Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good Deeds and Thandie Newton

This is not a movie review blog. In the Rooms on Film posts, I add an opinion along with a skim of plot synopsis around the featured sets. But nothing one could truly call a review, criticism or analysis. However, after seeing this film recently I feel compelled to weigh in.

I've seen a few Tyler Perry movies, mostly starring Madea, on television. I did see For Colored Girls in the theater with my mom. That was more of an event. The stage circuit that gave Perry (and Madea) his start is not my cup of tea. What drew me out to Good Deeds was the possibility of a subtle romance. The clincher was Thandie Newton, someone known as a good actress. Someone who sold me some sizzling, breezy romance in Mission: Impossible 2.
Now that I've seen Good Deeds, I'm not nearly as concerned about Perry's influence on society as I am about Thandie Newton's career. This will be the second film, after For Colored Girls, where her portrayal flat out distressed me. Throughout both films her characters display their rage and deep-seated stress in hyper facial tics, manic gesticulating and... unplaceable accents. In this film, I kept waiting for the desperate, homeless single mom to also reveal she is a crack addict. In short, her Beloved performance is hemorrhaging into her current dramas and it is not a good. Leaving aside every other thing that made no sense in this movie (baby's dad is KIA in Iraq so you collapse into homelessness? what about the military death benefits due his child? the social security benefits due to his child?), I could not handle the way Newton plows any conversation with blinks, winks, fidgets, and hectic rushes to get away from anyone trying to help her.

I just don't get it. Personally, I found that slutty bartender in For Colored Girls to also be a confusing and dangerously mental case.  It was so over the top and in your face the character seemed to be a poorly medicated psychotic or perhaps manic-depressive. If her malice toward her family had been more subtle, if even her sexuality had been more predatory and sly... that would have been acting instead of overacting. Even Dame Vako from Chronicles of Riddick was a more artful, nuanced display.

To be fair, I haven't seen Rock 'n Rolla, Norbert or Run, Fat Boy, Run among others. I'm still not sure how she even wound up in two of them. But, I'm just saying that directors need to be looking for something other than a deranged crack addict from her. This woman was picked to reprise an Audrey Hepburn role, let her do some quality work that allows the audience to connect with the character and the story rather than bars us from investing in any way.

For indulging me:

his awesome pad: dining room and livingroom
a corporate apartment owned by his company

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