Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Essential Performances of the 90s: Round 2, Showdown 1

And here we begin round 2 of the Essential Performances of the 90s Tournament. There are a couple battles from the first round still to be decided, so go vote if you haven't already.
I'm opening the floor for you to defend any of the 32 qualified performances on your blog if you're interested (information HERE). Incidentally, no one has been kind enough to vouch for either of these two performances, yet.

Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) as Clarice Starling
"Foster allows Clarice to blossom into a Boticelli-esque figure in front of our eyes" - Jose
Even though Jodie is in so much more of The Silence of the Lambs than Anthony I always remember her first opposite him. Not only because the film depends so much on the Clarice/Hannibal angle, but because - unlike Jodie generally - this performance is all about playing off her costars. It's almost certainly because Clarice is such a tough role to play, and could so easily become static so Jodie so deftly plays her scene with a palpable earnestness that becomes key to making so much of the film work. Randomness: Along with the two Thelma and Louise gals, Jodie's work here is one of the three Best Actress nominees of 1991 still in the game.

Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day (1993) as James Stevens
"Stevens seem to exist on a plane of dignified stolidity but we look closer and find all the emotions Hopkins telegraphs so subtly" - Andrew B.

On the other side of the bracket Hopkins is in round two for his work in The Silence of the Lambs, too. And, two years after that the serious butler of The Remains of the Day seems to be such a departure. And, it is, for the most part but it's curious how Hopkins retains so much of his key tricks. Stevens is never downright creepy, but he sure is unnerving as he almost terrorises the staff with his fastidiousness. Of course, what makes his quietude in surface so profound is the subtle suggestion that he is forcibly restricting all the chaotic emotions going on below the surface. Randomness: Although Howards End is my favourite Merchant Ivory film (and even though I do love Anthony Hopkins generally) it took me multiple viewings to warm up to his performance there. He's essentially perfect just one year later in The Remains of the Day, though.

Which moments do you recall when you think of Jodie in The Silence of the Lambs and Anthony in The Remains of the Day?

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