18 November 2007
For Your Consideration: Tilda Swinton
"What about . . . the other option?"
'Brave performance' is, at this point, such an overused cliché that it hardly means anything anymore. In fact, it has become almost entirely synonymous with 'gets naked' (see "Ann Margaret gives a brave performance."). If you want to see what that phrase SHOULD mean, look no further than Tilda Swinton's portrayl of U-North's chief counsel Karen Crowder.
We see her, in her bra, meticulousy laying out her clothes and practicing for an interview, but there's nothing remotely erotic about it. It takes a brave actress to play a character who spends a great deal of the movie looking tired, used up, sweaty, and flustered and a great actress to sell it to the audience. The character of Karen Crowder is a villain written and performed right, not played as an icy caricature rubbing her fingers together like Mr. Burns. [ahem . . . MERYL, we need to talk. What EXACTLY was the appeal of starring as The Grinch Who Stole Reese Witherspoon's Husband? I'd love to know.]
Karen Crowder is out of her element, and when she must make a choice towards the end of the film, her fear and uncertainty are palpable. She may seem in control in the boardroom, but, in the outside world, she's just trying to get by.