Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Linda Hunt in The Year of Living Dangerously

Peter Weir is a good director The Truman Show was a great film, Green Card was good and funny and Dead Poet’s Society is fine and more recently Master & Commander – The Far Side of the Universe – which I didn’t quite love – but wasn’t a bad effort. However, I do not like The Year of Living Dangerously - I like Sigourney Weaver and I like Mel Gibson, but I didn’t like this movie. I first saw this movie about five years ago on TV. I caught it some time into the narrative. It was late, I was young and I was bored. I am sorry, I know some people like this film, but I struggled through it and somewhere between in and out of consciousness I sat through. Still here are my thoughts on the Academy's pick for Supporting Actress that year.

Linda Hunt in The Year of Living Dangerously

The film’s about an Australian journalist, Guy, (Gibson) covering the overthrowing of Indonesian leader President. He falls in love with a British Officer – Jill (Weaver). Linda Hunt plays Billy Kwan, Jill’s friend and a source of information for Guy.

Anyways, Stinkylu’s smackdown comes around and I have to watch it again and granted, I don’t find it as tedious… but I don’t find it that stimulating either. There are good things though, the writing is good and the editing and direction is fine. Still I don’t like it. But I’m digressing from the main topic up for discussion – Linda Hunt. Linda Hunt plays Billy Kwan – a man. I am not besotted with this performance. It’s a really baity role, and not just because she’s a woman playing a man – this would have been a baity role even if a man was playing the role. I don’t really see the point of casting a woman as Billy Kwan. When I think of women acting as men Cate Blanchett in I’m Not There; and that wasn’t meant to be realistic casting. We were never supposed to believe that Cate was THE Bob Dylan. Are we to believe that Linda is Billy and not Billie? Maybe it's because I knew her from She Devil, so I always knew it was a woman. But I’m nitpicking here, Hunt’s sexuality is not a key problem in the film, and this is not my main gripe with her performance. Her masculinity (or lack thereof) is not essential to the film's plot.

I just am not a fan of the performance. Although her playing a man is bewildering it doesn’t affect my disliking of the performance. There’s nothing tangible that I can use to say that was a bad acting decision or that was a bad performance. I am just not a fan it. It didn’t appeal to me – and that’s generally how I feel about the whole movie.

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