Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Riley's Next Move
I finally caught up with Anton Corbijn's widely acclaimed Ian Curtis biopic Control a couple of days ago and I actually enjoyed it a bit more than I thought I would. It avoids biopic clichés for as long as it possibly can and actually invokes an atmosphere instead of following the typical, paint-by-numbers trajectory of something like Walk the Line. For the most part, I was struck by the fact that Corbijn lingers so long in the realm of the sad and uncomfortable. Countless scenes went by in which I just couldn't get over how sad I felt for these poor people: I felt bad for Samantha Morton when she tries to get Sam Riley to open up to her and he just can't/won't answer her; I felt bad for Sam Riley when he admits that he's not a good father and when he couldn't express himself; I felt bad for the rest of Joy Division because they had no idea how to handle Ian's epilepsy and increasingly erratic behavior.
Sam Riley's performance in Control is what really makes the film for me, however. Throughout the course of the film, there's something completely haunting Riley's Ian Curtis and no matter how "happy" he is at a given moment, that dead look in his eye never goes away. Corbijn relies on Riley to do a lot of his acting with his eyes and he is more than up for the task. He's so good at this he really could have been a silent movie star; all he needs to do is stare soulfully and he conveys everything he needs to do (I really would love to see a movie with him and Kristen Stewart in which they just stared at each other).
Since I was so blown away by Riley, I checked out his IMDb page to see what he was doing next. Since Control, he's only done a couple episodes of Law & Order: SVU (say what?) and something called Franklyn (I have no idea). What caught my eye, however, was a film he is currently working in that's supposed to be released in 2010 called 13. It's a remake of some Italian film and has quite an eccentric cast. In addition to Riley, there's Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Ray Liotta, Ray Winstone and... 50 Cent? Seriously? Sam Riley, you are so talented. You shouldn't even be watching a movie with Fiddy in it, let alone working on one with him. This is the only thing listed on the website, so I hope that he finds a good film soon that will challenge him and prove yet again what a fantastic actor he is.