Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Similar Standards: James McAvoy

Welcome to a new semi-regular weekly feature here at Movies with Abe. On those weeks where reviews are sparse, I’ll be taking a look at an actor or actress whose body of work boasts many roles that may not be as diverse as those taken on by other actors or actresses. This is hardly a judgment on their abilities; rather an analysis of the kind of parts they play so well.

This actor in particular does tend to take the leap and take on challenging roles, and it just so happens that he always plays the nice guy thrust into a challenging situation with others who aren’t willing to play nearly as nicely as him. He’s usually the victim of someone else’s malicious decision or act, and rarely loses his purity by the end of the film, even if he’s corrupted slightly by a woman. He has yet to be nominated for an Oscar, coming close twice, and I have a feeling he’ll earn that honor soon. Here’s a quick look at the familiar characters he tends to play, from oldest to newest.

The Last King of Scotland (2006): A kindly doctor taken as the private physician for dictator Idi Amin.

Starter for 10 (2007): An excitable university student caught between two women as he competes in a trivia challenge.

Becoming Jane (2007): A dashing, subtle romancer of Jane Austen.

Atonement (2007): A soldier sentenced to a life alone thanks to a misunderstood act of affection.

Wanted (2008): An office drone awakened to a new life of danger and violence, unaware of the ride on which he’s about to embark.

The Last Station (2009): A befuddled confidante for Tolstoy caught between him and his paranoid wife.

The Conspirator (2011): A do-gooder lawyer trying to find a way to defend a woman accused of aiding in Lincoln’s murder.

X-Men: First Class (2011): A young Professor Charles Xavier, certain of the good that mutants can do in the world, and yearning to prove that he can help anyone find their way.

Anything different?

They’re all great performances, but even “Wanted” portrays him as a nice guy doing his best to help people, even while he’s killing them.

What’s next?

His three upcoming projects, “Welcome to the Punch,” “Trance,” and “Filth,” could well be boundary-breakers for the actor.

The verdict?

He’s a strong, charming actor, and just because he might be a first thought to play a given role doesn’t mean he’s not the perfect choice. He tends to shine in his more dramatic roles, though his performance in “Wanted” was commendably awesome, and he needs to continue to get great parts.

1 comment:

BlueSword5 said...

Yay! I love this actor and this review is lovely. Oh if you've never watched Penelope, he does a very good job in that movie too... playing pretty much the same lovable role as usual. Still, he does an amazing job and it's a charming movie!