I just read in the news that Joaquin Phoenix has announced his intention to retire from the acting profession. My first thought was one of shocked disbelief, followed in rapid succession by, why Joaquin and not Brad Pitt? Why Joaquin and not Travolta? Why Joaquin and not Gordon Brown? The first time I noticed him was as torn and impressionable Jimmy Emmett in To Die For and I remember that I thought him really unpleasant and even ugly. As I understood years later, this first impression was a good testament to his acting, for Jimmy is indeed that unpleasant.
But I won’t faff any further because, while I could reel example upon example, I know I would always return to his magnificent Cash in Walk The Line. At once at odds with himself and others, tender and insufferable, weak and yet determined, Joaquin pulled an ever-lasting performance rich and yet extremely subtle. If there is one actor capable to show without telling, to speak with his eyes alone, that’s him. I will slot Walk The Line in the player tonight, for I always think of it as the ultimate feel good movie, where the journey of the characters takes them someplace as opposed to back to full circle. And of course I am already praying that he will reconsider and if he won’t, at least he should convince Brad, Travolta and Gordon Brown to follow suit.