Saturday, June 5, 2010

Role Call

In my ongoing quest to find more reasons to discuss long past titles, Role Call is a perfect organism. Put simply, it is a feature where I will randomly recommend a movie based on a particular actor's/actresses' part there in. These roles will rarely be said persons "best" role, if only because it seems to me that "best" roles are often pretty obviously agreed upon- and therefore no fun to recommend to people. They will simply be roles I found interesting or that stuck with me for any variety of reasons. Sounds simple right? Excellent, lets get started!

With my recent panning of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, I have found myself thinking about Russell Crowe's career, and the movie that his name always brings me back to. So for that reason, I figure what better choice for the inaugural post of Role Call.

The Role: Sid 6.7
The Reel: Virtuosity
The Reason: That Virtuosity is far from a spectacular movie goes without argument. Released in 1995 around what seemed to be the height of the low-light virtual reality buzz, it's premise is as most mid-90's sci-pop was: Complicated in explanation only.

In hopes of developing a new way to train law enforcement agents, The Law Enforcement Technology Advancement Center (yup, that's what they called it) creates a virtual world in which said agents could train against Sid 6.7, a virtual entity developed from the minds of more than 150 serial killers. While system is being beta tested on prison inmates, Sid escapes into the real world via a super powered android body. The only hope of catching him is ex-cop turned inmate Parker Barnes, who was the only inmate to ever catch him, and has his own score to settle with one of the killers inside Sid.

Sid 6.7 is certainly not Russell Crowe's best role (There are two I might choose for that honor, but I don't really feel a need to decide as he was nominated for an Oscar for both), but it's in interesting one in that it's a type of character we never really saw him play again: the over-the-top psychotic caricature. Though Sid 6.7 certainly can't hold a candle to the late Heath Ledger's Joker or even, (much) further down the scale, Wesley Snipe's Simon Phoenix from Demolition Man (a movie that Virtuosity is very reminiscent of), the role is enough to convince me that an older more experienced Crowe could take another of it's kind to the top.

Beyond Sid 6.7 Virtuosity is still a bit of a curious beast. It speaks to the time it was made in that not only is Denzel Washington's the only name to appear before the Title, Crowe's isn't even the first to come up after. This is a much different scenario then when they'd meet again in Ridley Scott's American Gangster twelve years later and theirs would be the only names on the poster. The movie is also rife with beloved B-list actors like William Forsythe, Louise Fletcher, Costas Mandylor and Willam Fichtner... Just to name a few. Most of which are looking rather baby-faced, just like Crowe and Washington.

In short, if your looking for a new favorite movie to push on all your friends, Virtuosity is not it. But if your looking for an interesting way to kill an hour and forty minutes (and win your next game of six degrees of separation) then Virtuosity is your movie. Whether it be all that, or just to pad your Russell Crowe portfolio, consider checking out Virtuosity.

No comments: