if you put Russell Crowe in the cinematic equation and suddenly Ron
Howard's latest portion of Academy-friendly fare becomes a good deal
more appetising. Just as the brusque Antipodean's intensity and screen
charisma blinded audiences to the flaws in "Gladiator",
so he delivers another astonishing performance that more than compensates
for this film's weaker facets.
fictionalised biopic of real-life maths whizz John Forbes Nash Jr,
it follows the socially stunted prodigy from his professional beginnings
as a nervous freshman at Princeton, through Cold War spy machinations,
and his struggle to hold together his marriage to fellow mathematician
is totally convincing - from 19-year-old student to OAP - giving
a truth to Akiva Goldsman's occasionally twee dialogue and bringing
fear and excitement to the most off-putting of subjects. Facing
off with such a formidable, scene-stealing star would terrify a
lesser actor than Jennifer Connelly, but she matches Crowe scene
a glamour and grace reminiscent of a 40s film star, and unafraid
to suffer some unflattering close-ups of her angst-contorted face,
the Golden Globe-winner delivers a performance that should see her
secure a place on the A-list.
supporting player who signals his Hollywood arrival is Brit Paul
Bettany, as Nash's enigmatic best friend - fulfilling the promise
he showed in both "Gangster No.1" and "A Knight's
truth it's the acting that makes the movie, for while Howard does
a good job of actually making sums exciting - and pulls off a masterful
narrative shift halfway through - he can't sidestep the pacing problems
of biopics that try to cram in their subjects' entire life - perfunctorily
whizzing through decades in the final half hour.
such problems are forgivable as the tear-stained finale crowns a
moving love story.
have thought algebra could be so exciting?
Beautiful Mind" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 1st March 2002
link below to comment on this film.
Reviewed by Nev
Pierce, BBC Films