Sunday, 17 November 2013

Best Supporting Actor 1998: Robert Duvall - A Civil Action

Robert Duvall starts to be a strange surprise for me. I never liked him very much. I respected him as a fine and worshipped actor, but his acting has never blown me away. The only performance of his that I really liked was in Get Low. All of the other performances were just too subtle to be outstanding. But if you visit this blog regularly, you already know that I also liked his performance in The Godfather, which I fully appreciated after more viewings of that film. So what's happened?
I just can't see why is this happening to me, but lately I found his subtle acting somehow fascinating. Maybe I'm getting older, or something, but I liked him a lot in A Civil Action, although his performance in it is as subtle, as usually.
The same thing happened to me with the film itself. I used to find it very dull, but as I was watching it because of this review I thought it was very fine. Duvall plays a lawyer that is an opponent to the leading character played by John Travolta. His an old lawyer that has the most of his career behind himself. Therefore his character is very calm and doesn't make a big deal out of anything.
This is a case similar to Ed Harris's character in The Truman show. It was a subtle portrayal of a very calm and almost stoic character that is just very fascinating to watch. He really got into the character and is very very realistic and natural. There are some scenes that were supposed to be funny in A Civil Action and most of them come from Duvall's character. And he succeeded in this, as well.
All right, on the other hand he wasn't somehow showy, or magnicifent and as I said I wasn't blown away by it. But it's very very decent performance that seems to have no technical flaws. Only you won't remember it very often after watching it, because there nothing special or extraordinary about it. It's just so much great performance...
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think he was the second, or the third. I mean, he's won SAG Awards for it, he must have had some support among the voters...

1 comment:

  1. I quite like him here. As you basically said he does not get a lot of showy scenes, but I really liked the way he portrayed the character in the typically assured Duvall fashion.