the dictator at the end, it just sort of happens. Again though it doesn't harm the film because of how enjoyable these scenes are, even if they are fairly loosely connected. It is also worth noting that this is a particularly striking example of Chaplin reaching his thematic end point through his final monologue which successfully delivers the dramatic brunt of the film through just one single hard hitting and very well written speech. Even with that one could argue the screenplay is in some ways messy, however it doesn't matter because it is very much an example of a director effectively writing for himself, as it completely works in Chaplin's hands, but probably wouldn't with a less talented director.

Louis Morgan said...

Dogville now seems a director who endeavors to sabotage his own material as written, as with this film I'd say there is such a considerable gap between the Lars von Trier's writing and the direction of the film. As the direction refuses to actually visualize any of the material, sans the fruit cart scene, which seeing that scene makes the film all the more frustrating since it shows he could easily be visually striking if he had endeavored to do so. The argument that the lack of visuals removes distraction is ridiculous, as it actually creates a distraction since the lack of visuals is itself a visual, just an off-putting choice. Of course I'm suppose to be giving my thoughts on the screenplay which as written is fascinating deconstruction of essentially in some ways "Our Town". Although instead of examining the quaintness of the people, and their simple lives, it instead means instead to tear of the surface of it to reveal the grim underbelly at each and every individual level. There is some direct, I'd say purposeful, allusion to "Our Town" through its use of the narrator, although here with a direct plot granted by putting the variable (Grace) into the small town. Where the screenplay excels in my mind is taking the step beyond essentially allegory and realizing the denizens, and Grace as people. The deconstruction of them, even with the styling of it realized through the narration, is far more potent then as it creates believable lost souls who stand as individuals before they realize their true colors. It allow the revealing of their natures to be understandable, therefore far potent in the act as the stand both as this break down of a certain type common to a small town story, but stand on their own as individuals within the story of Dogville. The collapse of the town, which is so well intertwined with Grace's character arc of coming to terms essentially with her own hidden truth, is seeded from the first time we meet them all. It creates this deconstruction as natural drawn from and within the flawed humanity illustrated through every member of the town.

Louis Morgan said...

Charles:

Courtenay - 4(I mean I'm pretty sure Courtenay is always good, and this performance is no exception. It is moving work, even if under exploited quite honestly by the film. Courtenay, even as the film doesn't grant him enough time, still manages to create, in rather brief reactions, the sense of the father's often unspoken love for his son intertwined with his frustrations of dealing with his mental difficulties. Courtenay shows well the frustration even within still granting a real warmth within it. He naturally changes this though to a far more overt, and uncompromising showing of his concern for his son when his son's life is on the line. There Courtenay is rather heartbreaking, even though the film for whatever reason misuses his work a bit by showing it at some distance. It's still a poignant performance, even if the film refuses to let it be as powerful as it could have been.)

Atkins & Holman 3(They are sadly given even less time than Courtenay but they too are both moving in the limited perspective we are giving by both giving just such honest portrayals of the concern for their son/brother.)

Reynolds - 3(Reynolds is fine in the role of the ill-tempered crook who easily turns violent. His work, which honestly is one character given more than enough of a perspective throughout, doesn't really make as much of an impact as he should. Reynolds is fine in delivering just as a standard thug, but not much more than that. He finds little nuance in his character, nor does he make Craig overly distinctive as a more limited hot head either. He still is fine, but I think another actor could have made more of an impression in the role.)

Luke:

Yes.

Anonymous:

Sure.

Anonymous:

I loved the episode in contrast to the previous episode where I was sadly rather indifferent, as I think I'm finding William has become by far the most compelling character where Dolores unfortunately has become the least interesting. Simpson and Harris were both great, and Mullan was outstanding.

Bryan:

Honestly I'd love to see every one of their takes on the "Mad as Hell" speech as I'd think they'd all knock it out of the park in their own unique way. Out of that group I'd say the best fit for Beale in general would probably be Keaton, Washington or Day-Lewis. It would easy to see both of them fashion that sort respectable news anchor presence, then to see that crumble and for them to go both stark raving mad could be something special. I do think Oldman or Dafoe would be great as well, but their typical onscreen persona always seems at least a little unhinged anyways, and would be less fitting to pre-insanity Beale, as brief as that is.

Michael McCarthy said...

Hey Louis, who are some actors who you think have the best inherently comedic voices? For me the first one that comes to mind is H. Jon Benjamin.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the use of laugh tracks in sitcoms. I personally find it a tad insulting whenever I watch a show that isn't the slightest bit funny, ie The Big Bang Theory, but I do think shows like Seinfeld earned their use of it.

Matt Mustin said...

Tahmeed: I'm not Louis, but I'll give my thoughts on that. I think they used to work, the live studio audiences anyway, not the faked laugh tracks like MASH, which is an otherwise brilliant show, but for me any new show that uses a laugh track I usually assume will be terrible.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your Best Cinematography winners for 1942, 1943, 1952 and 1956.

Anonymous said...

Louis: You forgot to answer those two questions (the cinematography of those two John Ford films and your cast for a 40's Public Enemies) from those two Anonymous users.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could Cruise go up for Minority Report.

Anonymous said...

Everybody thoughts on the Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Klansman trailers?

RatedRStar said...

1. Mantegna
2. Phoenix
3. Rickman
4. Snipes
5. Eccleston

Louis Morgan said...

