Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Equus

Daniel Radcliffe made a bit of a media ripple last year when he decided to do the play Equus. For those not knowing, the main character spends half his time on stage naked. I remember thinking when I heard the news, "Well good for you, Harry Potter, that's one way not to be typecast!". And its worked well for him, apparently the London run was well-received, giving Radcliffe the depth and range as an actor that will keep him around for a long time. Equus is coming to Broadway later this year and I for one am ticketed for the event.

I decided to rent the movie version, circa 1977, and at least get my head around the story.

Frankly, its one of the best psychological dramas ever. The main character, Alan Strang, is a very disturbed young man who takes a job as a stable boy. But during his stint as stable boy Alan does some peculiar things to a group of unsuspecting horses and winds up "under psychological evaluation". The evaluation shifts from Alan to his parents to his coworker to his doctor. In the end everyone is under the lens and noone is innocent.

The role of Alan Strang had to be a difficult one; he's a complicated person with so many psycho-sexual issues its hard to keep track. On the surface he has elevated horses to a god-like stature but there are some sexual overtones to that. Under the surface there is some poking around at sexual norms; how parental influence can complicate the "normal" equation and the distinct feeling that psychology is nothing more than a cult of people who haphazardly decide what is "normal".

I loved the movie for its play-like execution and tone. The actors in this film are incredibly talented, particularly Peter Firth, who plays Strang and Richard Burton who plays his doctor. This was one of Burton's best performances.

I wonder how Radcliffe will do on stage in NYC, without his wand, glasses, or anything else for that matter

Its hard to imagine but I'll find out in September.



Peter Firth as Alan Strang, 1977




Daniel Radcliffe as Alan Strang, 2007


Equus
9.5/10

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10 Comments:

Blogger suzy said...

I just saw Daniel Radcliff in My Boy Jack on Masterpeice Theater. It was similar to Harry Potter, in that he was a boy (18) who was trying to find out who he was and how he fit into the world, being the son of Rudyard Kipling. Mr. Radcliff was good in the role. I think he might be someone good over time.

9:29 PM

 
Blogger Michael said...

Equus was a great movie, and a very disturbing play. I have it on my bookshelf somewhere.

From what I've read, Radcliffe gave a good performance in London, and showed real depth and talent as an actor, and that that's why he took the role. Seems like a tough role, considering the anti-climatic nature of the climatic scene.

I wonder though, if anyone knows who's playing Jill, and what she thought about starring nude on stage with the Boy Who Lived?

6:54 AM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Suzy, that sounds like an interesting movie too, I'll see if Blockbuster carries it!

8:34 AM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Michael, they havent published the cast other than Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths (also in the Harry Potter franchise), who takes Richard Burton's character.

You're right, it has to be a tough role to play. Tough on set in front of a camera but that must be nothing compared to doing it on stage in front of a live (and often unforgiving) NYC audience.

8:40 AM

 
Anonymous Jason said...

Interesting. I've heard of the play, but didn't know there was a movie version. I'll have to Netflix that.

It's good to see that he may not be type casted as Harry Potter for ever.

6:27 PM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Jason, from what I understand people may forget he was ever HP after seeing him in Equus :)

Lemme know how you like the movie version!

8:08 PM

 
Blogger Michael said...

people may forget he was ever HP after seeing him in Equus

Jim, I thought that's why he took the role?

Of course, ending the play with a graphic nude scene in which he utterly fails to get it on (or up) with a young lady may not be so impressive to the female fans...

6:36 AM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Probably so, Michael. I'll let you know in October if I still think of him as HP or the naked guy who fails to complete :) lol

7:21 AM

 
Blogger JC said...

He's kinda boney and skinny - emaciated, maybe that is part of the inner tortured self...
I just thought he'd have a little more meat on the bones...maybe he'll get a hankering for some Nathan Dogs or street vendor pretzels and beef up just a bit. Nothing wrong with skinny, most of us could use a little more of that, but don't look like a starving actor either...

7:47 PM

 
Blogger Jim said...

JC, yes, he is, but so are most 18 year olds. Or maybe he just likes that manarexic look :)

9:38 PM

 

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