Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Best Supporting Actor 1998: Billy Bob Thornton - A Simple Plan

A Simple Plan is very enjoyable film. That's a fact. And it's also not very well directed. That's another fact. I mean, Raimi is not a bad director, but he certainly isn't the most skilled one the present time. And he really isn't very suitable for this genre. The film tells a story of three men, who find the bag full of money in the middle of the crashed plane, that's in the middle of a forest. And they decide to keep it. If you were to choose the director for such story, whose is the first name that comes to your mind? I don't know, but to my mind it's the Coen brothers.
But that's another story and I should write about Billy Bob Thornton's Oscar-nominated performance. He plays Jacob, one of the three men. This is actually a very juicy role to play, especially in terms of getting the Academy's attention, because Jacob is slightly mentally disabled. He's not retarded, he's just very simple. In a very similar way Forrest Gump was simple.
And now put such character into the situation described at the beginning. The situation the entire plot is about. It might not be good idea to have a mentally disabled person involved in taking someone else's money. So it is quite obvious that Jacob will behave unpredictably. And that is very dangerous and suspensive.
If you had to play a character that behaves unpredictably, because of a mental illness, you really need to get into the character. You really need to feel it and actually be the character. Because if you do not, the unpredictable things you do might seem unnatural, as if they were there just because it is written so in the script. I was a bit surprised myself, but Thornton really succeeded in all of it. Jacob interacts insensibly, but somehow it seems completely natural.
What I really enjoyed about this performance was the absent-minded look in his eyes. We really don't know what Jacob is thinking about, unless he says something. Thornton achieves this so greatly, that it seems as if he did it with no effort, at all.
Under all of these things, Jacob has his feelings and dreams. There is also a depth in Thornton's portrayal. When sometimes he is supposed to show off the sadness, he does it. And it's not only believable, but also not boring to watch. This is actually that case of performance I would call a scene-stealer. But he isn't that kind of scene stealer that wants to have the viewer's attention just to himself. He is simply so great, that he steals the viewer's attention. He is the best in show. Jacob in his hands is extremely likable. There's just no way you won't like him...
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think he was the third. After Duvall and the actual winner, Coburn...

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you like him.

    Love his performance especially since it is an example of an actor playing a simple man without making it an extremely theatrical performance.