Christopher Walken in Annie Hall
Remember when Christopher Walken was Annie Hall’s older brother? Random bit of trivia Walken was 1977’s Best Picture winner with this and then 1978’s Best Picture The Deer Hunter which he also picked up an Oscar for. Dwayne is one in a slew of peculiar characters peppering this film and it’s in Woody’s own style to make them as bizarre as possible without making them unrealistic. So, of course, Woody deserves a significant bit of credit for creating…but then, Christopher and his own eccentricity as a performer.
It’s the scene immediately after where he has his only bit of dialogue, by way of monologue.
Dwayne: “Can I confess something? I tell you this because an artist I think you’ll understand. Sometimes when I’m driving – on the road, at night – I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The flames rising out of the foreign gasoline.”
Gun to head, this is THE weirdest part of the film, but I love this monologue. I know this is about the character as created by Walken, but I’d like to point out two excellent bits about this via Woody. On one hand, we can surmise that Dwayne is so delusional he thinks that this is artistic, which is he makes mention of Alvy being one. Conversely, though, he might me making a more subtle comment on what random people think of artistic – and knowing Woody, I think it’d be the latter. Walken is playing completely, and chillingly straight. And we know Walken from all the off-centre characters he plays, so we don’t doubt that Dwayne might be something of a lunatic, so it’s funny….but it’s odd, and it’s weird. But, you listen to his word – and the earnestness with which he plays with sticks with you.
Do you recall Walken’s sliver of a role in Annie Hall?