Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2002: Marcel Iures in Hart's War

Marcel Iures did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Colonel Werner Visser in Hart's War.

Hart's War in simplest terms is a World War II POW film about the murder trial for an African American officer accused of murder. It's a film that tries to cover a whole lot within this conceit, however the ambitious seem beyond the grasp of its director.

Marcel Iures plays the required role of the German camp commandant, and I'll say for the first half of the film this appears to be the fairly typical cold German portrayal. Iures does this in a way I will say is fine. This carrying himself with the calm resolute manner, having a callous glare towards men he is executing for having tried to escape and speaking with moderate venom towards his imprisoned counterpart Col. William McNamara (Bruce Willis). Standard I would say if entirely fine in presenting the opposition with the required type of efficiency, perhaps with a bit less charisma than say an Otto Preminger in Stalag 17, but good. Eventually Iures gets more to do when a series of events leads to one African American pilot being executed by the Germans via framing, and then the man likely responsible for that getting killed. This leading to the other African American office Lt. Scott (Terence Howard) being accused of murder. He is given a proper court martial, where our main character, the wet behind the ears somewhat cowardly law student Thomas Hart (Colin Farrell) is called upon to act as the defense. Although complications begin to occur, this including Colonel Visser offering Hart some help by giving him a court martial manual. This scene is Iures's focal point scene where he reduces his typical manner to portray the moment as though Visser is just one making speaking to another. There is still a certain distance in his overall tone, but Iures does well to accentuate a man of speaking genuine interests in a more casual, as well as more humane manner. It's a good scene for Iures as he effectively differentiates the man from the soldier. This only brief though as we see him reacting to Hart's new abilities to mess with McNamara's plans for the court martial. There though Iures is good though as the manipulator with the smiles of bemusement of seeing his manipulations working. Iures work here in general finds a degree of nuance to present as well an interest in the proceedings that go beyond his manipulations, again alluding to the degree of humanity in the scene with Farrell. Much like the film I don't think it really builds towards something substantial, and is more on the border of something greater. I don't think Iures is able to quite find that greatness within his own work, but it is good performance. He goes beyond a stock villain to find some complexity within the role, even if I wish there was perhaps a bit more.

1 comment:

Matthew Montada said...

Just watched the Ammonite trailer. Looks really good. What do you guys think?