Author Topic: Actors' restraint  (Read 3021 times)

Offline Aussie Chris

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Re: Actors' restraint
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2006, 06:21:27 pm »
Agreed!  Jack seems very much more expressive than Ennis, but think of all the things Jack never says - he walks away from Ennis just as Ennis walks away from him, with a look back, and hope for the future, but nevertheless, he also walks away with hardly a word.  Heath can't be brilliant without Jake, and vice versa!

So true Celeste.  I've felt quite challenged by the concept of "it's all Heath" in the acting department.  Back a few months ago in an interview with Annie Proolx she said words to the effect that Heath got into the character of Ennis far better than she had imagined, but Jake was about 50% of the Jack she was thinking of.  This wounded me a little because I interpreted this as a sign of disrespect.  But a few weeks later I heard this again is another context and it sounded more like Jack in the book was much less than what Jake gives us, and that Jake's performance was more mature and credible (not just the puppy-dog that he could have been).

One thing though, I find myself swinging between "all Ennis" and "all Jake" in my admiration of these performances.  The two best "conversations" I can think of that use no words are when Jack and Ennis come off the mountain the first time and talk about coming back next year (Jack's pleading eyes), and Jack's mom at the end of the film (understanding).  With Jack I like the early moments of the confrontation scene when Ennis first says he won't be back until November.  Check Ennis biting a finger nail and his "that ok?" look from under the brim of his hat, and then Jack's accusing eyes as he processes this in disbelief.

Astounding stuff - it just could not work as well without all of the elements - the whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts.
Nothing is as common as the wish to be remarkable - William Shakespeare

Offline RouxB

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Re: Actors' restraint
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2006, 08:49:46 pm »
I also believe that the restraint goes a long way in creating the mood of ambiguity that permeates this movie. The ambiguity allows the viewer to interpret scenes within the context of his or her own life which in turn drives the intense emotional reaction that many of us experience.

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Offline YaadPyar

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Re: Actors' restraint
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2006, 09:50:42 pm »
So true RouxB, about the restraint contributing to the ambiguity.

And Chris - the pleading eyes of Jack slay me every time.  There is no imgage in the film that hits me strong than Jack's raised eyebrow in his hopeful inquiry of another summer on BBM.

The perfection of the casting fails only in the character of Bobby Twist, who is universally considered to be nothing but a distraction in the Twist Thanksgiving scene (yup - universally...I got the stats to provie it!).

The harmony between Jake & Heath is stunning every time I watch.  A more expressive Jack would have thrown the entire relationship out of any balance that Ennnis could have maintained.  He could live with disappointing Jack - he couldn't have lived with having to make a choice.
"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully." (Harold & Maude - 1971)

Offline Phillip Dampier

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Re: Actors' restraint
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2006, 07:33:53 pm »
bump
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Actors' restraint
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2008, 12:44:17 am »
Heya!

Just bumping this for now because I just discovered this cool old topic and want to come back to it later!  How did I miss this one the first time around?


8)

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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Actors' restraint
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2008, 12:45:48 pm »
It seems to me that the concept of restraint in the acting performances in BBM reflects not only the general character of the society in which the story is set... but it's an essential factor in the dynamics between Jack and Ennis that allows the relationship to move forward.

If too many truths were uttered and aspects of their relationship were thoroughly discussed or surfaced to the fullest... it seems clear that Ennis especially would be completely spooked.

Taking an example from early in the film (rather than the lake argument)... the "I'm not queer" discussion seems to be entirely about having the mose spare and restrained conversation possible about the huge thing that's just happened between Jack and Ennis.  There are a million things that could be talked about between them here... they could confide in each other on an honest level about how they're feeling about their sexuality... they could even confide in each other simply about the level of confusion that must exist for each one on the question of sexuality at that point.  Instead, they cover almost everything over with a lot of silence and one enigmatic agreement about the "one shot deal" (does anyone really understand what that means... even Ennis?)  and another enigmatic/ fib-like agreement about "I'm not queer."  But, this exchange seems to lessen the tension between the two.  They seem content to just be close to one another here.  I feel like when Jack taps his toes together (very, very subtly) it's almost like a signal that some level of tension has been let go (at least for now).  And, I think the fact that TS2 follows from this... and that TS2 (which is clearly one of the most overtly intimate scenes) occurs in nearly complete silence (aside from Jack's whispered "s'alright" and the controversial "I'm sorry") between the two is critical for this interaction to be possible between Jack and Ennis.  Again, I think if too much openness or discussion happened here... Ennis in particular would be spooked and scared off.

Throughout the relationship Jack seems to measure his words and what he reveals to Ennis very carefully.  I think Jack's restraint is very much forced and deliberate.  Perhaps he learned a lesson of sorts during the "prayer of thanks" camping trip... where he learned how painful expressing too much could become.  Asking Ennis to move in with him and start the cow and calf operation (all in sort of a nervous rush... the way he actually makes this proposal verbally) was a big risk and a moment where he's exposing more of his desires and thoughts on the relationship and their future than in many other instances.  The rejection of this offer and the spare terms for the relationship spelled out by Ennis may almost feel like a punitive reminder of the risks associated with saying, suggesting or offering too much.



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