Quiz Showi is probably Ralph Fieness' consummation, or apotheosis, or whatever you'd call it. The blushing! The joyously blushing young galahad, overwhelmed with sexual... well, not exactly arousal, no. Rather what's on display would be more aptly called the boyish virtue of girlish ambiguity, that's what he radiates once surrounded by redolent maidens in (their) full regalia. Bereft of beard, over...whelmed with the implied, absent difference... They're so alike! And, needless to say (is it ? is it needless to say ?) it... well, it don't end too good, what can I say. What can be said, what the fuck did you expect ?
It's certainly Turturo's same thing, consumption, or apoptosis, or whatever you'd call it. A lot should be said of a film director that manages to get all the butter out of the talent -- about as much in fact as should be said of the abattoir managing a cattle on the hoof utilization factor of 100% -- including even the squeal! In practice the Sundance kid is exactly the polar opposite of say Tucker Max : an old guy with nothing to prove, plenty of spare resources amassed just lying about and, of course, intimate knowledge -- intimate, bidirectional knowledge -- of the entire field. It's self-evident he was well advised, and he took to the advice well, knowing whom he's talking to, and why. An excellent manager, which is rare.
Scoffieldii shines like an old first rate. Supposedly obsolete, a little worn perhaps -- by sun, and jet, yet nowhere rusty. Overtaken perhaps by inconsequential events and left behind in the intervening races -- the decks race, the cannon count race, the muzzle velocity race, the caliber race, the... the many, countless races racing each other down the tracks -- yet flawlessly functioning, still. He does what he does, and while you may think you no longer need done what he does it's still a fact that nothing doing the things you now think you need done does them as well, effectually and efficiently well, as that old boat does his. But then Scorsese! The man has tried acting before, and for short lengths carefully propped by the very narrow walls he does okay, even interestingly okay. Here, however, Scorsese is for the first (and as far as I know, only) time an actor. He acts, truly, no crutches. A miracle indeed, Saint Redford made a cripple walk the spotlight! You know how few miracles are around ?iii This is a first rate one among such few as there are.
There's no women in this film at all (not even a spurious pretense bolted-on with spitglue, like in say City Hall), it being entirely and throughout a story of men (and of how and wherefore they make their own "women"iv, out of their own number). Somehow in this case the circumstance doesn't detract.
- 1994, by Robert Redford, with Ralph Fiennes, Paul Scofield, John Turturro, Martin Scorsese, Illeana Douglas (cameo). [↩]
- I can't believe there's no review of A Man For All Seasons on Trilema! [↩]
- There's an article somewhere around here bearing the observation that any decent director can make a decent actress out of any starlet by simply keeping her on a tight leash, filming her bit by bit and cropping very closely. Sadly I can't find it, and so I can't linking. A woe. [↩]
- What, you didn't see the son-father scene for what it was ? Why, because you imagine there's a difference between "liar" and "faggot" ? Really ?! [↩]