I realise I’ve not yet reviewed any of young Christopher’s fillums here.
Am I ashamed and embarrassed, a little, yes. Somewhat.
A lifetime’s worth of anglophilia means I usually prefer my actors with solid and lustrous theatre credentials that include Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Stoppard, Pinter, Williams, Beckett and the like, and even my favourite Oz actors can manage that (saw Toby Schmitz from Black Sails doing both Stoppard and Shakespeare, David Wenham from Iron Fist doing Ibsen, Hugo Weaving doing Beckett, and even Damon Herriman from Justified doing Mamet).
So yes, I am, I must now admit it, a dreadful snob.
Compound that with his early roles as Disney princess/non-threatening boyfriend, and, well, did I mention that I’m a dreadful snob? Not that I haven’t seen Princess Diaries 2, but I was on a plane, for days, and it had Julie Andrews in it.
But the boy isn’t just a pretty face, and he seems to have a solid work ethic – certainly I’ve yet to see him phone in a performance of rely on a bag of shticky tricks (hello Benedict), and I usually like his choices. Sometimes they can seem a bit mechanical and precise, like count three beats, turn and smile, but maybe that’s because I’ve seen them so often (thank you Foxtel and the Pine Nut in programing). And he’s diverse enough to pop up all over the genre cable movie channels, so that’s something (I’m not keen on niche actors, I like my boys versatile).
Countless regrettable YouTube videos demonstrate the lad is not afraid of making a complete and utter tit of himself on camera, which shows a bracing lack of preciousness for a Hollywood boy, and I’m not just talking about the interviews, either, which seem to fall into Chris Pine is so bored he’s losing the will to live, Chris Pine is a lunatic and needs to rest now or Chris Pine is quite possibly very drunk/hungover (I blame PR for those, never schedule promo interviews the morning after the night before).
So, Z for Zachariah, which I tend to think of as the radiation film so soundly mocked in Mamet’s Speed the Plow. Well, it is, rather. Rather a lot. It’s a quiet film, lovely to look at (and I’m talking the NZ scenery here, not Mr Pine, though this is pretty much peak Pine, right here), suitably bleak and mumbly, existential without ever delving deep, and pivoting upon, not so much the end of the world, as more of a jealous Othello vibe (and I saw Chiwetel as Othello at the Donmar, years ago). Apparently, there will be no threesomes at the end of everything (don’t tell my school chums that, see previous post).
It was kind of Beckett-y, and I think I was supposed to be getting some Eden references , but I’m a bloody heathen, so nope. And it was a bit kitchen-sinky for a post-apocalypse film - surprisingly lacking in zombies and car chases. Like I said, Beckett-y.
CP is darn pretty, and that’s actually a plot point, as it makes him an immediate threat to the not-at-all cosy domestic arrangements he’d stumbled into. He’s a bit shady, and may have done some pretty dark deeds to survive, or maybe not, he’s certainly not as overtly violent as CE, and there’s a real sweetness to his ever so brief and budding relationship with Margot’s character. They actually talk, unlike CE, who, like all scientists (trust me, I work with enough of them) who just bosses and bullies.
And the not very ambiguous last scene of his, when Caleb knows he’s in danger, shall we say, it’s a heartbreaker, every time. The look on his little face. Poor possum.
So that’s that. The radiation film, where three’s a crowd.
The Finest Hours
is a Disney flick, so you’ll never hear anything stronger than ‘damn’, which is hilarious, with all the merchant navy men and coast guard crew all thinking they’re going to die. But no swearing. Keeping it tidy in the face of almost certain death, now that really is the finest hour (cue Sandra Dee
here, as it’s set in the 50s anyhow).
Oh, but CP is so adorably dorky in this. I was in love with Bernie before he even got out of the car. There’s such a lot of bashful stammering, a real Jimmy Stewart-like performance. And that’s not a bad thing.
The flick also features firm favourites Holliday Grainger, Aussies Eric Bana and Keiynan Lonsdale, Ben Foster, and Graham McTavish, so that’s kinda neat.
So it’s your basic Thunderbirds plot, sinking tanker in the middle of a massive storm, and our heroes have to get out on the world’s tiniest boat, through some rough CGI seas that remind me of catching the Manly ferry through the heads in inclement weather, and try and rescue three times the number of people that will actually fir on their tiny little boat (I spot a flaw in their plan here, but I guess that’s where the heroics come in). They actually cite the maximum number of passengers at this point, to my great amusement, but sweet little rule abiding Bernie, having just about drowned in CGI seas, is 100% done with rules and regulations and backchat and snipping and sniping and all those sharp comments about the last attempted rescue that failed, and, after the hissy fit that has clearly been a very long time coming, he disobeys a direct order and steers his tiny, overloaded little boat back to shore, which, for dramatic purposes, has been blacked out by the storm.
