Vintage Walter White.
KEN BRANAGH 2011
Third star, James Kimberly Griffith 🌚💙
We often find Salvador Mallo slumped over, dozing off. This is an exhausted performance, a physically heavy performance. Banderas plays him not exactly stiff, but as if he is constantly in pain, that every single exertion, physical or mental, requires recuperation. That he can suggest this near constant discomfort but also simultaneously charm, warmth, and curiosity is a marvel. A stunning reversal of artist and subject, Banderas’s love for Almodóvar shines through at all times.
Burke’s Anthony is alarmingly confident in his convictions. Annoyingly so, but that’s why Julie likes him. He’s so certain when she’s often questioning her perception or her ideas, even when she’s passionate about them. But Burke shades in uncertainty and fragility under that mask, as well as genuine, palpable admiration, allowing it to creep out from the hard exterior here and there. An often tender performance that isn’t afraid to leave the edges rough.
Tackles dense, cumbersome dialogue with Shakespearean fervor and truly remarkable ease. It’d be easy to get lost in these words, in this world, but instead Dafoe coaxes humor, gravitas, even insecurity and desire out of the text, performing an acrobatic high wire act balancing the inane and the sincere.
Like an intense, roll-play therapy session, LaBeouf seamlessly slips into a no-holds barred, full on embodiment of his physically and emotionally abusive father, confronting his trauma with unfathomable bravery and a deep well of empathy. It’s LaBeouf’s fullest, funniest, most heartbreaking creation to date.
Sandler leans full force into his most tried and true tricks in his toolkit and breathes new life into them, finding new vulnerability in his unabashed maximalism, relentless in his commitment to the spirit of Howard and almost co-authorial in the film’s vision.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Robert DeNiro, The Irishman / Robert Pattinson, High Life and The Lighthouse / Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Waves / Noah Jupe, Honey Boy / Fran Rogowski, Transit / Daniel Kaluuya, Queen & Slim / Adam Driver, Marriage Story / Eddie Murphy, Dolemite is My Name / Brad Pitt, Ad Astra