Sunday, June 25, 2006

#23 (Male Performances in Review 2000-2004)

A Home at the End of the World, an adaptation of Michael Cunningham's novel of the same name, is a woeful wreckage of a film. It is not so much a "bad" effort as it is utterly flat as a piece of cinema; the thing just sits there, plodding through its plot points and suffering from a terminal lack of personality. But the only reason I did not regret plunking down cash on a pricey evening show was the presence of Colin Farrell in the lead, portraying the lovelorn Bobby. Second to perhaps only Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears in receving regular thrashings by the media, Farrell has been (unfairly, I believe) maligned for his personal life as well as his apparent lack of acting chops. Whatever his actions off-screen, I would have detractors take a look at this astounding performance before writing him off altogether (as well as his gorgeous work in Malick's The New World), because it's a keeper. While his co-stars either confusedly flounder about (Robin Wright-Penn) or feign investment (Dallas Roberts) in relation to their characters, it is Farrell who places the weight of the film entirely upon his shoulders. His wide-eyed terror at the possibility of testing unknown waters is not the least bit questionable, because Farrell invests him with such a gentle, susceptible spirit. He is so enchanting because we, along with him, see the world with new eyes and feel deep-seated ambivalence toward drastic change in life. Farrell plays him like a lost little boy who has never been able to grow up, who is unable to understand why the nature of relationships (especially those that are romantic and sexual in nature) change so quickly. Bobby's fluid sexuality is an element many other actors would have botched, needing to define or play him in a certain way. Farrell's Bobby is simply open to love, accepting it from any person because he was so starved for affection as a child. It's a fully rounded characterization, and an effort that should have received more attention than it did during awards season. At the very least, it's a much better performance than the movie it is featured in deserves.


jesse said...

I still want to see this film, even though my expectations are substantially lower than they used to be. This was the first book I ever listened to on CD, and Farrell reprised his character and gave a stunning interpretation, so I'm not surprised to hear he gave a great performance in the film as well.

JavierAG said...

I find that even when the material he gets to work with is sub-par ("Alexander", etc) he always seems to be trying his best to make it work. So far I've liked him in everything he's done, though I haven't had the chance of seeing this movie (damn!)

Ali said...

Jesse - I'm surprised to hear that Farrell contributed to the book-on-tape. Anyways, I'm sure you'll love the performance too; he just gives so much. It's depressing that the rest of the film isn't on the same level.

Javier - Very true, I'm glad to encounter another fan. Everyone seems to have forgotten the good reviews he received in the past for Tigerland, Minority Report and Phone Booth. It was only after Alexander that everyone turned on him.

Jose said...

And to think this film passed on to history as "the movie were Colin's penis was supposed to appear".
I loved him in "Tigerland" he gave the performance of his career!

RC said...

i think his performance in this movie is actually a little wierd...i think he was too old for the part.

and dallas roberts...i'll be interesting to see where his career goes.

--RC of