Thursday, June 15, 2017

So Happy for Him - Sean Bean in Broken

The world has suddenly discovered that Sean Bean is a great actor.  
I'm so very happy for him. Because you see, I've been a fan of Sean's since 1988. (I'll let you all do the math). And I've known for all these many years what a great actor he is.

I love Sean Bean. 

An article in The Guardian today brought me to tears:

(Beware of spoilers in the article)

A love letter to Sean Bean – the most heartbreakingly mesmerising of actors

"Bean’s Father Michael is quiet and conflicted, haunted by his past and battling a sadness that has seeped deep into his soul. He commands the screen, his pain flitting across that gaunt, ravaged face reminding us that some of the best actors say most when speaking least."

"There are few actors capable of bringing that weight to a role. Of allowing you to see how a person can be both good but heartbreakingly, perhaps fatally, flawed. Of convincing you that a man so betrayed by the Catholic church as a child might return to that church thanks to a faith deeper than those betrayals and, crucially, of making you believe in every aspect of his character’s life from the good-natured interventions into his parishioners’ lives to those moments when, terribly, he ignores them out of a desire to be off-duty for once, to put down the candle, to be alone."


I've written many "love letters" to Sean during the years. Not just on this blog, but other sites and blogs and fan forums. He doesn't know of course, but maybe he can feel the support and affection of all his fans in his heart. 

So for those just discovering this "heartbreakingly mesmerising" of actors, below my list of some of the best of Sean Bean. 

Stormy Monday (1988)

  • (when I met Sean Bean)

Caravaggio (1986)

Windprints (1989)

The Field (1990)

My Kingdom for a Horse (1991)

Clarissa (1991)

Tom & Thomas (2002)

North Country (2005)

Far North (2007)

Red Riding (2009)

Black Death (2012)

So if you're newly discovering Sean, or just discovering Sean, check out some of the work I've listed above. 

Some are difficult to find, but worth the effort if you do. 

I didn't include the work that the world knows him for: Sharpe, Boromir, Trevelyan, Stark... but maybe watch those again too and you may discover new treasures there. Sometimes we think we know what we'll find, and we may discover we were wrong all along. 


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pilgrimage - Tribeca Film Festival - April 23

I was lucky to be able to go to New York on April 23 to see the premiere of Pilgrimage at the TRIBECA Film Festival starring Richard Armitage.

Beware of Spoilers below.

These are just my impressions of the film and Richard Armitage as Raymond De Merville.

I'll try to keep it fairly free of spoilers, though there are bound to be some. I know other RA fans have posted already about seeing the movie on Sunday, so by now many things have been revealed.

I found that the movie was much more than what I expected from watching the trailer. The location, scenery, and music set the stage and we were transported to another time, and another world.

To me the story is about a fight for control and conquest, of Ireland and the world, by two powerful groups in 1209, the Normans and the Catholic church.

I loved the use of three different languages in the film (or was it four?). Gaelic, French and English not only marks each of the groups we're about to meet as different, but again serves to take us to another time. As a bilingual person who also speaks a third language, I felt instantly comfortable with the use of different languages, and of English as the "common tongue".  Reminded me of the use of "Spanglish" in my life.  (But have no fear, there are subtitles).

The locations in Ireland and Belgium are beautiful yet unearthly. The perfect composition and selection of music also contribute to transporting us into another time. 

Being a non-native French speaker myself (fair, not fluent), I thought Richard Armitage did a marvelous job speaking French. I was impressed.  He was very natural, even when speaking with Frenchman Stanley Weber.

Richard Armitage rides in as the perfect villain. From the moment he takes off his helmet, you know Sir Raymond is a man used to intimidating people, and liking it. He looks marvelous. Richard was born to wear chain mail and wield a sword.

I've seen Richard play bad guys before, but he's particularly villainous as Raymond De Merville.

The actors and their great performances really make this movie worth seeing. Great performances by Stanley Weber, Jon Bernthal, Tom Holland, and Richard Armitage. But also wonderful performances by the other monks in this story, John Lynch, Hugh O'Connor, and all the other actors that I haven't mentioned individually. The actors more than the story really make this film worth watching.

Pilgrimage is an indie action film with historical and religious tones. This is not a historical epic, or a historical documentary. It is also blood and  gore and violence.  Worth seeing for the locations, the music, and most of all for the great actors in this film. 

I hope Richard Armitage fans around the world will get a chance to see it, and will go and see it. 

I greatly enjoyed the Q&A at the end with some of the cast, the director, writer, and producers, of Pilgrimage.

Photo by Aram Tertzakian

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