Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thoughts on Vincent D'Onofrio and two of his films

Reader cmurf100 recently had the opportunity to view two of Vincent D'Onofrio's films - Naked Tango[1991] and Kill the Irishman[2010]. She shared her thoughts on the films and on discovering Vincent D'Onofrio.

I admit a year ago I couldn’t have picked Vincent D'Onofrio out of a police lineup of two. My husband began watching all things Law & Order at night when no ball games were on, and Criminal Intent quickly became our favorite…we both developed crushes on the lead detectives. Once you’ve seen Bobby Goren in the interrogation room a few times, you want more, so I googled D'Onofrio to see what else he’d been in. I devoured every film and every old episode of LOCI I could get my hands on in a period of 3 months, and so now have deemed myself qualified to provide commentary on his career.

Gavin, Sam, Cholo, and the guy from Claire Dolan (if you’ve seen that one you’ll know why it’s easy to forget his name) were pretty hot. And he WAS Mr. Wonderful after all. Soon I wasn’t just googling “Vincent D'Onofrio”, I was googling “Vincent D'Onofrio naked”…but who hasn’t done that? What if he continued down the path of romantic lead? What if he took the path of Hugh Jackman instead of James Gandolfini? Strictly by chance, Naked Tango and Kill the Irishman arrived in my mailbox within 24 hours of each other. Two gangster movies. This made for a great opportunity to see him both ways, charismatic leading man and veteran character actor, and decide if I think he took the right path.

Naked Tango was a strange movie, not the best writing. The premise was difficult to swallow…a gangster obsessed with the tango…and, for god’s sake, how could she not love him? Even so, I can tell you that no matter what stage of life, no matter what age, marital status, or state of health, Vincent D’Onofrio as Cholo would have been my triggerman. Probably still finding himself as an actor, but so confident in movement and in tone. When he was on screen, you knew something good was going to happen.

In Kill the Irishman, D'Onofrio also plays a gangster, numbers man John Nardi. I’ve heard interviews where D'Onofrio says he was trying to play this part in a different way, an anti-Sopranos type of guy. He succeeded. As a fan I think what I appreciated most was there was no Goren in this character. Every actor, including the big guy, have certain mannerisms and vocal patterns that tend to pop up in many characters they play. If you look closely, you will see many of Goren’s hand movements, inflections and odd speech patterns, although perhaps not as pronounced, in D’Onofrio’s earlier work. Everything about Nardi, however is unique. Although they are both gangsters, Cholo and Nardi even stab guys in completely different ways. I love Goren and everything D'Onofrio has done with the character, but it was great to see him prove he has a lot more to say as an actor. A lot more.

D’Onofrio can take up the screen if he wants…see my previous comment about Goren in the interrogation room. But to paraphrase Cholo, it’s not that he couldn’t, it’s that he wouldn’t. He’s found his comfort zone as a character actor, and I’m okay with that. (Would I love to see another nude scene? Sure, although it may not be a good career move at 52.) The young leading man served his purpose. He opened doors for the character actor that was, in my opinion, meant to be. And the young leading man will always be there for me when I need him thanks to NetFlix and Amazon. When I want to appreciate him as an actor, I’ll watch Staten Island or a favorite LOCI episode. But sometimes, to be honest, I could just watch the man spit and that’d be fine.

Click photo to enlarge


maculae said...

Nice write up. Naked Tango is one hard movie to find.

My bf and I live thousands of miles apart, so during our last skype date, we watched Happy Accidents together. An indie sci-fi romantic comedy which I thought he'd hate(and I thought I'd hate it as well), but we both loved it. One of the more enjoyable movie experiences as of late. An intelligent well acted, well scripted and well directed movie. And D'Onofrio is all kinds of cute in it.

val said...

Forget Elton's name? Never!

I'm so green with envy that after nearly 10 years of open obsession and non-stop V-blogging, I still don't have a signed photo. I must be too slow in coming forward.

Regina Caschetto said...

