Friday, October 02, 2009

A Steady Rain

photo: Joan Marcus

Where's the fun in a star performance that doesn't capitalize on the star's star qualities? That's what I wondered watching Hugh Jackman work his ass off during this one act in which he sits with legs wide apart and says "moherf@*ker" a lot to play a lower middle class Chicago beat cop. To borrow from Pauline Kael, it's like watching Julia Roberts not smiling. Jackman does a commendable job vocally - there's no trace of his Australian accent - and you see all the work he's done on his physicality. But that's just it - you're watching sweat. In the chair beside him all evening is Daniel Craig, whose disappearance into his more character-y character is so complete you'd barely recognize him even without the mustache. You forget almost immediately that he's the James Bond of our day, but you don't forget for an instant that Hugh Jackman is Hugh Jackman. This isn't to say that Craig is a better actor than Jackman, but instead that Craig isn't yet limited by stardom the way that Jackman is.

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