Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Latest Reviews

Nomadland by Rob Gonsalves

Stylist, The by Peter Sobczynski

Hidden Man by Jay Seaver

Writer's Odyssey, A by Jay Seaver

Endgame (2021) by Jay Seaver

Tom and Jerry by Peter Sobczynski

Stylist, The by Rob Gonsalves

Rumble Fish by Jack Sommersby

Saint Maud by Rob Gonsalves

One Night in Miami... by Rob Gonsalves

Wanting Mare, The by Rob Gonsalves

Tenet by Rob Gonsalves

Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez by Rob Gonsalves

Judas and the Black Messiah by Peter Sobczynski

Minari by Peter Sobczynski

Nomadland by Peter Sobczynski

Rescue, The by Jay Seaver

Nomadland by Jay Seaver

Supernova (2021) by Jay Seaver

Down a Dark Stairwell by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Kevin Spacey - Profile
by Emma Quayle

In a film that features Sean Penn, Meg Ryan, Anna Paquin and Robin Wright, it seems a little strange that Kevin Spacey's name appears second on screen, just below that of Penn. Despite a career crammed with critical commendation, an Oscar for The Usual Suspects, and roles that have ranged from a nasty bug named Hopper to Seven's savage serial killer, Kevin Spacey is still supporting the star.

But here, of course, is where the irony lies. In his entire career, Spacey has remained an enigma. His role in a film is always well disguised. There is still a line between who Spacey is, and who he wants us to believe he could be. When you watch a movie just because it stars him, you will come out having spent two hours with Jack Vincennes, Verbal Kint, or even Hopper the caterpillar, while still knowing nothing more about the man himself.

Here, though, is a little bit. Born Kevin Matthew Fowler in South Jersey but raised in LA, Spacey led a somewhat exuberant youth. He was packed off to military school after an incident involving his sister's treehouse and some matches, and only escaped after hitting a classmate with a tyre (an act of self-defence, Spacey insists). At Chatsworth High School, and in search of tamer pursuits, he turned to the drama club, eventually appearing in a production of The Sound of Music with classmates Val Kilmer and Mare Winningham.

A two year stint at the New York drama school Julliard followed, but Spacey soon decided that acting for real was much more fun than just thinking about it. He made his Broadway debut in Joseph Papp's Henry IV, and after some off-stage work as an office boy, joined director Mike Nichols' theatre company. Most notably, he was involved with Nichols' stage production of his current film vehicle Hurlyburly. Spacey understudied for every role in the play, and eventually replaced Harvey Keitel as Mickey. He made enough of an impression on Nichols to win his first film roles, in the director's Heartburn (where he played a punk, alongside Meryl Streep) and Working Girl (making a few dodgy moves on Melanie Griffith).

Spacey grabbed some small parts in Rocket Gibraltar and Dad, but it was The Usual Suspects, in 1995, that won him the most acclaim. This, in turn, encouraged appreciation of his other early work: Glengarry Glen Ross, Consenting Adults, The Ref and Swimming With Sharks. A follow up effort, as Seven's serial killer, saw Spacey insist his name be left off the film's title sequence for fear it would tip viewers off. More recently, Spacey has released his directorial debut, the cold and claustrophobic hostage drama Albino Alligator. He equalled the efforts of Samuel L. Jackson as his unlikely ally in The Negotiator, and become the voice of Hopper for A Bug's Life.

But while these films utilise his versatility, it is Clint Eastwood's under appreciated Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil that pays most respect to the Spacey style. His brilliant character acting even became the film's chief selling point. Despite some accusations of over-acting, Spacey certainly captured the character of real life accused murderer Jim Williams. While on the set, even Williams' sister had to look twice when Spacey walked by.

But it is LA Confidential, Curtis Hanson's tale of grimy goings on in 1950s LA that plays most effectively with Spacey's iconic status, and his habit of playing the bad guy. As Jack Vincennes, the LAPD glamour boy who sets up celebrity drug busts to get his picture in the paper, Spacey is the film's most clearly corrupt character. In the end, however, the film becomes a perfect metaphor for Spacey's appeal. It's not perennial bad guy Spacey who's the real bad boy. He leaves the ultimate show of evil to Babe's fatherly farmer James Cromwell. Once again, Kevin Spacey punishes those convinced that they can predict him. ---Emma Quayle

link directly to this feature at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=22
originally posted: 05/08/99 09:10:04
last updated: 05/19/99 02:12:02
[printer] printer-friendly format

Discuss this feature in our forum

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast