by Matthew Waldron
The bobbleheaded strumpets depicted in Sofia Coppola's oddly underrated "THE BLING RING" were, amazingly, real, and amazingly, really vapid. Just as vapid as portrayed. Now, not to condone thievery, but what I personally mourn more than the moral degradation of a pack of reckless youth ("tragic", that) is the fact that, in certain instances, they didn't steal enough.
Epically tragic, from Audrina Patridge (famous for really stupid shit, so I found out upon Wikipedia'ing her) they stole some silly items. And from Orlando Bloom apparently they stole a gaggle of watches. And surely we all lost sleep over that.
Imagine though if they'd gone further – say, robbed Orlando Bloom not just of obscenely overpriced material shit, but also of any inclination he may ever have to appear in any more films for directors capable of great work.
Imagine if those little bobbleheads had saved Ridley Scott and Cameron Crowe FROM Orlando Bloom...(!) Imagine "ELIZABETHTOWN" with a lead capable of more than a single expression, or "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" not hobbled by ubiquitous tone-deafness (despite the valiant efforts of Liam Neeson and David Thewlis to steer the course otherwise...).
This is deadly serious shit. Is the world so awash in "great films" we can afford to withstand irreparable-quality-gaps within filmographies of filmmakers capable of better? And so, would it have killed those strumpets to have done the world a favor and sap Orlando of a bit of ambition?
Would've been nice. Unlikely though. That last scene in "THE BLING RING" of Emma Watson shamelessly pontificating, though brilliant, displaying these kids' cognitive capacity was decidedly underwhelming.
Unfortunate that one man could do so much damage. Not unlike a virus. And if we're talking viruses, and the organism-in-peril happens to be a film, there can be no greater threat than Orlando Bloom and His Single Facial Expression.
We're all familiar with "the auteur theory.” The filmic concept, gifted to us from our friends The French, that cinema – real cinema, at it's best – entails an "author.” A sole individual "behind the wheel.” This person, ostensibly, being the director.
By this theory a single individual, ostensibly the director, wields considerable power – they are the final arbiter dictating whether it, aesthetically, succeeds...or sucks. They give the film its soul. The film, for all intents and purposes, is theirs.
At least that's what the theory says. I, personally, am an adherent. Give some random hack the script for "RAGING BULL" and then have fun convincing me there's any chance it's going to be anything resembling the masterpiece we all justly revere.
Personally I usually define an "auteur" as someone who doesn't just direct but also writes their own material. I understand that's not always the case (see above paragraph). Cameron Crowe, though most film snobs (myself included) ideally wouldn't be caught dead admitting it in a crowded room (of other film snobs) is, though hard to swallow, an auteur. Ridley Scott will never produce a piece of work as personal (and compelling) as the script for "ALMOST FAMOUS,” but many would still argue (myself included) despite his dependence on writers to generate his material, his filmmaking style (fingerprints?) is distinct enough to warrant the title of "auteur.”
Despite the voluminous input of countless other creative, talented individuals they work with, both Cameron Crowe and Ridley Scott can and do shape the final result of their films. It's their consistent personal vision which acts as the spine around which all other input is coalesced.
These are directors with (admittedly wildly differing kinds of) vision. And a director without vision is lethal to their film as a pilot without a visible horizon.
Similarly lethal, we come to Orlando Bloom and his cornucopia of facial expressions. Both of them.
It's almost that simple. It's his face. Ironically. And his monotone. But we'll get to that. But it's that same face which made him ideal for playing a decidedly unemotional (admittedly, badass) elf. The perfect role for an actor ("actor"...?) with less than stellar synergy along the cables connecting his emotions to his...face.
I wonder sometimes while watching "ELIZABETHTOWN" whether maybe Orlando thinks it's a radio show. And that's why he's not emoting. Or moving his face. Maybe he thought the cameras were x-ray machines and someone broke a leg.
And who knows what the hell was going on with him on the set of "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” Never mind the fact that halfway through Edward Norton appears and, from under a mask, proceeds to act Orlando off the screen. The monotone with which he delivers his lines for the entirety of this very long film reminds me of a piano with all but two keys removed. A sad thing to behold.
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