Thursday, April 5, 2007

Snow/Shooter: Guy Pearce vs. Mark Wahlberg

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2007 at 2:33 PM

The Guy Pearce noir thriller First Snow opens tomorrow. Originally, however, we believed that it was opening March 23, the same day as the Mark Wahlberg action flick Shooter. I intended to write a combined review of the two films, with the "hook" of comparing the acting styles of the leading men, and had in fact gotten pretty far along when I discovered that they weren't opening the same day after all.

In the spirit of the "alternate beginning" kind of scene on a DVD, here's how the original story would have started out. Possibly, it may not have made it past my editor:

If Guy Pearce and Mark Wahlberg got into a fight, who would win? The star of Memento has a significant height advantage, but the Supporting Actor nominee for The Departed has more brawn and background as a brawler. Pearce's sharky cheekbones might meet their match against Wahlberg's puglike countenance.

But what if instead of simply matching up the two actors, you could see a rumble between gangs made up of every character they ever played? Memento guy might forget to throw punches at Wahlberg's hero from the Planet of the Apes remake. Pearce's scheming cop from L.A. Confidential seems like less of a brawler than Wahlberg's seething Departed detective. Maybe Pearce's drag queen from The Adventures of Priscilla could use a feather boa against Dirk Diggler's, uh, secret weapon.

A coincidence of two films' release – Pearce's low-budget film noir First Snow and Wahlberg's expensive action flick Shooter -- invites the comparison. Both have evolved past light, teeny-bopper early careers, Pearce as an Australian teen idol and soap opera star, Wahlberg as singer Marky Mark and sometime model. First Snow and Shooter mark not just the difference between two films and two careers, but two different approaches to screen acting. One takes on wildly diverse characters, while the other one finds subtle differences within the same basic, well-cultivated big-screen persona.

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