Saturday, 20 November 2010

Best Actor 1996: Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient

Ralph Fiennes received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Count Laszlo De Almasy in The English Patient.

The English Patient is usually a fairly divisive film that is usually either loved or hated. I found it in general to be pretty boring.

Ralph Fiennes' performance I would say is part of this something that is missing. Not that it is a bad performance at all, but I felt there was something missing in the character of Laszlo. There is a motivation a history, that I felt was sorely needed to fully realize the character. This is not Fiennes' fault though it really is in the film itself,  I suppose I could say he does not show this part of the character I am looking for but it really is not written there.I know his character is suppose to be something of a mystery bit I still felt there was something lacking there.

Besides that though there is something very interesting about his performance, is that you can see two incredibly different performances at the same time. His severely injured and disfigured English Patient, and his romantic lead performance. The first romantic lead performance, is a good one although I do think he tried to be the dark secretly truly romantic man at the beginning. Although I find he tried it, I would say despite clearly trying he did in fact eventually succeed to be just that so the although I felt he might of been slightly obvious in his portrayal he did succeed with the portrayal. After all he is described as always thinking, and he certainly portrays that perfectly. He was suppose to be mysterious with his hidden romantic abilites, and Fiennes showed that too.

His performance though becomes better as he becomes less mysterious. I think his scene with Kristen Scott Thomas, are properly romantic in their particular way. They do not overplay or underplay the scenes, and do find the right tone for them to succeed well. I do like how a slightly warmer personality of the Count is well shown when he is with her opposed to when he is not. He reveals more about these scenes well and very naturally, since he finally seems to be able to easily talk with someone he truly connects with. His strongest scenes involving this part of his performance though are the last scenes with Kristen Scott Thomas. He is very strong in showing the Count unbearable sadness in his loss, he is equally strong when he tries to get help and does not find any. His mix of frustration and sadness as he pleads for help is brilliantly shown by Fiennes.

Fiennes though also has the scenes as the "English" patient, and he does not leave the whole performance up to his make up. He shows the Count's final depressions and thoughts well. Despite how much he is made up he still gives a poignant performance in these end scenes. Especially when he describes his final moments, where both part of his performance compliment each other incredibly well. His final scene as he describes his final actions, in the past, his final death, and how he has already felt dead is properly portrayed by Fiennes and does fine the right strength for this final scene. Although not a perfect performance since it lacks a little here and there, and sort of keeps me at a distance but still a good one.

1 comment:

Mike Hannigan said...

Louis: What are your thoughts and ranks for Scott-Thomas and Binoche?