Great comments on Vincent. I think what makes him so attractive despite his mesmerizing eyes and the greatest chest, shoulders and back of any actor is that he follows his own advise-Be comfortable in your own skin. Sometimes I wish he went for super stardom because his acting is comparable if not better than DeBiro, Pacino and Nicholson. If I was rich I would rent The Whole Wide World and show it for free and then everyone would know what a great actor he is.

vikeau said...

Vikeau: I'm just 4 months into my VDO obsession. Believe it or not I had been a causal LOCI fan.One day I'm off from work and watching a LOCI marathon on USA or Sleuth, the episode was "Person of Interest". That was all she wrote. I've been hooked ever since. I felt like I had been wearing a blindfold and suddenly, wow that guy's hot. I still haven't figured out what made me sit up and take notice. And like the reviewer, at this point I'm devouring everything and anything I can find related to VDO's filmography. Although someone owes me 90 minutes for the movie "Bark". That movie was really bad.
It's comforting knowing that there are other folks who are just as fascinated by this guy as I am. Here's to years of more movies and projects.

maculae said...

Little known fact about Naked Tango, Vincent went to Argentina for 4 months to prep for that role, learning how to tango.

judith said...

This was a great read.

val said...

Vikeau, don't watch The First Turn-On, then, 'cos Bark's a good film compared to that!

cmurf100 said...

There have been some stinkers (Red Sneakers comes to mind) but isn't it nice to know that even when the movie is bad, it's worth an investment of time because VD is in it? Something good must come of it.

lilygirl said...

Thanks for sharing your VDO obsession.
Mine happened the same way and I still have a few of his movies left to watch and enjoy,(GUY-NUNZIO SECOND COSINE-HOTEL PARADISE)Each one of his movies roles is a distinct pleasure and I find myself falling for each different character, from Poobear to Sam Deed but Goren is the ultimate. Goren is made up of all his other characters and you can spot it sometimes in his speech and mannerisms.
ps..If you like Vincent check out the actor Mark Ruffalo, hes like D'Onofrio's little brother in looks and almost in acting skills.

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List of films in production.

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]
An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s. Vincent....Al Anderson


A story about the early life of Tennessee Williams

Directed by James Franco
Vincent D'Onofrio, Jacob Loeb

"American Falls" - [TBA]

In a rural town in Southern Idaho, the Suzukis, a Japanese American family, run a small motel. One night they get a strange visitor who sports ‘city’ clothes who turns out to be the first African-American man that Toru Suzuki’s children have ever seen. Yoshiko takes it upon herself to solve the mystery about this man, especially when 2 police officers come knocking on their door.

Short film produced by Erika Hampson.
Vincent D'Onofrio as Detective Foster.

'Purgatory' [TBA]

'Purgatory' [TBA]
Tagline: In the Wild West a lot of blood was spilled... but it didn't go to waste. Vincent....Dallas Stoudenmire

"A Fall From Grace" [TBA]

Detective Michael Tabb knows the city of St. Louis inside and out. He has felt its true heart, as much as its dark underbelly: but he does not know who, in both the dark and light - is taking the lives of young girls.

Director: Jennifer Lynch
Producer/Writer ...Eric Wilkinson

Vincent D'Onofrio ....George Lawson (GRACE's father)
Tim Roth.......Detective Tabb

Filming in St Louis - TBA

"Supreme Ruler" [TBA]

A man campaigns to become the leader of the Buffalo lodge.

Vincent D'Onofrio as Hank Dory
Ron Livingston as Steve
Marcia Gay Harden as Nancy

"The Monster Next Door" [TBA]

"The Monster Next Door" - Comedy Horror

Executive Produced by Dennis Johnson, Melanie Mohlman Produced by Eric Wilkinson, David Michaels
Written by Jim Robbins
Directed by Jennifer Lynch

Cast: Vincent D'Onofrio, Bill Pullman, French Stewart, Bill Moseley

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]
Vincent......Harvey Weinstein

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