Top 10 Performances of 2013: #3

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3. Michael Fassbender: 12 Years A Slave


A textbook performance. Best Supporting Actor was the only Oscar outcome I really had an issue with. Leto did fine work in Dallas Buyers Club, but I thought Fassbender was miles ahead of him. From the first moment he’s onscreen in that profile close shot the tension onscreen increases exponentially. From a narrative standpoint, supporting characters are meant to introduce a variable to the main storyline that wasn’t present prior to their entrance. Nobody did that more effectively or more importantly than Fassbender did. In the hands of a lessor actor, this role could have been something of a “mustache twirler,” but Fassbender absolutely nails the complexity of this character, a professional dehumanizer who clearly hates himself and attempts to hide behind religion and booze. His every move is threatening, unpredictable, but Fassbender’s brilliance here is in how he doesn’t ever fully boil over, even in the enthralling “whipping sequence.” I really feel that with all the praise heaped at this film, Fassbender’s performance was somehow overlooked and subsequently under-praised. McQueen himself appears to feel the same way, highlighting his performance specifically in so many of his award acceptance speeches. Actors and filmmakers will be studying this performance for a long time to come.

‘Sherlock,’ ‘Luther,’ ‘True Detective’ & The Golden Age of Television Crime Drama

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Surely we are in the midst of a Golden Age of the episodic crime drama. Between Sherlock, True Detective, Luther, Broadchurch, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Top of the Lake, and a plethora of enormously successful CBS procedurals that I admit I have never seen but people seem to enjoy (NCIS, Elementary, post-Petersen CSI). I have seen Criminal Minds several times (its a favorite of my parents) and have usually enjoyed it, but for a variety of reasons, traditional procedurals favored by the likes of CBS in particular and networks in general don’t really fit into my main argument, which I’ll present herein.  Continue reading