Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fascinating Antagonists...

Hope everyone had a happy Labor Day as we move into fall.

Today's blog entry is about the fascinating villains in fiction. The best fiction has both good and evil characters with goals and motivations of their own. If someone is evil for the sake of being evil, but has no reason why, they don't make full characters and the audience can't relate.

For those of you who haven't yet seen "3:10 to Yuma" starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale (it started this weekend) - I highly recommend it. Personally, I don't like Westerns, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about the movie. At best, it would be a 2-hour action adventure, at worst, staring at Christian Bale and Russell Crowe on screen for 2 hours. Either way, it was worth the price of admission to find out.

I wasn't disappointed, and left the theatre pondering how much I enjoyed seeing the dynamic between the protagonist (Christian Bale) and antagonist (Russell Crowe) and how each was not 100% good or evil - they were both.

Crowe plays a thief, a killer and he often has no conscience - - but he sketches people and animals with charcoal when he's alone. He performs all these evil deeds, yet he respects his pursuers and even bonds with them. This made watching his character and this movie WONDERFUL.

Other antagonists I've enjoyed...

1. Ben Kingsley in "You Kill Me" ( - He plays a hitman for the mob but he keeps messing up the deaths because he's an alcoholic. So he goes into AA and tries becoming sober so he can go out and become a successful hitman again.

Normally we wouldn't cheer on someone who was a killer, but he plays this with the same charm as John Cusack did in "Grosse Pointe Blank" and we can't help but like him.

2. Alan Rickman in "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves." - The critics even said he stole the show because of his dynamic portrayal of the Sheriff of Nottingham. He brought enthusiasm to the part, and I love watching him play these characters.

3. Hugh Laurie in "House" - the TV series. One of my favorite shows of all time. He plays a doctor who's insensitive, a jerk, and he's often cruel for sport. But we're fascinated by him because deep down, he does have something we see as decent, and he's great at what he does. Even Laurie gave an interview, saying he was surprised audiences love to watch a doctor who is a jerk - but it works. Can't wait for the fall season opener!

Tell me about some of your favorite bad guys, and why!


Willena said...

Some days I just can't watch House because the writers often forget that we like to watch human motivation. Some weeks he's just evil to be evil.

I agree that Alan Rickman played the Sheriff of Nottingham beautifully, and, really, was the only reason to watch that movie.

The villian that I think was the best I've ever seen--and trust me, it makes me uncomfortable to even admit that I liked this character--was the Ralph Fiennes character in Shindler's list. As despicable as the character was, he was written and played with something very human underneath.

landy said...

I can't comment on the show/films listed because I haven't seen them.

My favorite villains were Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Although they were outlaws the film portrayed them in such a sympathetic light that I hated it when they got killed in the end.