Monday, May 17, 2010

Frame Revisited

While manually capping "Frame" a few weeks ago, I adjusted my seatbelt quite often during my ride on the emotional roller coaster that was the Criminal Intent finale for Season 7. The above cap was my first one. I simply had to pause on that solemn moment of reflection as Bobby stood at his mother's gravesite.

What I was really looking for as I was capping the "teaser" was something that my friend Quietfire had once mentioned during one of our many discussions about this episode. She spoke of a moment when Vincent looked right into the camera and literally pulled us into Bobby's grief. And so began my quest for not only this pivotal moment, but the "frames" that would showcase the gift that Vincent has for speaking without saying a single word. I have said often enough that he can say more with one facial expression than many actors do with multiple lines of script.

The morning after Bobby tried to call Frank, we see him headed down a tree-lined sidewalk, paying a call on his brother. When he sees the police out front, he's curious as to what's happening, but when he's told that a junkie "took a header" out of his bedroom window, he knows it's Frank. He rushes through the crime scene tape, badge in hand, announcing "Major Case...Major Case..." so they will let him through. He strides purposefully down the alley, his shoes clapping against the cement, the sound echoing along the alleyway. And then...the moment he enters the courtyard and we get a look at his face, there are no words needed.

There's anger here...the kind that says, "Damn it! I always knew this would happen!" And maybe a bit of, "Why didn't I just come over last night when he didn't answer?" And there's apprehension, too, because he knows what he's going to find and he doesn't want to see it. 

Just before he lifts the sheet, he stops, pauses, with a look reminiscent of the one from the Season 6 episode "Blind Spot" when he opens the trunk of Alex's car and sees the tarp covered body, and for one horrifying moment believes it will be her that he sees when he lifts the tarp. Here there is also a hint of resignation because he already knows what he will find when he lifts the sheet, and along with that is a look of tenderness. The heart that loved his brother is being laid bare.

The first moment...the sorrow...the paradoxical disbelieving shock.

He's trying to pull himself together now, choking back the sobs, attempting to hold back the tears. Note the blind stare. His eyes are glassy now...the numbness is already setting in.

And now...the moment...Vincent looks squarely into the camera, pulling us directly into Bobby's pain and grief. We are no longer simply on-lookers...we are now a part of it. We are not observing...we are experiencing.

Just before the cut, it's over. He can't hold on anymore. I envision him hanging his head now, shoulders heaving as he tries to collect himself. Note the tears, and the way his eyes are narrowed as he fights for control.

This, my friends, is the beauty of an actor with a true gift for his craft. Bobby Goren uttered not one single word out loud throughout this entire scene. Instead, he spoke volumes in his silence thanks to Vincent's brilliant performance. Such exquisite sorrow. Beautifully done.

Bravo, Vincent. Bravo! Please consider this a standing ovation.