Monday, 12 October 2015

Best Leading Actor 1994: John Travolta - Pulp Fiction

I don't know if it's need to talk about Pulp Fiction. It's a fucking great motion picture, the one that belongs to the best of the best. Tarantino's a genius and it's visible in this film.
John Travolta's character Vincent is a type of character we had seen plenty of times before and after. It's worry-free man, who's doing his duties, but is bored enough from his job and probably is able to imagine something a lot more interesting to do right now. It is portrayed before the introductory scene of killing, as well as at the bar with Marcellus' wife Mia. Travolta is actually very good at showing this off. Not only with his facial expressions, but even with his body movements. The way he's walking across the bar proves it the best. Tarantino took this type and made it shine with the fact that the bored man is in fact a criminal. That makes it more absurd and gives an amount of black humour to it.
Travolta, as probably an actor who has the most screentime in Pulp Fiction, must me able to have a good chemistry with his colleagues. He succeeded very well. There is something great about Tarantino that he is able to make actors work wonderfully together, even if their performance might have not been that great. I'm not saying Travolta isn't great in his role. Travolta shares the screen mostly with either Jackson, or Thurman. With both of them, he was able to create excellent couples. With Jackson, he certainly is the subtler one, but it doesn't mean he would be overshadowed by him. They are both very valuable players.
There is an interesting thing I noticed about his performance. The moments he plays when Vincent is under drugs, his performance gets subtle. Even subtler than the rest of the performance. And strangely enough, I didn't mind. It worked in this case.
Travolta showed us a perfect sense for comedy with this performance. For example the legendary dance scene with Uma Thurman. The way he dances, or look at Thurman is hilarious. I also loved his performance, when he is saving Mia Wallace. The anger and despair is portrayed with a perfect comic timing.
This character itself is not very showy, actually. Travolta's portrayal is subtle, but he isn't overshadowed by any of his co-stars (maybe a bit by Uma Thurman, but that's because the sequence is written that way). He doesn't have that many scenes, in which he could show off, but when he does, he uses everything of them. It happens, when Vincent is forced to solve some huge problem. Travolta is really enjoying these scenes and it's pretty obvious.
It is not a flawless performance. Sometimes I wouldn't mind Travolta acting a bit more obvious. Maybe going over the top a bit. But even this subtle portrayal is doing justice to its film and works just perfectly for it.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think he was the third, right behind Newman.