A Beautiful Mind

Another ‘bout-a-genius-drama from the turn of the millennium provides the most salient observation regarding this John Nash biopic – Gus Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting. Simply put, Russell Crowe isn’t Robin Williams. I know, who is? But without a performance of the latter’s calibre, the beauty of this title’s troubled mind is never realised as stated. Crowe’s stilted delivery and underwhelming body-language convey inertia rather than brilliance. Not bad, but not enough to lift competency into creditability. Elsewhere, a familiar biopic pitfall saddles the very end, where the narrative blitzes through 30-years of Nash’s life in what amounts to a Wikipedia-scanned hagiography. But the film’s strongest act, straddling the middle third, makes more of an impression than the finale’s faults. Here Nash’s descent into mental illness grabs the viewer too, and alongside imparting the sheer fortitude of will he required to function with it, is successfully dramatic. Which is pretty important for a drama.

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