These have been busy movie years for Morgan Freeman. He is a sought-after actor who exudes an authoritative voice and calm demeanor (IMDb).
But I am beginning to think that’s all he is – a fatherly figure with an authoritative voice and calm demeanor.
Is it the directing? The writing? Or audience expectations? What is putting a limit on Morgan Freeman’s acting?
Let’s look at his movies of 2013 and 2012:
Now You See Me (2013 PG-13). Morgan Freeman is a rival magician out to expose the motive and methods of the Four Horseman illusionist team, who have been using their magic to steal from the rich to give to the audience. Freeman does have one nice scene at the end where he is shocked to realize . . . well, I wont tell you what he is shocked to realize. Go see the movie, because it is a fun movie! But other than the ending, Freeman is still the authoritative magician messing with the others.
Oblivion (2013 PG-13). In this futuristic sci-fi movie, Morgan Freeman is the leader of the surviving humans on earth, who captures unsuspecting Tom Cruise as Cruise makes repairs and hunts residual aliens. Yes, Freeman is a cigar-smoking goggle-wearing leader of the rebellion, but never do you believe he will actually harm Cruise while he is tied in that chair.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013 R). In the first of many such movies out soon, terrorists destroy famous monuments of Washington DC and kidnap the president. I can’t remember what happened to the vice president, but Speaker of the House Morgan Freeman is left to be the acting president. He gives in to the terrorists demands, but with a calm demeanor easily stands up to the high ranking general to his left. Just as you expect him to.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012 PG-13). I didn’t get to see this conclusion to the Batman trilogy, so I can’t report on Morgan Freeman’s character. But from the image, he looks relaxed and happy and fatherly. A nice change of pace from the other tense and complex movies above. But this is probably just one moment in this dark and intense movie.
The Magic of Belle Isle (2012 PG). Freeman plays an alcoholic paralyzed author who gets sent by his grandson to spend the summer in a small town, with the hope that he will stop drinking and start writing again. He is befriended by a single mom with three daughters. You see him buy alcohol, drink alcohol, but not really act like a drunk. Perhaps it is because this independent film is rated PG, and has children in main roles, or maybe the script just can’t decide if they want a drunk, or if they want Morgan Freeman.
Morgan Freeman is always cast for the same type of roles, and he puts his own touch on them. But maybe that is what we want from him. And he is very good at it!