Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vanessa Redgrave in Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment

Vanessa Redgrave received her first Oscar nomination for playing Leonie Delt in Morgan. Wow, I have absolutely no idea how much chance Redgrave had of winning the Oscar. I think she was the fourth eventually as I think Elizabeth Taylor ruled the competition with Lynn Redgrave and Anouk Aimée as runners-up for the prize. That being said, after 1966 (the) Redgrave(s) became world-famous and gave us many great performances.

Morgan is such a weird movie and I have so many ambivalent feelings about it. Sometimes it's simply intolerable to watch and so weird, that it's really unnecessary. However, there were times when I enjoyed it to a degree and that's mostly due to the fact that I am a huge Carry On! fan and was extremely pleased to see Bernard Bresslaw, who actually gave the most entertaining performance. Karel Reisz is an interesting and great director, but this was quite a mixed bag. I am really fond of free cinema, but this movie was not my cup of tea.

Vanessa Redgrave is an extremely strange case here. She's quite probably the most original and uniquely brilliant actress of the silver screen (along with Tilda Swinton probably) and I really mean this. She has such a beautiful presence and face, it has such a radiant quality in it. It's not a co-incidence that Katharine Hepburn really admired her. If you see Vanessa Redgrave, you just CANNOT take your eyes off her. Even with the smallest, most minimal role she's able to create something memorable (see Atonement as a proof).

However, in this movie she's really not my cup of tea. Actually, she has that previously mentioned radiant quality, but her role as Leonie is just rotten. That's it, it's such a stupid material that she just cannot be very impressive. In addition, the movie mostly concentrates on the character of Morgan and Leonie is co-lead at best. The screentimes is working against Vanessa and unfortunately, she just can't do very much about it. When she's not there, she's not there and I have a feeling that something is missing. It's too bad.

The character of Leonie is so hard to understand as she really doesn't make any sense. I just did not know where to put her, I wasn't even sure if I should take her seriously. Plus I never really found out if she still had some feelings for Morgan. It's so confusing overall and no matter how much I tried, I really did not understand her. I wanted to know so much about her, but there wasn't anything. I think the writer must have thought, Morgan is the main character, why the hell should I write a whole story for Leonie? And that's it. Redgrave is just not able to build a palace with crap. That's it.

Miraculously, after a while, I was captivated simply by the beauty and immense presence of Vanessa Redgrave. I just fell in love with her after a while. I fell in love with Vanessa and not Leonie. I just felt that, yes, I waited for this, this is that very anticipated feeling. Slowly, but firmly, Vanessa just impressed me with her talent. Unfortunately, that feeling was not constant as she almost disappears in the end, it just got lost somewhere. It was a great feeling though when it lasted.

After all, I just feel that I don't have much to say about Vanessa Redgrave in this movie. She's great as usual (and that's going to be rewarded), but the movie is working against her as if she was on a boat during a hurricane. It is worth watching however to see Vanessa's immense beauty and enormous talent. The rating seems to be higher than expected, but actually the effort is a 5.
More of a 3.7, but I give it a 4 after all.

What do you think? It's time to give your last predictions!


Louis Morgan said...

Sounds like a very weak film.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's a hard performance to rate.