Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The tragic clown

You must know by now that Robin Williams has been found dead. Very likely it is a suicide. I know among you, there are admirers of Robin Williams. I was neither a fan nor a hater of him, although his films were a big part of the movie environment I grew up in. For many men of my generation, he was a staple in comedy. I have one thing to confess: I rarely found him funny. In a few, yes. Aladdin, Popeye and Mrs Doubtfire especially. But too often, especially in later years, I found that he played a caricature of a funny guy, a caricature of Robin Williams. I preferred when he played wounded men, if the movie was not too preachy. But I really loved his darker characters, in One Hour Photo and Insomnia especially. This is really where I think Robin Williams found his true voice as an actor, as if he could really channel the darkness in him and put it on the screen. One Hour Photo is in my opinion such an underrated gem. What surprised me about his death is that I was not so surprised. Great comedians, comic actors, are often sad people, they are, in effect, sad clowns. Williams was in his life a a Plagiacci, a tragic clown.

3 comments:

jaz@octoberfarm said...

one of my favorite movies is moscow on the hudson. so sad and sweet at the same time.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Guillaume, exactly! You nailed it!

The Artful Gypsy said...

I liked the movies where he played compassionate character roles, even though they may not have been his most popular or memorable movies. There was a gentle, soulful, yet wistfully sad twinkle in his eyes that lit up when he laughed and smiled. I think you are exactly right...he was the tragic clown of this circus we call life!