TODAY'S MUST READ ELSEWHERE
Our sometimes contributor Angelica Bastien wrote a great piece for Bright Wall / Dark Room called "The Grace of Keanu Reeves" in which she argues against the common dismissals of his acting ability. As a longtime fan of Keanu (Point Break/Private Idaho being the peak era of devotion) this was a joy to read.
One of her greatest points deals with "the crossroads of virile and vulnerable, territory previously charted by actors as legendary as Montgomery Clift, James Dean, and Paul Newman. But there's a difference.
These actors often seem to fight against the lustful gaze of the camera, while Keanu supplants himself to it. Where they seem cynical, disinterested, or too wounded as a romantic lead, Keanu is utterly open.
In "Point Break," he’s a hotshot with a gun and a badge. But he’s also an object of lust for the camera (and audience), with a disarmingly open smile. Furthermore, without the help of a woman—the short-haired pixie vixen surfer Tyler (Lori Petty)—he wouldn’t be able to integrate himself into the gang of robbers/surfers led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). This artful dynamic—a woman of greater skill guiding a passive man into a world beyond his imagination—develops even further in "The Matrix" (1999). Some of this, of course, exists on a plot level. But Keanu tends to let his scene partners take the lead, becoming almost a tabula rasa on which they (and we) can project our ideas of what it means to be a hero, a man, a modern action star.
Do check it out. And share your feelings about Keanu in the comments. This article brought the guilt down that I have yet to see John Wick (2014).