Friday, May 06, 2011

It Rains...You Get Wet: A Small Study in Contrast: Bishop and Rafe

Michael Alatorre, the outstanding writer and film scholar (who collaborated with Will Johnson last week on that amazing podcast regarding The Mist [2007]) on Day 5 of the Blogathon brings us a second remarkable contribution.

Today, at "It Rains, You Get Wet," Michael writes "A Small Study in Contrast: Bishop and Rafe," a highly-detailed and well-visualized post that compares and contrasts two interesting Lance Henriksen roles; that of Bishop in Aliens (1986) and Rafe in Johnny Handsome (1989)

Take a closer look at these two screen caps. Same actor, in two films about three years apart. But, acting and demeanor is everything here, is it not? And ‘contrastive’ is a word-and-a-half in this instance. Each image is a visual barometer for who these personalities are onscreen, by their very nature. Bishop (on the left) stands almost shyly apart from the other character sharing the frame in the foreground. At a glance, you perceive the being as intelligent, certainly curious, but strange and somehow non-threatening just by the look he evokes. In total opposition to that is Rafe (on the right). You instantly recognize the predator in the shot by threat and facial expression (and you get the feeling the other character in the frame would rather be in on planet LV-426 than where she is at that moment). And Henriksen’s eyes communicate everything. As supporting characters to the leads in their respective films, and therefore given only a fraction of the screen time, they still are the ones I most remember.

Michael, thank you for this great post, and I highly recommend everyone check it out!

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