Michael:

Ed Wynn (although I think I hate all Ed Wynn impersonations)
Phil Hartman
Will Arnett

Tahmeed:

I don't care for it even though I like Seinfeld in general it never needed it as evidenced by the similair humor of Curb Your Enthusiasm, since I think it is entirely unnecessary, and comes off as a bizarre archaic technique in a show that otherwise subverts a lot of the typical sitcom tropes. It isn't as a egregious to me when it is clear it is coming from a genuine audience, as it often is with Seinfeld, or something like The Honeymooners where it was all the genuine reaction of the audience. The worst of it in my mind was when it was used most nonsensically in the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

Anonymous:

Stagecoach's cinematography is actually rather inconsistent, though never bad exactly. It has some great moments in there such as that zoom in for Wayne's entrance, however the composition and lighting ranges from serviceable to remarkable. There are certain sequences where the lighting delivers that sort of noiresque emotionalism within it, such as in the delivery of the child layover, any scene within the stagecoach but that is not present consistently within the film. A lot of the time it is just generic western cinematography, not less than that, but not more.

She Wore Yellow Ribbon is probably one of Ford's best shot films with its frequently gorgeous use of technicolor. This is beyond though just capturing a vibrant look with appropriately dynamic composition, which is kind of more than enough anyways. It does go further though in making use of the colors beyond just getting the most out of the western landscape. It successfully makes use of a more saturated stylistic color in moments that are brilliantly used particularly the scene where Wayne's character visits the graveyard. These more expressive moments are particularly well used and amplify that general vibrancy of work all the more.

Anonymous:

Public Enemies 1940's:

John Dillinger: Humphrey Bogart
Melvin Purvis: Kirk Douglas
Billie Frechette: Ida Lupino
J. Edgar Hoover: Burgess Meredith
Charles Winstead: Thomas Mitchell
Baby Face Nelson: Laird Cregar
Pretty Boy Floyd: Robert Stack
Alvin Karpis: Kevin McCarthy

Anonymous:

1942: The Magnificent Ambersons
1943: The Song of Bernadette
1952: Ikiru
1956: The Searchers

Luke:

Probably not.

Anonymous:

With Bohemian Rhapsody I don't think there was too much to take from that in terms of what the overall quality will be. I guess they're going for dubbing, and if they're not this is a bad trailer, but that does not mean it will be problematic. It looks like it could be overly laudatory, as much of the trailer seemed like it was saying "just look how cool Freddie was!" which based on what went on behind the scenes that could easily be the film. Otherwise not much to be taken from it except Malek looks like he's going for it at the very least, though we'll have to see how that works out, and Aidan Gillen is still making those Little Finger faces.

Blackkklansman is tonally, at least from the trailer, appears to be more The Nice Guys, than say Donnie Brascoe or even Deep Cover, which was a little unexpected. With Spike Lee at the helm I have no idea how that approach will turn out, though I suspect it is going to be a bit more dramatic at times than the trailer suggests, which has me a bit worried in terms of how the tone will be balanced. Driver looks intriguing as usual, and Washington looks like he has inherited some of his old man's charisma, which is good since I would hate to have another Scott Eastwood on our hands.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Who do you think is more badass: Bogart or Mitchum?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Cannes reaction to The House That Jack Built.

JackiBoyz said...

1. Phoenix
2. Mantegna
3. Rickman
4. Snipes
5. Eccleston

Luke Higham said...

Michael: Your Ratings and Thoughts on Eccleston, Snipes, Rickman, Mantegna and Phoenix.

Have you also watched Dead Again and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.

I'm seeing Deadpool 2 tonight.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Mitchum

Luke:

Given the synopsis, the subject matter, and von Trier's reputation at Cannes to begin with, can't say it's too surprising that it has been polarizing.

Luke Higham said...

Guys, what would you consider to be Alan Bates' best work.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I've recently been getting into Bakuman, an anime made by the creators of Death Note. It's a really good show, taking a concept that might seem a bit boring (a couple of high schoolers trying to make it into the world of manga), and making it into something pretty enjoyable. Also, it has a terrific central romance.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: The Fixer for me.

Omar Franini said...

Louis: is there any movie that you are looking for from this year Cannes Festival?

Bryan L said...

Louis: Yes, I more or less figured the same about Oldman and Dafoe. Also, would Tom Hanks be a good fit for the part as well? I forgot to include him in that group.

Louis Morgan said...

Omar:

I will say I am somewhat morbidly curious about "The House that Jack Built" less morbidly so for Matt Dillon's performance.

Otherwise:

Everybody Knows (Not a stellar reception, though not a bad one, however Cannes is usually were films get hit the hardest in terms of negative critical reception)
Under the Silver Lake
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Bryan:

Hanks would be a great choice for the "respectable anchor type" however I don't know if he could pull off the mania, he's probably be a better natural fit for Max Schumacher. If he did manage to pull off the mania though it would be rather something to see "America's Dad" go off the deep end.

Robert MacFarlane said...

"The House That Jack Built" looks like the most obnoxious film ever made. Even von Trier diehards seem to be jumping ship with this one.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Look who's back.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l78vR5-0Stc

Anonymous said...

Louis: How do you think Dana Andrews and Monty Clift would have fared in Casey Affleck's role in The Killer Inside Me?

Calvin Law said...

As someone who really liked A Separation and The Salesman, I have zero expectations and excitement for Everybody Knows.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Cool.

Anonymous:

Clift would've been great, and I think a full blown psychopath would've have been something rather memorable from him. It's harder to imagine Andrews as clearly, however whenever I've seen him push his range he has succeeded, so it's certainly possible.