I wrote about Witness and Harrison Ford's great work in it not that long ago. The film is truly beautiful, seductive and ethereal. It is gorgeously shot by John Seale, who did last year's amazing cinematography for "Mad Max: Fury Road". Witness has so many gorgeous and striking shots, loaded with meaning - like the shot of Rachel's bonnet after she takes it off (symbolizing her choice that sadly gets a lot of its power taken away by the film's ending).
But there is one particular shot in the film that shows something I wanted to write about:
See, if it was any other Harrison Ford movie I would expect John to do something physical to save the girl - Indiana Jones would use his whip, Han Solo would use his blaster, Jack Ryan would use his impressive combat skills. And John, a cop, could use his fists too. But director Peter Weir does something that really allows Ford to show how talented he is - he lets him show who his character is inside. John uses his words instead of his fists, even though earlier in the movie his response to confrontation was always through violence. This time he uses reason, he tries to appeal to the the compassion of a man who may kill him and others. He raises his hands, he gets out and asks the man if he is willing to kill all the innocent people there to cover up his own sins.
Ford is so sincere and vulnerable in this scene those of you who only saw him in his iconic action films will be astonished he can act like that. I'm always surprised by that criticism, that he is one of those actors who are always the same and put in almost no effort - the charm, charisma and the ability to create a heroic character, one that is noble and good but not boring and one that the audience roots for is not an easy task. It does take talent and if you don't believe me look no further than Henry Cavill as Superman - this is what happens when someone who has no talent, charm or charisma is given the role of a good guy. Good guy who is not a colorful, violent, wise-cracking villain. Good guy who you root for. I don't think anyone plays character like this better than Ford and that movie is one of the best examples of that, but like too few others it also allows Ford and the audience to look beneath the charm and strong exterior and find the true heart of the person he is playing.
(for TheFilmExperience HWYBS series)