Friday, 31 December 2010

Forgotten Characters 3:1 (2010 in Review)

It’s that time of year when the internet is virtually flooded with a slew of Best of Lists. I’m no year ready to turn the lights off on 2010. There are still a number of releases I’d like to see before I compile my personal picks, but now is as good a time as any to return my running feature Forgotten Characters, focusing specifically on the characters of 2010 in film. There’s a smorgasbord of picks to choose from, and this should probably carry me until the end of January which is about when I should start working on my year end awards. 

I decided I'd restart the feature with what's arguably the most talked about film of the year, Nolan's Inception - which I liked, in spots. I know a few expected Inception to be nominated for Ensemble Cast at the Screen Actors' Guild Awards, I didn't though. Of Nolan's features, it has the strongest cast but it's also the least inspired work he's gotten from an ensemble. Still, though Marion's Mal sort of steamrolled everyone around her there's another performance that I keep recalling - alone...

Cillian Murphy in Inception
 as Robert Fischer

Everyone is playing a distinctive "type" in Inception (my review), and as the literal scene of the crime to be done Murphy must play Fischer in the register of the oft-forgotten, somewhat bitter son so I'm even more proud of Murphy for managing to turn in what's probably the most emotional arc of the entire film. He's lucky, because aside from the Cobb/Mal fiasco he's the only character who has an actual backstory, and to Nolan's credit as simplistic as it is it's never tawdry. What I appreciate even more, though, is how Murphy plays it - it's as Fischer is in his own film and he's just crossing paths with the Inception folks. Like that early scene with the toy windmill. It's the sort of emotional nuances you don't expect to see (and that you sort of wish was more prevalent in the film).
                                                      
It sort of makes me feel a tad more sympathetic towards him that we're essentially going through an entire film feeding him a lie, and though that emotional centerpiece is nowhere near as delicately developed as Mal's madness it makes me appreciate Cillian more. I'm often feeling out-of-the-loop when it comes to him; as if I should like him more - but I'm rarely given a palpable reason to. Not that he breaks new ground with Fischer in Inception, but it's the sort of well played characterisation that's always well appreciated especially when it's possible to play the entire thing in a one-note register that most wouldn't mind. So, that final scene where he brushes shoulders with Cobb in the airport I wonder just what happens to Robert afterwards....
                    
What did you think of Murhpy in Inception?
                

10 comments:

Stevee Taylor said...

I love Cillian Murphy. I love Inception. That's all I have to say about that.

Robert said...

You know, you're really right. I kind of forgot about Murphy (Cotillard's amazingness and my automatic Ellen Page love kind of distracted me) but reading this reminds me of how subtly good he really was. I can't wait to hear the rest of 2010's forgotten characters!

Alex in Movieland said...

I liked him. Touching; very short, but effective, special performance. Didn't forget him.

Alex in Movieland said...

ah, yeah:

HAPPY NEW YEAR! :)

Jose said...

The guy's always so underrated but yeah Marion owns that movie.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

stevee well you're supposed to end with "i love this post" :)

robert re: forgotten characters, there will be many of them to be featured.

happy new year, alex. yeah, effective is the right word.

jose well, that's a no contest. marion owns it, yes she does.

Stevee Taylor said...

*I love the post. Apart from the part where you say you didn't love Inception :)

anahita said...

I saw Inception again yday and remembered this post as I watched Murphy. I thought he was really extraordinarily very good, but sadly overlooked thanks to the tonnes of acting talent the film holds (can you tell I'm a fan?) But the scene in the "hospital" where he has his final moments with his father and finds the windmill was truly heartbreaking. x

Joanna said...

Good thing you posted this. I definitely forgot that Cillian Murphy is in Inception. That is probably also a hint that I should rewatch Inception.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

stevee ha! okay fine, you're excused.

anahita ah, so you're a fan! damn. :) wasn't marion awesome, though? and yeah, that scene with cillian in the hospital was excellent.

joana well, i AM doing my job. so if you've forgotten him, it means i'm making some sense.