Performance drives cinema, that much has always been clear. Since the silent era days of Charlie Chaplain, Douglas Fairbanks, and Greta Garbo, our responses to the subject matter present within any given film have varied depending on the skill of the actor within. Throughout film history characters have fallen into three categories: that of the Hero, that of the Villain, and (increasingly so in this modern era) that of the Human.
No one grouping is superior to another; as that is a case-by-case subject dependent on the actor in the role, bringing to mind the saying, “(He/She) stole the show!” Yet if performance drives cinema, (as it is entertainment, though some films are more “artistic” than others) then only by a cohesive working of the writing, cinematography, and all other facets of filmmaking do you witness something noteworthy.
Heroes, unmovable and incorruptible, face adversity with an inner strength many of us wish we had.
Villains, the true kind of which there is no mistaking, are as thrilling as they are unnerving to watch.
And Humans, flawed in ways which we often can relate all too well to, engage us in the most thoughtful of ways: offering us the chance to imagine ourselves in their shoes, making the same decisions, and facing the same outcomes.
We are separated only by circumstance, for we created them. Be they echoes or interpretations, aspects of their personas exist within the writer, the actor, the audience. It’s the believability of a character that is the most powerful, driven by performance and absorbed by the insatiable eyes of the masses, be they a Hero, Villain, or Human.
Is there a performance, Human, Villain, Hero, or otherwise which has captivated you so intensely?