Friday, 8 August 2008

Morgan Freeman is a HACK

I couldn’t be more bored of Morgan Freeman if I tried. The man has made a career off the back of one magnificent film in the mid 1990s, but what has he done since? Every appearance, whether it’s in a genuinely brilliant film like Million Dollar Baby, or utter dross like Evan Almighty, is exactly the same - wise, authoritative of voice, knowing, patriarchal. It doesn’t matter if the script calls for a different interpretation of the part, because he’ll deliver it in exactly the same manner every single time. It's patently obvious that he's a competent actor, it's just his refusal to deviate from the mind-numbingly safe performance he always delivers that I find irksome. This isn't a problem for actors like Sean Connery and Michael Caine who have that inherent charisma and congeniality that the post-Shawshank Freeman just doesn’t possess. Don’t agree with me? Think, for a moment, of the finest performances in Freeman’s best films since The Shawshank Redemption was released in 1994 - Million Dollar Baby (Hilary Swank), Gone Baby Gone (Casey Affleck), Se7en (Kevin Spacey), Batman Begins (Christian Bale), The Dark Knight (Heath Ledger) – not one of them is by Freeman. These films are great films in spite of Freeman, not because of him. Furthermore he has obviously has no barometer for the quality of the projects he takes on (by this I mean he’ll do anything if the money is right). For every Batman Begins there’s a Wanted, and for every Million Dollar Baby there’s a Sum of all Fears.

There are numerous other actors that could play the same roles he does, and deliver far more nuanced, interesting performances. So next time you exit the cinema and some slack-jawed moron turns to you and exclaims, “Morgan Freeman is such a legend,” please query it, because he clearly is not. He's a man who not only chooses to rest on his laurels, he’s set up camp there, fallen asleep and refuses to waken.


JAMES MORGAN

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