Alan Rickman did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite receiving a BAFTA nomination, for portraying Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply nor did he receive one for playing the interrogator in Closet Land.
Might as well take the more expected then with the interrogator, who really you could not ask for a better performer to make the rather laborious material of the film work. In that so much of the film is long monologues or dialogues pieces, that sadly wears their thematic ideas a little obviously on their sleeves leaving little subtly or perhaps even reality within the text, leaving the actors to some how make them work. Although I can't say either Rickman, or Stowe make the film "work" they do make it far easier to watch than it otherwise would be, and do their best to attempt to illustrate what the film was going for even though the film itself fails in its attempt. Rickman's typical deadpan yet forceful delivery is really perfection for the interrogator as it not only invokes the sort of assumed menace needed for the part it also expertly emphasizes the minutia of the man's existence. In that Rickman carefully plays that as the interrogation opens this is hardly the first, nor would it intend to be the last person the interrogator intends to break to satisfy the state's demands. Rickman is appropriately chilling by playing it very much a matter of routine from the outset finding the certain bureaucracy in the process of the interrogator, despite his process involving trying to physically and mentally destroy an individual for an unnamed crime.
Now enough of that "high minded" nonsense though as we also have here a Rickman turn that shows he could be just as charming as he could be menacing if he so chose to be. Rickman takes a bit to appear, as we follow around Stevenson's Nina failing to get over the grief of his loss, and I would actually say Rickman is supporting despite the importance of his character. When Jamie does suddenly appear in their old home, despite being quite dead, this is not a haunting but rather a wondrous event it would seem. Rickman doesn't take long to show what Nina saw in old Jamie as there is such a considerable charisma in his work. He is just exuding this pure joy, and importantly he and Stevenson drum up an immediate chemistry. An important sort of chemistry though where the two barely even need to state their love for one another since one can just feel it through not only the jubilation the two actors express so well in their interactions, but just the warmth within their casual interactions. Despite the strange situation, there is no stiffness or formality between the two as Rickman and Stevenson deliver their lines and react to one another with this sense of comfort natural to their long standing great affection for one another.
Enough of that fun though lets get back to slow torture in a film that seems a touch too impressed with itself during every development in the interaction between the writer and the interrogator. Rickman though cannot be faulted for so well illustrating every moment of this horrible process. The way he plays it is as this true professional who in every moment is well aware of what step he is in terms of trying to break her. In that Rickman brings this slight air of irritability within a false civility. Rickman develops this false earnestness whenever the interrogator claims he's just going through the interrogation as a routine, though with always this momentary gaps realized in a hesitation in his delivery or a single turn of the eyes that Rickman brilliantly signals as the reality of the viciousness. Rickman creates so much of the uneasiness, and sense of threat within the film through his work. The actual moments where the interrogator uses violence in particular Rickman performs so well by drawing out in a way as he sort of overtly mannered each that effectively reveals the interrogator purposefully taking his time to show what is doing before he is doing it to create this dread even before the pain.
Of course enough of that, and let us looks back at Jamie where we get Rickman playing the part in a way that is a little atypical for a ghost. In that Rickman portrays Jamie as a ghost in no way troubled by his death, in fact has this rather distinct ease about the whole situation reflecting a man quite enjoying the freedom it grants him in a way. Rickman shares that enjoyment by being this great ball of energy really, which is notable for the often deadpan Rickman, as he has quite a bit of fun with his performance it would seem. The right kind though as he lets us right in on it, to the point that is quite infectious honestly in his early scenes. He and Stevenson together are simply wonderful though in the exuberance of it all as the two seem to live the reunion to the fullest. I especially adore the moment in which the two sing a duet of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore". Neither actor is this great singer however it doesn't at all matter as that is hardly the point. The scene is a wonder because of that great happiness the two create through that is absolutely endearing for every second of it. Both bringing such a glow to it through their performance, with Rickman, so known for his icy characters, being rather splendid as this loving soul.
Well back to the hateful soul where Rickman is quite remarkable in realizing more within the character even in its limited presentation. This includes the interrogator putting on other parts, when the writer is blindfolded, that Rickman quite dynamically realizes as this guttural monster as the more brutal interrogator while also doing a high pitched pathetic wine to represent a fake witness being tortured to implicate the writer. Rickman is great there in creating yet another tool of the interrogator, however he goes a bit further when the interrogator is playing the witness when he claims to be left alone with the writer. Rickman uses this moment to its fullest as the witness describes the main interrogator, as a rich cultured man. Of course this is to create a false image for the writer to confess to, however given the writer is blindfolded Rickman subtly goes a bit further. When he delivers these words of propping up the interrogator as this good man Rickman silently portrays this honest sorrow in the man's eyes, showing the broken humanity of a man who once had morals, and is pained by the man he has becomes. This is a small moment, but honestly probably the best moment in the problematic film, because of how honest Rickman makes it through his performance. This plants the proper seed actual as the film goes on, and on, in the torture. Rickman though at least brings something out of this process by presenting the gradual wear in the interrogator own resolve revealing this desperation as he realizes his failures as the writer refuses to break.
Now his performance as Jamie also has more to it as well, as Nina continues to come home to him, while he introduces his fellow ghost friends who all just sort of hang about since they have nothing better to do. Rickman is rather hilarious in this, even as Jamie encroaches on Nina's patience, by showing this purity of the behavior. In that Rickman makes every, sometimes even inconsiderate moment technically speaking, genuinely goodhearted by playing it with the sense that Jamie truly has nothing more to do than hangout since he essentially an embodiment of living in the past. Rickman in turn doesn't hold back in terms of showing the joy that can come from such nostalgia, however also presents the limitations as Jamie has nowhere to go. Rickman doesn't at all present this as Jamie being truly troubled, even when he and Nina have a brief squabble, but rather direct as showing Jamie being all that Jamie can be. Eventually this, and the addition of a new boyfriend leads Nina to move on, leaving Jamie to be left in the past though not gone. The film ends with Jamie watching as she moves on, and Rickman is outstanding in the moment. His reaction is heartbreaking as he captures the sadness of losing her, but with a hint of joy reflective of Jamie's love for her that goes beyond even the point she has moved on from him. These two performances couldn't be more different in intent, and even within the contexts of the film since one amplifies a good film, and other makes a failure far more digestible. The two together though are representations of the talent of Alan Rickman who could be the most unpleasant of interrogators, or the most enchanting of ghosts.