Review #13 – The Lovely Bones
In high school, I would get (frequently) bored with study hall. We were allowed to sign out of study hall back then and go to the library under the guise of “research”. Mid-way thorough sophomore year, I made friends with a couple of seniors who, through their encouragement (ie – me begging along) started sneaking me out of school for fun and frolicking through the spring. No, I never got into trouble – but until then, I would go to the library and read up about my favorite topics on the computer (this is fall of 1995 – the computer was even internet ready.) I would read articles on such topics as my favorite bands (Mostly Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails) sports (I had the history of the Celtics virtually memorized) and serial killers (I had already consumed John Douglas’ “Mindhunter” cover to cover). I read up on the exploits of Ted Bundy, The Zodiac, The Green River Killer, and The Mad Bomber (Manhattan, 1950’s).
Needless to say, I gained a lot of useless knowledge on serial killers.
Ok – enough on all that. The reasoning behind this – I believed that George Harvey (Played by Stanley Tucci) is a killer. Cunning, blend in the background, unassuming neighborhood killer. His way was Dahmer-esque: friendly, but not close to anyone; knew the neighbors, but no one really knew him. His cold recalcitrance to fitting in blended with a steady, outwardly friendly manner. To not give away too much, he is cut from the cloth of Edmund Kemper (Or – for those of you who are a fan – a Dexter Morgan, the Protagonist from the Showtime Show “Dexter”) someone who is comfortable enough to have a home, and a life – but still has an emptiness, an urge, a “dark passenger” (thanks for that association, Dexter Morgan).
Stanley Tucci is dark. I mean DARK dark. And brilliant. I had to think hard (and – ok I cheated and looked at his IMDB) to figure out the last thing I saw him in. Ends up, it was in Julie & Julia – as Julia Child’s husband, Paul. He has this amazing way of blending in, and becoming seamless, both as a character and as a talent. Even on the smallest of roles he comes through with a bold character (Example: he is the ONLY reason to see America’s Sweethearts. This coming from a huge John Cusack Fan) and always has the talent, not to steal a scene, but be remember-able and forgettable at the same time (like in Road to Perdition, Maid in Manhattan, and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers – playing no less the Stanley Kubrick. Brilliant!).
I think back to what makes a great supporting character: you have to be strong without upstaging; on your own but not independent; deep character without being THE character; and helpful without leading or dragging. To quote Rusty from “Ocean’s 11”: “Don’t use seven words when four will do. Don’t shift your weight, look always at your mark but don’t stare, be specific but not memorable, be funny but don’t make him laugh. He’s got to like you then forget you the moment you’ve left his side.”
Pretty well sums up a supporting actor, don’t you think? And it completely fulfills the character of George Harvey. Thank you for your brilliance in this, Mr. Tucci.