For the month of February, I have decided to offer a few weeks of monologues from actors who have never won an Oscar, despite nominations and/or general consensus that it should already have happened. Why?
Because everyone loves a good theme.
Based on Chris Marker’s 162 short film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys follows a convicted criminal living in a post-apocalyptic 2035 Philadelphia, who is sent back in time to discover the source of the plague that wiped out almost every human being on earth. However, the film’s protagonist Cole (Bruce Willis) so often struggles with his own perception of his role, his superiors and his own sanity that he often legitimately thinks that his simply mad… and yet can’t help but continue on his apparently insane mission.
For all of his damn good work over his career, occasionally hitting heights of genuine filmic icon, it might actually be the case that Brad Pitt has never topped his turn as Jeffrey Goines. The whole scene is wonderfully directed by Gilliam, from the utterly off kilter camerawork to the cartoon sound stings, but it is Pitt that is the anchor of it all. The dialogue is superb, but the man himself is a whirlwind of rapid-fire delivery and exaggerated tics. It’s such a brilliantly captured performance, from vocalisation to body language, that you almost feel exhausted just from having spent a few minutes with him. And, best of all, tell me he doesn’t make a messed up kind of sense.
Setting the scene: Cole has been sent back to 1996 Baltimore, but has actually arrived six years earlier than planned. After being arrested and evaluated by a doctor (who will later become very important), he is placed in a mental institution. Upon arriving on the ward, he is handed over to Jeffrey for a tour of the room. Jeffrey does so, in a manner that only he could…