Executive Decision – released in 1996. In it, we see Halle Berry playing Jean, a flight attendant on a hijacked airliner. She surreptitiously assists American agents onboard the aircraft in their quest to overtake the middle eastern terrorists.
The role -- and it was a small role -- called for little more than two emotional responses from Berry. Be terrified. Be courageous.
And she did this.
Throw in a moment of grief; oh, and another beat down, but I’ll get to that.
I preferred Berry as defiant. The terrified thing didn’t work for me.
I got to wondering -- and it occurred to me that it must be really difficult to pretend to be terrified. Lots of actors do it but to do it successfully must require a certain level of skill, else you come out looking like an emotionally distorted caricature. It is easy to exaggerate terror or underplay it, I think.
I figure, as the moviegoer, I am to feel terrified right along with the actor -- if the actor does his job.
In this film, I was highly aware of Berry’s characterization. It just didn’t work for me. One may argue that the scenes were short and quick and she didn’t have the time or momentum to execute terror.
Maybe. I’m not an actor, so I know little of these things.
Or maybe a skilled actor can give us terror when the script or director says, “Give me terror.”
Berry and the beat down. In Swordfish (2001), Stan (Hugh Jackman) pushed her out of his trailer and she hit the ground like a ragdoll. In Executive Decision, Nagi (David Suchet) knocked the hell out of her. He hit Jean so hard, he totally knocked her block off.
Poor Halle. Now, I can’t wait to see her kick some azz. Does she do that in the X-Men series? I’ve not seen it. Ain’t that superheros and stuff? Since superheros kick azz, I expect she will. I saw Catwoman (2004), but barely remember it. I know she kicks some azz in that –- doesn’t she? Anyway, I’m rambling…
Finally, because of one particular scene in this film, Berry is the recipient… ta dum… of a WOOD AWARD! Halle Berry joins Beyonce as the second recipient of this not-so-prestigious award presented by THE BLACKACTOR.COM. See next post.