Friday, 28 August 2009

Forgotten Characters

Well remember I did my list of top 25 Actors the other day, and I wrote an addendum that I had forgotten Willem DeFoe. Well there was still something nagging at me, I knew there was somebody else that I was missing...but who. Well it was Ethan Hawke. A bit silly that I missed him considering I'd just reviewed one of his films, but Ethan has become such a rarity on film. I was planning on dedicating a post to Ethan and then I remembered that he was eligible for this theme. The last two entries have been performances that were just a small fraction of a film's running time. But the worst type of Forgotten Character are those who have big roles, but are overshadowed by a costar in buzz or audience reaction. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's

Ethan Hawke in Training Day
as Jake Hoyt
I'm not going to get into whether or not Ethan was as good as Denzel, that's unnecessary. And I'm biased, because I feel the same way about Denzel Washington as I do about Tom Hanks - overexposed and overhyped. But I digress...as usual. Ethan Hawke earned his only acting Oscar nomination for a Supporting role in this film. Taking place in one event filled day it tells the story of Jake a would be narcotics detective who embarks on the eponymous Training Day with a heavily heralded, more experienced policeman Alonzo Harris [Washington]. The day turns out to be nothing Jake expected as he learns that Alonzo may not be the good cop he seems to be.

I'm sure most of you have seen this film [it was the number one film at the box office in its releae] and if you haven't most of what I say would give away the plot. There is one scene in particular where I love Ethan. It's boring and kind of obvious, but its where he almost gets killed by some thugs and is literally begging for his life. He is just so believable and it's wicked scary too...seeing that we don't know what's going to happen. Ethan's nomination for this film was something of a surprise since no one saw it coming. But his role is more than just the stereotypical good guy he's been referred to as. In the greater scheme of things I suppose that Denzel's Alonzo will be more remembered, but that does not mean that Ethan's solid performance should be forgotten.
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2 comments:

Danny King said...

Both performances are great. Denzel's is more memorable because of the flashy character he plays, while Hawke's character is sort of an average family man type character that is seen in the movies a lot.

I disagree about Denzel as an actor, I think he's just as good as the buzz he gets. Although his win for this film might not have been his best performance, he has given a number of memorable performances on screen.

One thing I like about Hawke is that he is very selective in his movies, he won't do a role if he doesn't believe in it, and that is a sign of a mature, dedicated actor.

Alex in Movieland said...

I don't think he's forgotten. I liked him in this, even though it's an obvious leading role. Denzel was a bit better, having the flashier role, but I would've given the Oscar to Russell Crowe