Monday, January 03, 2011
Most Mesmerizing TV Performance of 2010
I wrote up my favourite things of 2010 a few days ago, and I'm ashamed I forgot about adding something about this character in earlier. On Boardwalk Empire, there's a character played by Jack Huston named Harrow (a fitting name for the effect he has on people), who lost half his face in the Great War and has returned, horribly disfigured. He scares children, women, and even himself when, as he admits late in the season, he forgets what he looks like and accidentally peers into a mirror. He wears a mask on the show that covers half his face (this was a time when plastic surgery would have been expensive and couldn't have done what it did today, so I imagine these masks were more the norm) and seeing him on the screen is at once frightening and breathtaking. The mask itself is almost creepier than his actual face (which we see only once, fleetingly). He speaks in a growling voice (the blast that destroyed his face also permanently damaged his throat) and does so haltingly, because it's difficult to speak without drooling. As such, he can't drink or eat in front of others because he only has half his lips, and his one working eye constantly looks away from people while he talks to them, while the one in the mask stares constantly, almost daring the viewer to look away. Huston puts in a remarkable performance, and there was a scene in the episode where he was first introduced where he explains to Jimmy what happened to him that had me in tears. And every scene he's been in since that one makes me hold my breath to wait for him to speak. I'm completely taken with this character and hope he's in the show a lot more in its second season.