Monday, April 09, 2007


Leonardo DiCaprio.

I think he was rather good in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. He makes a lot of sense in Romeo + Juliet...

I... I'm struggling now. What else has he been good in?

This boy is one of those burning-eyed method monsters. His acting is pretty much the performance equivalent of a Martin Scorsese camera move. That is: you certainly notice it - how can you escape it? - but you're not sure that it was really so connected to any recognisable human psychology. Maybe in an overblown, pantomime fashion.

So, it makes sense to me that DiCaprio lines up for Spielberg, Mendes, Scorsese... and sadly, it makes sense that Ridley Scott wants to work with him too.

Scott's an odd one. He's clearly a hugely talented filmmaker, massively inventive and posessed of a visionary eye. He's a dedicated and talented craftsman, and is able to turn his hand to films in a wide variety of styles and genres. Sometimes, though... a little creeping corner peels upwards. Sometimes he oversteps a mark and a dislocating effect, a distancing conceit, gets pushed to the fore - the sequence at the edge of the drained swimming pool in A Good Year being a recent disappointment. His films are so good that it really matters when he fumbles the ball. And they're always very serious - for better and for worse.

I think DiCaprio's style (he's sometimes at eleven, sometimes only at two or one, so rarely dialled to five, or six) fits with Scott's taste in actors. Not a taste I share, to be honest. I tend to find that real people in real life operate around three to eight most of the time (or, at least, that's how I've calibrated the dial, specifically to illustrate the extremities of a DiCaprio turn). And I think that seeing real people - albeit in unlikely circumstances - is one of the key pleasures of narrative cinema (including animation).

Scott and DiCaprio will be collaborating on Body of Lies, to be adapted by William Monahan from a David Ignatius novel. Monahan's previous collaboration with Scott was Kingdom of Heaven, and he has also penned the pending Tripoli. They'll make a nice set.

The story in Lies revolves around a CIA team up with Jordan intelligence in an attempt to stop Al Qaeda attacks on America. The CIA 'hero' will be DiCaprio, and his character is revealed to have once been a journalist. Was this some kind fo wish fulfillment for Ignatius, maybe? I wonder just how unpredictable these titular lies will be?

Scott's next, American Gangster, should be one of the better films of the fourth quarter this year. Fingers crossed.

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