Ben Mendelsohn was one of the first young Australian actors I admired growing up. He appeared in the little known Australian movie The Year my Voice Broke (1987) alongside Noah Taylor who I also liked. Both of these actors have gone on to play austere parts in Hollywood movies and American television. They don’t pull in the big mula like fellow Australian actors Cate Blanchett and Hugh Jackman, but they are hardly soft contenders in the acting department. Ben Mendelsohn I would go so far to describe as an actor’s actor and that is no better demonstrated in two movies – The Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom where he won the AFI’s award for best actor and today’s featured film – Mississippi Grind.
IMDB Storyline: Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with a younger, charismatic poker player named Curtis in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what has been lost.
Ben Mendelsohn is one of the true artistic professionals in how they approach the form. They encroach their character’s skin to such an extent, one can only conclude that what they do is hard work and the result of years of dedication. It is even a joy to watch them doing the mundane or rudimentary in film. In brief, from a voyeuristic perspective you are entranced by them despite however hideous, awkward or morally bankrupt the character is. And believe you me, Ben Mendelsohn ticks all those boxes in Mississippi Grind and Animal Kingdom.
Mendelsohn plays a gambling addict in Grind. I have known addicts of this sort and I have been down that gambling binge on occasions. Movies about Poker and gambling are a dime a dozen, but Grind sits for me well above most because Mendelsohn is just so fricken convincing and intriguing to watch. I haven’t seen Mendelsohn’s co-star Ryan Reynolds in many movies, but he is impressive too as the shining light and lucky charm for the downtrodden Mendelsohn character. They go on a road trip together to see if they can formulate magic between them as a duo gambling pair.
Few recent movies from Hollywood have intrigued me as much as Mississipi Grind. It may not resonate with those who haven’t seen gambling addiction up close or been in situations like these characters find themselves, but I admire the peculiar acting of Mendelsohn and the sharp script which doesn’t dumb-down for a mainstream audience. If you enjoy road movies like ‘Crazy Heart’ or ‘Rain Man’ or just want to admire an actor in ‘beast mode’ see ‘Mississippi Grind. Mendelsohn grounds the character and the film to a perfect level.
I thought I saw Ben Mendelsohn before…Captain Marvel of all things and The Dark Knight Rises.
Sounds like a good movie Matt.
I haven’t seen those movies you mentioned. I reckon you would like Mississippi Grind. It plays on Cable here a lot.
You probably would not want to see them…not that he does a bad job…I saw them because I live with my teenager. Don’t get me wrong…they are not bad but they are the super hero movies.
Yeh, I liked the Batman movie with Heath Ledger as the joker. And the first one was pretty good too.
They were really good. The new ones are more cartoonish…now don’t get me wrong…they are entertaining just not the greatest critical movies.
I follow Scorsese’s opinion about them. Saying no more haha
I don’t remember this actor in ANYTHING. But I have terrible facial recognition. I probably have seen him. I love subtle actors; he sounds like a good one.
I’m also a Ryan Reynolds fan, though he is not a subtle actor. But I like the comedic straight face roles he does. AND when he lifts his shirt up. ‘Cause even now, after years and years, he’s still got a beautiful seven-pack going on, lol.
I thought Hugo Weaving was Australian but later found out he’s British, just living in Australia. But he’s an amazing actor. He was in a drama whose name I can’t recall, and I just remember being mesmerized by his face, his pauses, his gestures, his delivery: everything he did.
Hello Stacey! Long time no see. I’ve been missing ya haha. How are you guys holding up? Is there still a quarantine in California?
Ryan Reynolds in Mississippi Grind is so charismatic. I understand why he is such a popular actor. Mendelsohn on the other hand is a really difficult actor to label. He’s peculiar and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense.
I didn’t realise Hugo Weaving wasn’t Australian. I always thought he was. How interesting!. Actually that reminds me Russell Crowe isn’t either. I must edit my post now. Crowe is New Zealander. In fact he applied for Australian citizenship, but was rejected. I believe he lives in Byron Bay in New South Wales. For trivia sake, he’s great mates with Tom Cruise who visits him often.
Weaving has this chiseled face (like Mendelsohn) and a commanding presence. I like him too, but I haven’t seen him in much. He rose to fame in the Australian comedy ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ along with Guy Pearce. They play drag queens. It’s really good.
Yeah, it’s been a little while. i’m trying to organize my blog reading better so that it doesn’t take up so much of my time!
Peculiar is interesting to me. I love peculiar actors. But I can’t picture Russell Crowe friends with Tom Cruise. They seem like complete opposites for some reason. Well, that’s nice! I think it was Leah Remini who said she was at Tom’s place once visiting, along with Will Smith and his wife, and Tom sort of “forced” them to play hide and seek. Like aggressively, haha. Of course, no idea if that’s a true story or not. I just know Leah’s out of Scientology now and probably can’t stand being around those who are still in it.
I remember Priscilla, Queen of the Desert very well. Not sure if I saw the whole t hing, though, for some reason.
We’re still in lockdown here in Cally. No one we know has gotten sick yet and nobody in the grocery stores has gotten sick. They say everyone’s fine. So it’s a very weird juggling act of feeling paranoid that germs are everywhere combined with “But where are all the sick people then?” Not that it’s not real….just so mysterious and invisible, you know?
I hope you’re doing well!
Yeh, I read far less blog articles now. Only from those I am in communication. In fact I’ve hardly been active on WP. I’m trying to get back into it again.
Yeh, I couldn’t picture Crowe and Cruise being close, but it’s true. I think it’s because of his former marriage to Kidman that he originally connected with Crowe, but I’m not certain. Haha, we sound like the tabloids.
You remember Priscilla very well, but didn’t see it all. That’s weird lol I recall a colleague of mine in the Navy (Female Officer) who said she got off on seeing Guy Pearce dressed up as a drag queen. lol
I’m surprised to read you are still in lockdown there. I also don’t know of anyone who has got it. Yes, where are all the sick people? Supposedly the ICUs here are at 70% capacity, so I fear it’s likely they will maintain our strict ‘Pico y Cedula’ lockdown until we get a Vaccine. Two days ago 160 people died from it here in one day. One things for certain, life really sux in 2020 and not just because of COVID and the quarantine.
Otherwise my family and I are doing well here. I really feel sorry for the kids during this whole Pandemic. Cheers amiga.