Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1974: Jeff Bridges in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

Jeff Bridges received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Lightfoot in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is a Buddy road movie that turns into a heist movie.

Jeff Bridges plays one of the two friends, who accidentally runs into Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood), where they at first run from Thunderbolt's old partners, but eventually they team up with them to rob a bank that the group had robbed previously. Bridges plays Lightfoot who is a bit of a drifting, care free joker, who happens to run into Eastwood's character after he stole a car. Bridges captures Lightfoot's carefree and youthful attitude with ease. Throughout his performance Bridges fills his performance with a great deal of energy in every scene he is in. He is always moving around making a lot of jokes and comments. Bridges does all of this energy realistically and also never becomes annoying either, in fact he makes Lightfoot a rather endearing character instead.

Bridges stays charming through the whole performance and makes Lightfoot a very likable character. He makes him an easy character to spend time with, and basically follow through his road adventure with Thunderbolt. Bridges is always charismatic, being both entertaining and humorous during the film, without every seeming to try and force himself to be either, he simply is.  A main aspect of the film though is his friendship with Thunderbolt. It is an interesting dynamic the to have together since Eastwood mostly talks when he needs to, whereas Bridges constantly is talking. They have a nice friendship that grows together with a fairly natural chemistry between the two. The best scene of their friendship though is a scene where Bridges get Eastwood to laugh, because it is a great natural moment that shows the simple camaraderie the two share. 

Later in the film when they perform a bank heist together Bridges naturally tones down his higher energy when faced with actually committing the crime. Bridges shows carefully the actual weight of the challenge baring down on Lightfoot showing his fear of the idea, as well as a recognition of responsibility which he never had before quite well. Near the end of the film Bridges shows Lightfoot in an even worse condition, no longer joking at all, with only some sparks of his charm left. He manages the physical decay of Lightfoot well, and actually gives a rather heartbreaking performance at the end, because it is such a difference from the youthful Lightfoot from the beginning. This is a memorable, and effective work from Bridges that certainly made his film a far better experience by being in it.


Edward L. said...

This is a nice performance (which I watched again very recently). One question: do you think he could really be considered a lead? I mean, he seems to me to be in the film as much as Eastwood.

RatedRStar said...

Jeff Bridges earlier work is brilliant, I found him completely charming and likeable through this =D

RatedRStar said...

felt like hugging him =D

Louis Morgan said...

Edward L: I would say he was lead with Eastwood.

Edward L. said...

Thanks - me too, I think. I can't see much difference between this and Thelma & Louise in terms of the screen time of the two main characters.