Love. There are many times when when I love a movie it's because of the certain performances or characters that for some reason stayed with me. It's also true for bad and average films - sometimes they feature acting so good in even only few scenes, mostly because of one particular actor, that it redeems the whole movie. Whatever the quality of the film, good or bad, the performances of highest quality can be found everywhere. And many of such amazing roles are often times underrated and overlooked.
The first performance I love which I like to show cast is also my entry for ruth's genius blogathon - Small Roles, Big Performances. It's Laura Linney's work in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River where she stared as Sean Penn's character's wife - Annabeth Markum.
There are many great performances in the movie but it's Linney who I remember best - it's because for most of the movie her character is somewhat hidden. We see her being upset about the death of her stepdaughter, we see her supporting her husband Jimmy and we see her being strong and at times eerily calm. It's obvious family is most important to this woman but there is also something detached and calculating about her.
"Their daddy's a king. And a king knows what to do and *does* it. Even
when it's hard. And their daddy will do whatever he has to for those he
loves. And that's all that matters. Because everyone is weak, Jimmy.
Everyone but us. We will never be weak. And you, you could rule this
town. And after Jimmy, let's take the girls down to the parade. Katie
would like that."
It's very refreshing to see a character like that. Many times in movies when a wife or a girlfriend of a gangster fins out what he did she freaks out, yells, acts innocent. Here we have fierce and unmoved Annabeth and one can only wonder - would Jimmy be the way he is now without her? Would he commit crimes without his wife's encouragement? What if she is the one pulling the strings?
Mystic River is a drama and crime mystery but it also works as part of origin story - of a gangster who is rising in crime world and has support of his wife, who almost like Lady Macbeth whispers words of poison into his ear, making him more ambitious, encouraged and ruthless by convincing him the crimes he commits are the right thing to do.