Wednesday, 3 February 2010

New Esquire (March 2010) on stands: The State of Man

An extraordinary cornucopia in the new Esquire, ranging from a photo gallery of British servicemen returned from Afghanistan, through interviews with Ryan Giggs and Ayrton Senna's nephew, to the rather revealing results of a reader's poll - how much we earn, how much we owe, what we spend weekly on alcohol... Oh and there's a spread featuring the actress Talulah Riley, of the sort the red-tops call 'sizzling.' Riley is also the cover star for the subscribers' special edition. The newsstand buyers get Robert De Niro, who is celebrated at length within, including tributes from Neil LaBute and DBC Pierre and a longish think-piece from your correspondent, in which I say... Actually, I don't - the following paragraph is one that had to be cut for space, following on from a quote by Sean Penn likening De Niro's preparatory rigours to those of a trained dancer:
"The discipline in which De Niro was himself steeped as a training actor was the famous and much-misunderstood ‘Method’, devised in Russia by Konstantin Stanislavsky, immortalised on American soil by such gurus as De Niro’s own acting coach, Stella Adler, who also taught Brando among many others. Most laymen assume The Method is an obsessive, interior mission to ‘stay in character’ at all costs, but Adler urged her students to cultivate life experience, observe the world outside their windows, and always respect the writer’s vision. ‘Don’t drag it down to your small self’ was an Adler mantra, one to which De Niro apparently subscribes..."
Yes, a little over-technical, that, I think you'll agree. Elsewhere my film column this month is on Clint Eastwood's Invictus, of which I say:
"The erstwhile Man with No Name remains deeply absorbed by classic western themes: the new lawman in town, the town as a fractious community on the brink of frontier wildness. Eastwood is famously obsessed by revenge, especially when contemplated by a once-violent man who has since sworn to beat his sword into a ploughshare. And he can’t resist the image of the lone hero standing up to make his case before a gathering of townsfolk, then demanding of the assembled, ‘Who’s with me?’ All these elements may be found in Invictus too, even though its hero – Mandela, in the shape of Morgan Freeman – is a septuagenarian with a smile and a kindly word for everyone."

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