Could there be a more blue collar, working class face than the one pinned on that fine actor, Eddie Marsan? You may recognize this Brit from the Showtime TV series, Ray Donovan. He plays the boxer stricken with Parkinson's disease on the series.
Eddie Marsan gives a beauty of a performance playing a man who's the opposite of his Happy-Go-Lucky character. If you're a fan of the 1959 British classic starring Alec Guinness, Last Holiday, I think you'll enjoy Marsan's new film. There's a light touch of the Last Holiday about it. STILL LIFE stars Eddie Marsan as a man who works to bring dignity to the deceased. A simple and gentle man, dedicated to his job, he's a case worker who contacts relatives of the recently deceased and requests their involvement in funeral services. The dead people died alone with no loved ones keeping in constant contact. He himself is like the dead. There is no loved one who keeps in touch with him. He lives alone. He eats alone.
The exact opposite of Still Life is AMERICAN SNIPER directed by Clint Eastwood. Bradley Cooper's performance brought him an Oscar nomination this month for Best Actor. The film is nominated for Best Picture.
Kyle is family man. Sienna Miller plays his wife. They met in a country bar. She was one tough customer, shooting down advances from guys who weren't sincere. Chris turns out to be an absolute gentleman. When she runs outside and pukes, he holds her hair while she does. It's true love.
I didn't find American Sniper as good as other films Eastwood directed -- films like the western, Unforgiven, his Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby and his World War 2 films, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. This is no to disrespect Chris Kyle's military service. But, as a feature with this particular screenplay and direction, American Sniper felt like a movie that would've starred Clint Eastwood in the 1970s, his Dirty Harry years, with Eastwood playing a Vietnam war vet.
We know Bradley Cooper can do comedy. The Hangover was a bawdy, big box office comedy hit. His dramatic work in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle earned him two Best Actor Oscar nominations. The young actor got good notices for his lead work in the Broadway revival of The Elephant Man. So good, in fact, that he and the cast take the show to London's West End in May. As for screen veteran Ralph Fiennes, his energetic screwball comedy turn in The Grand Budapest Hotel was a major revelation and a surprise after seeing him for years in deep-dish dramas like Schindler's List, The English Patient, Quiz Show, The Reader and The Constant Gardener.
At the very end of American Sniper, I wanted to blurt out "What the hell happened?!?! What motivated that crime?!?!?" That's all I'm going to tell you. The point is, this military script left me feeling like it needed a major rewrite. You know that there's truth in this movie from director Clint Eastwood. There just needed to be more truth to make the script feel complete. But that's just me. The Academy obviously loved the movie.