[Editor's Note: Melanie Lynskey Guest Blogging Continues!]
So, the movie Lawless came out last night. I don't know a whole lot about westerns, but I do know this movie is filled with great actors. Including, one of my absolute, all-time, favourite actors, Noah Taylor.
I remember so clearly the first time I saw Noah Taylor in a movie. I was 16, and I saw the movie Flirting, and that was it. I was in love. I loved his face, I loved the way he walked. I loved his voice and the little lisp in it. I loved the way he looked at Thandie Newton so shyly but so directly at the same time. There was such a lovely, innocent quality to him, but underneath it was something really powerful. He was sexy in a very unexpected way. There's a little edge to him and he's so funny in that movie. I went on a Noah Taylor rampage. I saw The Year My Voice Broke, I saw The Nostradamus Kid. At a certain point I realised that the reason I loved him so much was that there is an incredible vulnerability to him. You feel his soul radiating when he's on screen. He just has to glance sideways and you feel your heart twisting in compassion. There is something in his eyes that made me feel like this person has known and understands life, and love, and suffering, and he's putting it up on this screen with no filter. As the young David Helfgott in Shine, he is like a walking open wound. There is such a sweetness to that performance. But you feel him breaking as the movie goes on... just taking the mistreatment and quietly shifting and trying to adjust himself until he collapses inward. It all happens very subtly, but he really sets up Geoffrey Rush's insanely great performance as the older david.
Over the years Noah Taylor has become a truly great and versatile character actor. Every time I see him on screen, I cannot look away. He's played sweet dads (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), rock and roll band managers (Almost Famous), and Adolf Hitler (Max) and been utterly believable as every one. He can play comedy (The Life Aquatic) so beautifully; there is a realness to his humour that is so appealing, and that sweet face can be so goofy when he wants to be goofy. But he can easily access a dangerous quality that can set you on edge. I also love the wide range of genres and sizes of movies he's done. He can do a big silly action movie (Tomb Raider) and look like he's having so much fun while also, totally committing (not easy), and then fit right in to something like The Proposition.
Noah Taylor, I love you, and I'm so happy you're in movies.
- Melanie Lynskey
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