Sunday, 21 August 2011
Paddy Considine gleefully unicycles along the thin line which divides genius and idiocy: he creates characters which seem to be broad stereotypes then invests them with depth and subtlety and brings them to life. He can convey a wide range of emotions, evoke a wide range of reactions: he can make you laugh, break your heart, scare the shit out of you. In short, he’s an actor. A proper actor, an idiosyncratic, charismatic guy who enlivens every production he appears in. Good or bad (and he is occasionally awful) he always gives value for money, and that means a lot in this strained economic climate.
I most recently saw Paddy in the excellent ‘Submarine’. Paddy plays Graham T. Purvis, a New Age life coach and aura expert. Self-styled Guru Purvis, with his martial arts moves and spiky mullet is an obviously comic character – almost anyone could play him and let the haircut squeeze a couple of easy laughs out of the audience. Paddy goes beyond this, though, to create someone who is ridiculous, yes, but also real. For all his swagger and life affirming psychobabble, Purvis is a mess: embroiled in a failing relationship, performing to half empty halls, living in a sparsely furnished house his aunt left him. His attempts to rekindle something with an old flame are similarly pathetic, culminating in a seedy sympathy hand job in the back of his grotesquely decorated van. The stigma of this second rate indiscretion drives him back onto the road, alone. It won’t be the last shame filled wank the inside of that van will see.
The best thing about Paddy is that he is actually in the public consciousness: constantly working, occasionally appearing in Hollywood blockbusters, lending his wonky talent to any number of productions, making them better, worse, far more interesting. I guarantee that in years to come, long after we’re all dead, people will watch his films and think ‘who the hell is that guy?’, and that’s pretty cool when you think about it.