Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Best Actor 1990: Jeremy Irons in Reversal of Fortune

Jeremy Irons won his Oscar from his only nomination at the moment for portraying Claus Von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune.

Reversal of Fortune details the case of Claus Von Bulow supposed attempted murder of his wife Sunny (Glenn Close), and his attempt to reverse his conviction through the use of lawyer Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver).

Jeremy Irons has quite the challenge in the role of Claus Von Bulow, because the film refuses to say whether he does it or not, therefore Irons must somehow neither convince us of his guilt nor his innocence. Irons never indicates completely either way, but he does seem to suggest both. It is a difficult thing to do, to not let the cat out of the bag, but Irons is able to do it flawlessly. Irons has a really difficult role because he is never focused on in any way that really shows the soul of his character. The development of the character is up to Jeremy Irons, and Irons does it through careful subtly. Irons allows us I think to find out something of his character, yet still he remains a mystery, a mystery that remains a satisfying mystery, again like his guilt or innocence this is something very difficult to do yet Irons does it with ease.

Irons though he does use a great deal of subtly in his performance he is also an extremely entertaining performance just to watch. He creates a fascinating portrait of this well to do society man, in the way he walks, talks, the way he sits and smokes his cigarette. Everything that he does always has this extraordinary manner about himself, that makes Claus a fascinating enigma, from a very particular and peculiar place. This is a performance that I love though because of all the humor he is able to infuse into his performance without ever seeming like he is trying to be funny, or even giving a comedic performance. Irons though is able to bring a great deal of dark humor through his manner, as well especially in his portrayal of Bulow way of playing with the public perception of him.

It is fascinating to watch his way of mixing this entertaining performance, well still giving a subtle performance in his portrait of this possible murderer. Irons excels in every fashion whether he is conveying an undeniable coldness, and something darker just through one of his icy stares he gives to Sunny even when Claus is saying something else, or more broadly enjoying his own infamy in his final scene where he asks for some insulin, before saying just kidding. Irons is simply just a joy to watch throughout this performance, it is a great achievement of his that all he had to do was be Claus to make a scene entertaining. Irons though as I said is not only entertaining but does always suggest more of who Claus is but appropriately leaves Claus to a bit interpretation.

Claus can be either innocent, somewhat Innocent, somewhat guilty, or completely guilty. His whole rather very darkly humorous  and charismatic manner could be a facade for either evil, or possibly a fear of his own situation or even a guilt. Irons can allow all such interpretations without seeming for a moment that this is not a fully realized person, Irons is simply that good in this great performance.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree!

Anonymous said...

My thoughts exactly, what did you think about Close's performance?

Louis Morgan said...

She was quite effective, even in a coma.

dshultz said...

Hell yeah! This is one of my favorite performances, and Irons nailed an impossible role amazingly!!!!

By the way, could you do a review sometime of Sean Connery in "The Hill"?

Anonymous said...

Glad you liuked him, I hope he wins

Louis Morgan said...

dshultz: I will try to actually get to review of that performance in some way, not sure which way just at this moment.

RatedRStar said...

Loved the film =)