Sunday, 28 November 2010

Best Actor 1998: Nick Nolte in Affliction

Nick Nolte received his second Oscar nomination for portraying small town cop Wade Whitehouse in Affliction.

Affliction is a rather unusual film in a few ways such as having a plot that is a purposeful fake out, but it also is standard in many ways such as several fairly simple characters. Overall it simply did not work for me.

I'll again admit I have never found Nolte to be all that interesting of an actor. I particularly do not find his abilities as a leading man like in the Prince of Tides, luckily though Wade Whitehouse is not at all a leading man character. Wade is a town cop who is poorly respected by just about everyone, and is disliked almost in the same way. Nolte does do a good job a be appropriately pathetic as Wade. His inability to fulfill the smallest tasks of his job as a cop and as a father, is made proper do to Nolte lack of command, and lack of self-confidence. Everything about Wade lacks confidence, and I will say that Nolte does a good job of that, even though I will not say that seems like the biggest challenge.

Wade is a troubled man with a troubled past, and present. His past involving his abuse from his father (James Coburn), and the present involving the sudden death of his mother, a sever toothache, and a theory of his that a local hunting accident was not accident. Nolte gives fine performance showing the frustrations of Wade, along with his possible paranoia due to his abuse as a child. His slow degeneration throughout the film is fairly well handled by Nolte, as he grows more and more frustrated and paranoid.I also like how Nolte shows how Wade grows a little more strength despite the strength being misplaced in a incorrect idea.

I think Nolte does reach the end of the character's rope fairly well, and does give a completely respectable performance. I will say still that I do think the performance could perhaps have been better. Although I think he is realistic and fairly effective, there still seemed to be something stopping him from really hitting the right note with his performance. I cannot point to what exactly, but his performance never truly effected me. Still I will admit being for some reason extra hard on Nolte, since if he did achieve even more with this performance it would have been a truly great one. Nonetheless though it is a good one.


dinasztie said...

For a while, I was interested in the movie, but that interest died down over the years. Interesting post.

Anonymous said...

I'd go even lower...