Thursday, 13 January 2011

Mr Kobayashi - Who Is He Exactly?


Played by the late, great Pete Postlethwaite, the mysterious and menacing Mr Kobayashi is the role I'll forever identify the chameleonic actor with. Famed for his ability to sink into a variety of roles, from the band leader in Brassed Off to alpha male hunter Roland Tembo in Steven Spielberg's The Lost World (who reportedly described the actor as 'the best in the world'), Postlethwaite's angular, ambivalent demeanour is at the heart of Bryan Singer's slippery, tricky tale. In a world where nothing is as it seems, and spinning a story can seduce and fool the best of them (credit Kevin Spacey's subtlety and Christopher McQuarrie's marvellous screenplay for that), the bizarre presence of this most British of performers playing the lawyer of crime lord Keyser Soze should strike a false note. He even sports a dodgy Welsh/Pakistani accent. But somehow, Postlethwaite's alien demeanour, accent and all, works brilliantly on a meta fictional level because both character and actor are freed from the constraints of perceptible reality, only existing in the world of Verbal Kint's story, which of course may or may not be true.

That is, until the final shot of the film of course ...

Regardless, it stands as one of Pete Postlethwaite's best performances. Rest in peace, you are sorely missed.

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