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Undersung contributions to films of 2014

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  • Eddy Q
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    #171204

    I hardly ever start threads, but I’ve been thinking over the last few days about how some individual elements/contributions to films this year have not had the recognition they deserve, even from movies that have been acclaimed overall. Do any of you have a favourite performance, screenplay or technical achievement such as cinematography or editing which has barely received any mentions in reviews or awards nominations (critics or otherwise), but to you seems a no-brainer?

    Here are some of mine:

    Gary Yershon’s score for Mr Turner: it’s had the odd shout-out in reviews, but to my knowledge Yershon’s beautiful modernist chamber score hasn’t received a single nomination anywhere (and nor did his excellent work for Happy-Go-Lucky in 2008 – someone correct me if I’m wrong). As a violinist capable of playing this type of music I think I can say with at least some authority that this is one of the finest film scores of the 21st century so far. It’s harmonic language and style is a whole century after the period the film is set, but it characterises Turner’s forward-thinking, radical spirit. And there’s something wonderfully eerie about those wailing saxophones set to brilliantly shot landscapes. The livelier, even slightly jazzy string writing when Turner spits onto the canvas is also very effective. 

    The cast of Leviathan. The screenplay won at Cannes, and  lead actor Alexei Serebryakov received a European Film Award nomination (losing, fairly, to Timothy Spall) but none of the rest of the cast have gotten much notice individually. Most of the reviews have focused on Zvyagintsev’s masterful direction and Mikhail Krichman’s expansive, yet also oppressive cinematography;  this is the right priority, but still the performances are as meaty as those in a Elia Kazan film. Roman Madyanov’s bloated mayor is chilling – you really do get the impression of man so steeped in corruption that he doesn’t even bother to act subtle about it anymore. He’s my personal Best Supporting Actor this year (at least until I see Whiplash – lol). Elena Lyadova is heartwrenching even while playing a character who’s motivations are deliberately left vague. And Serebryakov’s Job figure at the centre of the action has huge tragic weight; he’s not an entirely sympathetic character, but the feeling of frustration and bitter defeat in this performance is devastating, and never ham-fisted.

    Talking of performances in foreign language films, Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sözen and Demet Akbag work wonders with the difficult dialogue of Winter Sleep, and Fabrizio Rongeone is utterly convincing opposite Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night; in lesser hands his character could have seemed too earnest to be credible, but you don’t doubt his unfailing love and support for his wife for an instant. A supporting role in every sense of the word.

    I remember how the sound of Ida had particularly memorable use of ambient noise, but I must watch the film again to really examine how this enhances the film. All the praise lavished on its cinematography and lead actresses is completely deserved.

    And finally, the visual effects of Under the Skin. They’re essential to the story and yet you barely notice them as effects, more as simply great, haunting images. I don’t want to describe them too much as it would spoil the film for those who haven’t seen it. (Mica Levi’s score is amazing too, but fortunately it’s been recognised by LAFCA and Euro Film Awards, so it’s hardly underrated.)

    I think I’ve got a bit carried away, and sorry if there’s already a similar thread or if you guys find this unnecessary, but I find it interesting to explore how even when we share common likes or dislikes of movies, we might still respond very differently to individual aspects of them.

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    FilmGuy619
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    #171206

    I would say that one performance, and this one I’ll continue to sing my praises for, that got sadly overlooked is Ben Mendelsohn’s portrayal of an imprisoned father in Starred Up. Very multi-dimensional performance as a man who appears as a tough mentor/straight man, yet beneath all that, we see that he is really just a concerned father trying to help his son. Even though he is never afraid to use his iron fist, you would still want to have his shoulder to cry on. The more I think about this performance, the more I love it.



     

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    benbraddock
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    Nov 4th, 2013
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    #171207

    Everyone is so high on EMMANUEL LUBEZKI’S
    amazing “one shot” in Birdman but I cant imagine
    DICK POPE losing the oscar for Mr. Turner..it is so
    maginificent that i fear he might be passed over for
    back to back lubezki’s  lets hope not…..

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    Beyonce
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    Jun 29th, 2013
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    #171208
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    Denis
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    #171209

    Agreed, she was stunning in “Belle”. But isn’t it a 2013 release?

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    Macbeth
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    #171210

    Tilda Swinton, plain and simple. If you need to know the very definition of range, look at this year: she played a leading role (Only Lovers Left Alive), a supporting role (Snowpiercer) and a memorable cameo (The Grand Budapest Hotel). Yet, she still struggles for a second Oscar nomination 

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    JRMeehl
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    #171211

    The cast of Coherence. Only six people. They were great.

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