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Mismatch

Well, this looks pretty awful, doesn’t it?

In between Edward Norton’s unsuccessful accent, and Robert DeNiro’s wan righteous man, and Milla Jovovich’s robot-eyed bad-girl-playing-good, I’m lost as to which element of this I think is least promising. Jovovich in particular puzzles me. Other than in The Fifth Element, in which her unusual, discomfiting eyes were much less of problem for her characterization because she was playing not-quite-human anyway, I can’t think of a single movie she’s been in where I’ve actively liked her.I wonder if perhaps she ought to go the Tilda Swinton route. Swinton is unusual-looking, although in a different way: the architecture of her face is more unusual than Jovovich’s is. But she’s made a very successful career for herself by inhabiting the parts of human experience many actors are uncomfortable taking in. In Michael Clayton, she was morally and physically clammy; I still think the scene where she sweats through her shirt is a masterpiece of discomfort. Where Jovovich plays a human in alien surroundings, Swinton’s often comfortable playing the alien, the angel in Constantine (she might actually have been an excellent choice for the Angel in Angels in America, if the miniseries had favored a harsher interpretation), the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Her embrace of her physical unusualness has been the source of Swinton’s greatness, and I wonder if the same might work for Jovovich.

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