He saw the world in a way no one could have imagined
Running Time: 135 minutes
UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United States
I deliberately watched A Beautiful Mind without doing any prior research into the story of its subject, John Nash. And, for the record, its not because I couldnt be bothered. Well, not just that, anyway.
We all know that Hollywood has a tendency to skew real life. Whenever you read the caption based on a true story you can generally assume the based on part carries substantially more resonance than the true part. So the fact that this Ron Howard-directed biopic of a Nobel Prize-winner turns out to be pretty darn far-fetched hopefully doesnt detract too much from what is in essence a very good film.
Kicking off in 1947, the movie charts Nashs remarkable rise to honours at Princeton University (he was an incredible mathematician didnt need a calculator or anything!), followed by his spiralling collapse into paranoia (he thought Red Commie swines were on his tail). In-between it all theres a blossoming if slightly unorthodox romance with one of his students (Jennifer Connelly), lots of highly confidential work for the Government, and a highly convincing imaginary friend.
The string of gongs this movie picked up in 2002 included Oscars for Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Picture. To me that seems a little excessive, especially given the at-times clunky screenplay and overly-melodramatic closing third. But what really lifts it way above the average is Russell Crowes outstanding display in the lead role. Ive never been a fan of the seemingly self-enforced macho exterior Crowe prides himself on in the likes of Gladiator or Master and Commander, but after seeing his performance in this one Ive developed a quiet respect for his indisputable acting ability. If only he would exercise the versatility of his talent more often
It's Got: A trip to the loony-bin.
It Needs: A straitjacket.
DVD Extras A double-disc extravaganza, featuring a choice of commentary from either Ron Howard or screenwriter Akiva Goldman, deleted scenes, production notes, cast and crew info, ten thats TEN featurettes, and a couple of trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 10/10
Alternatives:Flowers for Algernon, Rain Man
Calling it a Beautiful Mind seems a tad self-indulgent but its certainly a bloody good one.