Friday, August 01, 2008

Performance

I just caught the last hour or so of Bridget Jones #2 on the teeve, a movie so undistinguished I couldn't remember whether I'd seen it before or not, but I did enjoy the sight of Hugh Grant and Colin Firth having a refreshingly messy, non-macho, sub-Queensberry set-to in a London fountain (I love it that the Hugh Grant character fights like a demented schoolgirl -- kicking, clawing, pulling hair and running away).

Now this is seriously mediocre film, but it reminded me that the thing I love movies for is the actors. The more things you've seen someone in, the more a sort of palimpsest effect builds up and provides a subtext that the director, if she or he is smart, will take advantage of but will know is ultimately beyond his or her control.

Thus, refreshingly, just enough but not too much was made of the fact that Colin Firth was reprising his clingy wet white shirt, here half hidden under a suit. I enjoyed this all the more because the wet white shirt was referenced much more obviously in Mamma Mia, which I saw a few weeks ago and was of course made only recently. I love it that the chronology of these layered reference points in an actor's career gets all mixed up, especially in the eyes of the movie-watcher as one gets older and watches more re-runs, and that Colin Firth has enough of a sense of humour to go with it.

The other joy in that movie is watching Renee Zellwegger and remembering what she was like in Cold Mountain, which I thought was one of those magical performances when actors go right outside themselves and do something uncanny that makes you shiver a bit. It's for this reason I plan to sit through The Dark Night, which mostly doesn't interest me a bit*, so I can watch Heath Ledger put in what looks like the same order of spooky transcendent performance, and map it onto what I remember of him in Brokeback Mountain.


*As you can see, it interests me so little I can't even get the title right.


6 comments:

Ann O'Dyne said...

Zellweger gave an Oscar-deserving performance in Nurse Betty too.

My 'favourite films' are really 'Favourite Actors'.
I can watch anything with Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Gene Hackman, John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Robert Downey Jnr and Jack Black and am looking forward to them with Ben Stiller in that new actors in a war-film thingy which name escapes me.

Fyodor said...

Now there's a funny coincidence. Not only did I also watch the same film last night, but look at what I just found, thanks to Laura et al's new Janeitical blog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=L4JGXxmzPHo&feature=related

One of the great things about both of the Bridget Jones movies is that the fight scenes are amongst the most realistic you will ever see in a movie. Your average bloke really does fight like that, i.e. craply.

Lefty E said...

well, I saw the Dark Knight (sitting in cinemas esaly aids the not smoking thing) and Ledger stormed the film. It really is a fantastically crtazed performance. Made Batman seem like a bit part.

genevieve said...

It really must be Sunday - you had me wondering what film the Dark Night was there, for a nanosecond.

I also love the demented street roll in Bridget Jones #1. I will borrow the other one and watch the fight scene only, I think they both fight like schoolgirls acshually. Hugh Grant is a seriously wasted comic talent. And Firth does have a lovely SOH.

elsewhere said...

It's also referenced in that new film with Helen Hunt in it (title promptly forgotten).

Have you seen A Month in the Country and the film where Colin Firth plays a Marxist schoolboy? I think they're his earliest films. He's almost unrecognisable: much skinnier.

Darlene said...

I think the film was Another Country and it also starred Rupert Everett. They played those infamous spies for the Ruskies. Can't remember their name.

Bridget Jones 2 was crud. So bad. Renee really didn't look like she wanted to be there (and Bridget Jones Diary was soooooooooooo much fun).

Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. The crumpet(s) for the thinking woman who likes a bit of English booty.