Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Spin-Off, Season One: Episode 4

I vaguely remember in the wake of the, somewhat, mixed reactions to Nicole Kidman in Cold Mountain a slew of bloggers suggested that Natalie Portman would have been a more ideal choice for Ada Munroe. I’ve never read the book, so I can’t say anything about the translation to screen. I am a big fan of Anthony Minghella, and Nicole Kidman so I loved Cold Mountain. It’s nowhere near Minghella’s best, but it’s admirable – and its cast is top-notch.
Even if I don’t cherish the prospect of young Ms. Portman as Ada I do appreciate the performance she gives in the film as a young woman who Inman meets on his journey. Like any story divided in two one take precedence and Ada and Ruby are more interesting that Inman’s trek across the country – even if Jude Law is brilliant. But the moment where his journey gets most poignant is in the scene with Sarah. I’m vaguely fond of Portman, but I’m not wholly bowled over by her talent. Case in point, I think she’s fine in Closer, but still the least impressive of the quartet. When it comes to taking small roles and making them memorable her incarnation of Sarah ranks at the top. Everything in those few moments works in a way that I don’t expect. We are salivating waiting for Inman to reach Ada but for that scene we’re completely focused on Sarah.
It’s the type of role I’d like to see Natalie tackle. My excitement for Black Swan is slightly tempered though I’m still anxious to see Portman hold down an entire film. Perhaps the role of a woman waiting at home for her husband to return from war is generic, but an inspired writer could always do wonders with the story. It would be a fine piece for Natalie to tackle, she’s the sort of actor who’s good when pushed but is easily lost in the shuffle in an ensemble. I wouldn't mind seeing her headline something like this.
Meredith Logue and Tom Ripley continue their journey in The Talented Mr. Ripley


Castor said...

I want to like Portman and I usually do. The main issue that she has is that she sometimes gets that one or two scenes in some of her movies where you can really see and feel her forcing it but coming out really flat instead. It just sort of ruin the movie right at that precise moment. Looking forward to Black Swan and I really hope she holds down the entire film.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

castor completely feel you there. she's overly precise at times, and it shows. take the other boleyn girl for example, horrid film of a horrid book and her intensity didn't help, which is why scarjo came off better even though both of them were sacked with horrible lines.

Yojimbo_5 said...

Folks who suggest Portman over Kidman for Ada 1) haven't read the book and 2) like Portman more than Kidman, which is no way to cast a movie. Both are fine in this, and the parts fit their gifts (Kidman, the ice-princess and Portman, the kveller). Totally agree with you about The Other Boleyn Girl (Peter Morgan didn't save it and in fact made it worse).

But, I HIGHLY recommend "Cold Mountain" the book. Beyond the characters portrayed in the movie, the language and sense of period evoked are absolutely thrilling, like time-travelling in story-form. You'll love it...while getting depressed.