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.