Friday, July 15, 2011

Clive James on "Justified"

Scroll down past the boring stuff about the closing of some skanky tabloid. (Does the Telegraph realize it's spelled Olyphant?)
...the quiet astonishment aroused by Timothy Oliphant, who stars as Marshal Raylan Givens in Justified (5USA). He is human, yet according to the massed ranks of fainting women in my family circle he looks brave, strong, kind, dependable and totally wonderful: not like some men they could name.

Yet Justified would be a riveting creation even if it starred Steven Seagal, because it is just so brilliantly plotted and written. All involved seem keen to match the high standards of Elmore Leonard, a single one of whose short stories was the basis of the whole project. The show’s dialogue could be from a Kentucky fried version of Get Shorty, with an even greater range of nuance.

Graham Yost, in charge of the production, has an infallible ear of his own, so none of his writers can get away with anything less than perfection. Rarely, as the cool Raylan glides lankily about dispensing love and justice, have I heard an actor given such enchanting things to say. If you go back to Clint Eastwood’s early television apprenticeship in Rawhide, you will see that he learned to grit his teeth because he could do nothing else with the dead words they gave him. Timothy Oliphant has been luckier than that.
Don't forget you read it here first.

1 comment:

Christian Lindke said...

While I agree with all the commentary regarding the quality of writing, I think that Clive James is seriously underrating Timothy Olyphant. The first hint is his lack of care regarding the spelling of Olyphant, it's the first clue that he views the actor as a mere "channel" for the writing.

I've been a fan of Olyphant for quite some time. He has added depth to all the characters he has played. From "Broken Hearts Club," to "Perfect Getaway" to the "Scream" franchise, Olyphant is a joy to watch. Olyphant is given brilliant dialogue, but he also performs it brilliantly.