Sunday, 24 July 2011

Best Actor 1999: Denzel Washington in The Hurricane

Denzel Washington received his fourth Oscar nomination for portraying Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in The Hurricane.

The Hurricane depicts in a rather fictionalized fashion the exploits of the convicted of murder Carter to be freed from prison.

Denzel Washington's performance as Rubin Carter certainly seems like Oscar fair. Carter as depicted in the film is a innocent man, had the chance for greatness but is denied it. He struggles for years but remains passionate in his resolve, even if his experience has left him hardened over the years. This sort of character just lines himself up for Oscar scenes really. Washington certainly has plenty of standard Oscar scenes as Carter, which are successive of the film's version of the Hurricane. This is not a flawed man accused of a crime he did not commit but rather as a nearly self-actualized man accused of the crime. This unfortunately limits really the potential of both the character and the story, however I will give Washington credit for committing himself within these confines of the character.

This as we have his early scenes as the charismatic younger man, that of course Washington carries himself with the requisite swagger of a young potential champion. He offers of course that right power of personality, but also ferocity of his manner. Washington manages to combine these effectively even as the film doesn't do anything particularly interesting with these moments. Washington hits the needs of the role, even if I wish the film would've developed it more thoroughly. This does leave the character a bit more general, in a way at times seeming to be the greatest hits of a Washington character, however Washington to his credit delivers on these hits. This in granting that discontent in his eyes, or just the ease of a good smile. This being the situations of corrupt cops or more sincere women, however both are rather limited as written no matter what it is that Washington is doing in a given scene.

Washington is more impressive quite frankly in portraying the Hurricane we see in the later years, who is a man defined by his hatred for his treatment yet slowly changes himself when he sees the love of others through a young African American and a group of weird Canadian entrepreneurs who lead a campaign to help Carter be released from prison. There Washington does convey effectively the early cynicism within the man, burdened by his situation and too willing to look towards the worst nature in others. Washington though in scenes of quiet conversation though is moving in slowly easing away that internalized intensity to portray an optimism that naturally reveals itself. Washington is very moving in portraying the eventual breakdown in his moments of finally seeing some justice served within his ongoing struggle. It is a consistently effective performance from Washington though I do believe there was more potential if the character was more developed throughout.


Anonymous said...

Id give him 4. Its not a perfect performance but he puts so much emotion in the role

RatedRStar said...

Apparently Denzel was the favorite 2 win the oscar in 1999 lol since he won the globe

mrripley said...

Can i correct you on your oscar facts it was denzel's 4th nomination after cry freedom,glory and malcolm x.

i rank him 4th.

dinasztie said...

I expected this.