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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Great Madame in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1": A Movie Review of Sorts

Any second-rate actor can play over the top characters: the most simpleton, the most manic depressive, the most vicious, the most unsullied, and of course, the most deranged.  The insane is the easiest persona to fake both in real life and in film.  There are countless stereotypes floating about in the dark pool of insanity for an actor to guiltlessly dip his acting pecker in.  I am not talking about the silent demented who walks among us and living a quiet uneventful married life. Oh no, not this kind of a crackpot who hides his insanity and only erupts in the most furtive of circumstances.  He is another kind of crazy. What I am talking about is the classic lunacy with messy hair, unkempt appearance, dark foreboding eyes, shrieking voice and baneful grin progressing to laughter.  And no one can play it well than Helena Bonham-Carter. This talented thespian can be called the Queen of Period Costume Dramas, and rightly so, after giving exemplary performances in “A Room with a View,” “Howards End,” and her greatest, “The Wings of the Dove.” Madame Bonham-Carter can bring out the classical British in you in a way that Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson can never do.  At present, she is Tim Burton’s current muse, a match made in, well not as pure as heaven, but equally blissful but only with less lighting. 

Playing Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series, Madame Bonham-Carter once again showed moviegoers how to play the mad woman properly.  Not too over the top but not too subdued.  Use the old age familiar gestures and the classic look of the insane, but, make them your own. After all, "Harry Potter" is still for the young and it is best to just tap into the antiquated imagery of the mad witch.  In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1”, Madame Bonham-Carter was only given limited time to show her dark gifts but she exploded in every scene she was in. She played Bellatrix as if other mad witches and warlocks were in attendance in the theatre busily taking notes.  I dare say I did have a black book with me when I watched “The Deathly Hallows.” My friend, also a fellow follower of the Dark Lord, chose the 11 p.m. screening so that by the time Madame Bonham-Carter appeared in the film, midnight had passed, the best way to watch an underrated genius such as Madame Bonham-Carter play insane.  Thankfully, this latest "Harry Potter" movie is ripe with outstanding performances. It would be insane of me not to recommend this great work of magic. But then again, most of you would be watching this movie anyway, with or without my magical movie critique of incantation. Lastly, my only hope is that Madame Bonham-Carter sit down with the cast of “Twilight” and orient them in the dark art of acting. 

P.S. Go watch Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and see Madame Bonham-Carter play the queen with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s gestures and stance.  Ex-president GMA, now that’s another kind of crazy.

3 martini glasses and 1 olive for the whole film and everyone involved in it

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