It’s a pity the storm effects are a bit wooby (the script was writing cheques the digital department couldn’t cash) as I’ve seen some storms like that out here, you know, the one last year that started to sail someone’s pool off to New Zealand, or the one maybe ten years back where the tanker, an actual tanker, ended up on a Newcastle beach
. So I don’t doubt the storm, just the Turner-esque soft-focus CGI rendering of it. I mean it’s cute that the art department were clearly referencing Turner’s Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth
, but maybe a little more realism wouldn’t have gone astray in providing some real peril.
That said, I do like this film, I like that it’s based on a real story (don’t know why, just do, usually I like my fiction fictional) and I like CP in this, and his ‘be one with the waves’ moments. He’s sweet, and f-knows, I could do with some sweet in my life.
He's sweet in Hell or High Water, too, even though he's running around robbing banks. Did you know you can only rob banks during business hours - out of business hours it's just plain burglary? Of all the trivia I've picked up from QI, that has to be the most useless, but hey, I'm using it now.
So you know the drill by now, also starring Ben Foster and a scene-stealing Jeff Bridges. It's by the same dude who did Young Adam (yes, which I saw because of Ewan) and I liked it enough I guess to recognise the guy's work without having to resort to IMDB.
And it's a perfect western. Absolutely perfect. Now you know I've a bit of a thing for westerns, they're just a genre I grew up with, and I love a neo-western (hello Justified, Supernatural, and hell, even Game of Thrones and Peaky Blinders count these days). And let me tell you, this was perfection. Not a shot, not a moment, not a note out of place (I have the soundtrack on vinyl).
And Chris, it's too damn bad nobody decided to give Chris a nod because it's a great piece of low-down tightly wound thousand yard stare acting. I guess it just wasn't showy enough but Chris has never been a showboating actor, he's always whatever the role needs, no less and no more. Like I said, precise in his choices. He just lives Toby Howard
the entire time he's on screen and he doesn't have to scream and howl his pain, it's there in every downcast look, every flinch, every silence.
Toby is the heart and soul of the film, he's the one who sets it in motion, and he's pretty much the one who ends it, too, with that magnificent showdown, or rather stare down, and ooh, just the way he leans there with the rifle resting against his thigh, I could watch that all day, no lie.
He's a broken man, but there's steel there, too, and he just doesn't give up. He might not show his scars so easily, but you can tell he's had it just as hard as his brother. It it shows, just in the way he stands, all hunched shoulders and tight. It's a really finely calibrated performance. Another lost boy (see also T2, previous post).
The film is great too, the story I mean, all the comments on how the west was won, and lost, land rights, poverty, the insane lack of law and order (the bank customers being more heavily armed than the bandits) and the dark humour. It was very much of the same cloth as Justified, and I have no problem with that. Not one little bit.
And Chris, if ever there was a man who could rock a saggy porn 'tache and look like he hadn't bathed in a week and still make me want to jump his bones in the worst way, well, I never thought it'd be Chris, but there you are. Who knew my clean-cut honey could be all gritty and sweaty and oh, yeah.
And it's a damn shame he didn't get more kudos and encouragement for doing this. And I'm sorry I don't give the boy the respect he deserves, especially when some of my lauded Brit boys have become caricatures of themselves (hello, Benedict), or making regrettable life choices (hello, Tom). Lately Benedict seems to have gone the full Widow Twankey pantomime, twirling about in his roles, the subtle shades of performances like the one in Stuart a long distant memory, not to mention both he and Eddie playing wizards decades before I ever expected it of them. Oh dear.
So, yeah, giving Chris some love, and there are worse things than being a Disney princess (or crushing on one). And I haven't even mentioned the space movies yet, but taking such a beyond well known role and making it his own, well, that's stylish, that is.
So there are a few Chris Pine films that aren't too shabby. (Notice I didn't mention Bottle Shock. I hope someone burnt that hideous fright wig but I suspect one didn't have to get too close to an open flame for that to happen). He does a half decent spy, too. I'd love to see him as Felix, James Bond's BFF, but I guess I never will (but stranger things can happen, never expected to see Hiddleston, after Shakespeare and Chekhov, in a giant monkey movie).
And I'm looking forward to seeing him in Wonder Woman
(with Spud!), even though I suspect dearest Steve is going to get fridged so bad
. And I'm also curious to see how he manages the quatum leaping deadbeat dad in a Wrinkle in Time
, too. That was one of my books as a kid, as was Wonder Woman, so, you know, it's important. (Between those roles and Star Trek
he's pretty much hit all my childhood fancies, so it was kind of inevitable that Chris Pine would cross my line of sight, sooner or later).
Sorry, but I don't have much else going on right now, which is probably a good thing...