Second in a series of Telluride Film Festival roundups.
Joe Morgenstern called Forest Whitaker's turn as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland "one of the greatest performances of modern movie history." It certainly is great. In Whitaker's hands, Amin is a febrile beast who lunges off the screen. This is career-capping work by a respected and under-awarded artist.
And Venus smacks of "swan song." Peter O'Toole combines all his talents -- Shakespeare, slapstick, etc. -- into a grand and personal performance as an actor who's aging into irrelevancy. The man looks like a skeleton these days. All his physical grandeur is gone. But he is still master of the camera. No one has his gravity, or his luminescence.
Methinks we have our first two best actor Oscar slot-holders. Unless Whitaker slides into supporting actor, which he would win absolutely.
Also: Try to get your hands on an online clip of Carmichael & Shane, a five-minute "documentary" that cost its makers $20. Worth every penny, and then some.