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Alan Rickman – In Memoriam

by on 2016/01/18

AlanRickman_2016“Maverick is a word which appeals to me more than misfit. Maverick is active, misfit is passive.”

There’s been a long and uninterrupted silence on of late. Today, I break the silence, brush away the cobwebs and light a candle for the late, great Alan Rickman.

This talented man deserves more, but this flamey gothic tribute is all I have to give.

I first encountered Alan Rickman playing Sinclair, a cold but not unsympathetic husband in the Stephen Poliakoff film, Close My Eyes. Yes, his wife in the film was cheating with her brother, but Alan Rickman’s composed dignity was ever-present – elevating the proceedings into a tortured, poignant drama.

My keen interest grew to love watching him gnash at and devour whole the scenery as the mulleted Sheriff of Nottingham in the otherwise dishwater-dull Kevin Costner Robin Hood. “I’ll cut your heart out with a spoon.”

He forever changed the way we say, “Clay” in this house thanks to his turn as the evil Hans Gruber… affecting the most stinging sendup of the middle American accent ever as the sniveling hostage “Bill …Clay” in Die Hard.

Here are some of the movies we’ve reviewed on this site featuring the noble, sneering, sublime Alan Rickman. We love you. For you, we turn the lights on once more, however briefly.

sweeney_todd_2007Sweeney Todd (2007)

* * * *

Sweeney Todd is a tragicomic opera of lies. Big ones, little ones – every one of them deadly. This Tim Burton movie adaptation based on the Stephen Sondheim’s 1970’s musical is a blood-drenched portrait of bleak, desolate London in the 1800s.

The story centres on Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp), a barber falsely imprisoned and sentenced to hard labour by a corrupt Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman). Turpin lies to pave the way for his assault of Barker’s yellow-haired wife (Laura Michelle Kelly), a woman for whom he lusts.

Harry_potter_and_the_philosophers_stone_2001Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

* * * *

When the Harry Potter craze hit, I avoided the entire thing like a patch of writhing Devil’s Snare for months, feeling an outsider’s disdain for every breathless colleague who told me that I absolutely had to – had to – read the books.”

Finally in 2003, I relented and picked up the first in the series. I purchased it sheepishly at a mall book store, and hid it carefully in a plastic bag like I had just purchased some malt liquor and porno.

As I once again contemplate this Chris Columbus film, I still believe this is a one of the rare times that a movie surpassed what I imagined while reading the book. It had Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. He’s a walking, talking Edward Gorey drawing come to life. I do adore him so.

Die Hard (1988)Die Hard

* * * *

Through the clockwork flurry of plot mechanics, I was struck by the strength of the cast.  There are many people here, of varying involvement, but every single one them is well-played.

Of course the popular standout is Alan Rickman.  His villain, Hans Gruber, is intelligent and educated, eloquent and charming, quick-witted and ruthless.  He plans his work, he works his plan, and it’s easy to believe he’ll succeed.  He exemplifies the perfect “bad guy”, nearly enough as to unbalance the tale.

Galaxy Quest (2000)Galaxy Quest 2000

* * * *

The aging has-been cast of a cancelled space opera TV show has been relegated to convention circuit hell. Egos and insecurities run rampant among the fractious group whose only sympathizers are themselves.

The various actors struggle with issues similar to their characters’ spiritual forebears: Sigourney Weaver’s (Alien) presence as a token female, Sam Rockwell’s (Everybody’s Fine) uncertainty as a plucky comic red shirt, Alan Rickman’s (Die Hard) loathing of a fictional philosophy, and Tim Allen’s (Toy Story) blind devotion to himself.

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