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Home Lifestyle Alex Reynolds reviews LIVING with Bill Nighy

Alex Reynolds reviews LIVING with Bill Nighy

Alex Reynolds

The face is somewhat familiar. To moviegoers broadly, the name even less so. His actual physical appearance and voice manners effectively meld into numerous onscreen characters, but, you are still seeing Bill Nighy, the actor. No matter the role, I’m always aware of watching Nighy, the refined appearing Englishman who brings dramatic or comedic characters to life. In mastering the craft, this thespian was born to act,

He’s a “name” in the industry, admired by critics, loved by film fans, and I as one, have endless appreciation for his talent resources. As an actor, Nighy becomes the incarnation of the character, while our perception remains of a gentle looking, polite English gentleman wearing a bowler who would be at ease in a presentation to royalty. But watch out, Nighy is that rare personality, a major movie star, though looking and acting as a regular bloke.

Mr Williams (Nighy) a bureaucratic civil servant with a lifetime employed in the same monotonous job in London, is suddenly facing a grim reality…..dying of stomach cancer. Instead of despair, Williams is spurred to resist falling into a deep hole of depression, and fights to upturn his hereto dull life into a positive realm so he can claim ownership of a life lived to the full.

Nighy plays Williams as a man worn down by too many years toiling in a mundane, yet Important office routine with an atmosphere devoid of stimulation. A young fellow employee extends sincere appreciation, claiming that without them “people suspect you of not having anything very important to do”. Comes the revolution as he breaks away from the old ways, taking a path leading to a role of fulfillment and excitement in which he can exclaim, “this is the life!”

“Living” is an adaptation of the 1952 Japanese film “Ikiru,” one of noted director Akira Kurosawa’s most enduring screen works. Here, Oliver Hermanus directs from a screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro set in 1950s London, spotlighting a bureaucrat in an unrewarding career, facing his mortality. At last month’s Academy Awards handouts, Nighy was a Best Actor nominee.

Headed by a big cinema personality playing an ordinary man who makes a large difference, “Living” is that small film unspooling a quiet, warming narrative wraping itself around your heart. Its not sappy, though you might find use for a tissue to wipe away a water drop or two.

Oh! Nighy looks the stylish English gent sporting a bowler unleashing a standout performance in an already much-lauded career. The actor’s contributions help guide “Living” on its muted but no less emotive journey in a singular image of a man. Its a small world Williams lives in, a society separating Britons in stiff-upper-lip reality where they don’t even share their first names, and even their feelings.

Nighy expands it into a larger sphere in which the underdog rises. He fashions a buttoned-up civil servant, living an inner life of quiet desperation perpetually on the verge of being self-muted entirely. Williams has to thwart his demons and take on a new life. At an upper age its a challenge but Nighy displays his abundant talent in making the transformation.

The narrative grips, there’s no Hollywood hunk to save the day, but an English actor becomes a reluctant hero attempting to revamp his life. In doing so, Nighy rewards viewers in a somewhat “Hallelujah” manner. With death just months away, Williams realises it is time to start living.

Nighy doesn’t play the character, he is the character. Few actors have that inborn ability.

The warmness in director Oliver Hermanus’ makeover, has me imagining Kurosawa looking down from cinema heaven……smiling, satisfied that his classic has spawned another potential classic.

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