Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Firm

This is a film that I might never have looked at again had it not been for StinkyLulu’s Supporting Actress Smackdown. Sidney Pollack’s thriller based on John Grisham’s novel. This is Tom Cruise’s film and its one of those non-acting performances from him [re Top Gun, A Few Good Men] He’s capable, as are most of the cast. Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, David Strathairn give able performances. The film is overly long for one of this genre [it’s two hour and a half] and towards the middle it does tend to flounder. By the end it picks up but by then you’re just waiting for it to be over and done with.
Now as you know the whole point of looking at this movie is to assess Holly Hunter’s performance in The Firm. I always thought of this nomination as a filler nomination and in some ways I still think so. I was two in 1993 so all the films I saw from that year were done way later. I can think of a heap of women who could have replaced her. It’s not like her performance is bad. Her role is short, and it’s supposed to be the sort of palpable supporting performance that Oscar likes. I feel I would have nominated Jean Tripplehorn over her if I had the chance. Not because her performance was so excellent either, but the character just felt a lot more rounded than Tammy, and obviously they wanted someone from the film. But as I said you can see what the appeal of Holly Hunter is. Not only she is playing a completely different character than she does in The Piano [the same year] – it’s the sort of aggressive/slightly femme fatale/heart of gold character they like [see Mira Sorvino, Marisa Tomei, Kim Bassinger, Mercedes Rhuel], although an insignificant character means she can do nothing with it.

In the film there’s a key scene where Jeanne Tripplehorn seduces Gene Hackman. It’s a scene that was originally given to Tammy’s character in the novel. I don’t say would have suddenly made her character more rounded and the nomination less of a head scratcher. But had she a reason for being there I could have liked her more, or maybe not…


MovieMania said...

I agree. Her performance doesn't at all warrant a nomination.

Alex in Movieland said...

let's face it: it was a weak year for Supporting Actress!