Friday, July 12, 2013

Naomi Watts, THE IMPOSSIBLE and getting dirty

Like most people, I first became aware of Naomi Watts in MULHOLLAND DRIVE, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. (I'm a David Lynch fan.) Since then, there's almost nothing she's done that I haven't been intensely interested in. She just does not give a fuck. She can and will do anything. ANYTHING. That's a big part of what makes her fun to watch.

This is a chopped up scene from THE IMPOSSIBLE, her 2012 film about the 2004 Asian tsunami, which my wife and I watched the other night:

That's real water. In the special features, the kid playing Lucas says a lot of the fear in their faces wasn't acting. Later in the film you see that Naomi Watts is actually shoved through that glass wall by the wave. Not a stuntwoman! (Sure, it's breakaway glass, but still - you try getting hit by a wall of water through a solid object!)

THE IMPOSSIBLE is a pretty good film, although I was a little uncomfortable at times with the story of that tsunami - which largely killed poor Southeast Asians - being told from the point of view of rich white tourists. I guess that makes it more "relatable" to us westerners. Still, Naomi Watts does her goddamn best to make us understand how awful it was whatever your ethnic background. (By the way, I liked Ewan McGregor in the film too, but this post is not about him.)

A lot of actresses are afraid to even get dirty. It's going to spoil their precious image and ruin the illusion that they're beautiful. Not Naomi Watts:

It's even more amazing that she's doing this at age 44! (Even she says on the special features, "I'm not 25, but I'm being thrown around like this.") She's aging amazingly well - admittedly, kind of hard to tell in this shot. But she's still hot!

This is the ultimate realization of her natural state on film. If you put Naomi Watts in a film and she doesn't end up at least with matted hair and preferably covered in blood, mud, dirt, smeared makeup, tears, or a combination of all of those by the end, you're doing it wrong. You have not challenged Naomi Watts. She's bored! She's been building up to this.



THE RING TWO (sorry, couldn't find a good shot from the first one):


I don't know how this woman has not won ALL the Oscars. I mean, anyone who can make KING KONG watchable... come on. She's everything an actress should be. And not just because she likes to get down and dirty.

This is the face of a woman on a mission:

Intense. Naomi Watts will hire Jacob from LOST to kill you if you don't give her all the Oscars. The dichotomy about her is that this thin little blonde woman with a chipmunk face can be such a badass. And that intensity is the reason.

She didn't have to be this type of actress - she's always had the looks to play glamour roles:

And she's not above appearing in sexy magazine layouts. Which only makes me respect her more. She chooses to take on roles like MULHOLLAND DRIVE, 21 GRAMS and THE IMPOSSIBLE. She doesn't have to. She could take her pick of lightweight Hollywood rom-coms and period princess dramas that don't require her to get grimy, sob believably on command, scream at the top of her lungs or come close to drowning. (And sometimes she does, when she just wants a few days at the beach. Hey, she's earned it.)

To sum up, I like Naomi Watts.

THE IMPOSSIBLE? Worth a rent.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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