Jan 24, 2010

The Best of Sam Rockwell: Snow Angels

1. Snow Angels
2. Moon
3. Matchstick Men
4. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
I think Sam Rockwell is the most exciting actor working in American movies right now. Di Caprio needs to disentangle from Scorsese (fast). Robert Downey is just enjoying himself (fair enough). James Franco and Ryan Gosling can slum it pretty good but that's all they're doing. Talking of which, where did Edward Norton get to? But Rockwell it still on the prowl, with all the ferocity of the young Gary Oldman allied to a particularly Californian playfulness. There's something crackling behind his eyes at all times — brain static, black lightning. He was born to play the sarcastic super louse in David Gate's novel Jernigan. Clooney's Confession of a Dangerous Mind was the movie title to launch a thousand profiles, but the film was a fussy disappointment. (I felt like I had to go watch another movie about Chuck Barris in order to find out who the guy was). The best movie to hitch its wagon so far has been Rockwell was Duncan Jones's haunting Moon in which he played two versions of himself: one newly hatched from his sleep pod, the other with five years of solitude etched into his face. It was like a face off between the two parts of his personality: character actor and lead. But his best performance was in Snow Angels, where he played an on-the-wagon drunk, estranged from his ex-wife, praying to Jesus to keep his job and see his daughter. I don't want to ruin any of of your fun but his prayers are not answered; I was this movie on a flight from London to New York and got off the plane feelingn like I still hadn't landed. Rockwell's performance is phenomenal, like feeling a car aquaplaning at just the point where the tyres begin to loose their grip on the road. I haven't seen such a suptle unravelling since the glory days of De Niro. As with Taxi Driver, you are completely blindsided by what's coming, but the moment it's done, you realise there was nowhere else this could have gone. It's a phenomenal achievement.


  1. Snap.
    I totally agree with you and I have Choke and Lawn Dogs on order because I wanted to see more of him.
    I also think Mark Ruffalo is very compelling, in a different way, and I like the way both make quirky choices.
    Talking of Gary Oldman, this blog is deficient to the tune of one "Best of" list...

  2. I am so happy to see someone giving credit to Rockwell in Snow Angels, there isn't enough attention given to this performance. Absolutely brilliant and heartbreaking in this movie, love him.