By Ian Crow
Casey Affleck stars and turns out his career best performance in his new film Manchester by the Sea. Centred on his character Lee Chandler, the story follows him in a very difficult time in his life where his brother dies and is then left to deal with the aftermath. Dealing with funeral arrangements, trying to connect with his nephew Patrick and bumping into his ex-wife in the street all take a toll on Lee’s life. Not being an open or emotional being, his struggle is evident as he bottles up all emotion that he has carried over the past few years and trying to juggle current events that are turning his world upside down.
Oscar nominated once before, I can see his second nomination coming imminently and I’m very certain that it might be second time lucky for the Boston born actor. If there is ever a year where an actor deserves an Oscar, 2017 is the year when Casey Affleck will get one. Providing us with one of the most true, personal, a genuine and powerful performance that you will see for a very long time, Affleck blows the competition out the water with this portrayal. By far and away his best performance on screen and what makes his piece so good is that his character is extremely relatable. He’s an average guy who’s trying to get by, has family issues and has dealt with loss and grief. Everyone can relate to that, and he portrays the emotion of the average Joe that is going through a tormenting situation.
Inexperienced director Kenneth Lonergan has upped his game and delivered his best piece of work to date so far. Manchester by the Sea only being his third directorial film, he has shown immense talent behind the camera and written a phenomenal script. The balance of drama with added comedy in the screenplay is a masterclass. His casting of Casey Affleck is a big ingredient in making that work so well, but trying to pull off comedy in a story like this is extremely tough, but he pulls it out of the hat and makes it work very well. His camera work is also incredibly impressive too; it also helps that the film is shot where the film is based. Its natural setting makes for a beautiful and natural backdrop on an emotionally compelling storyline.
The overall balance and tone of the film is absolutely perfect. Affleck’s performance is second to none and is brilliantly backed up by a great supporting cast. Lonergan’s directing and screenplay is also one to be praised highly. Without that, the film would be nothing. There is not a fault in this film and it pleases me to say that it has easily continued my great run of films in 2017. 5 out of 5 stars for the tremendous Manchester by the Sea.