Has Jai Courtney Found His Range?
I recently re-watched Suicide Squad and I noticed something I failed to see during my initial viewing in the theater. I was far too focused on feeling sorry for the editors involved in delivering this nightmare of editing to the cinema and feeling angry about the studio executives at Warner Brothers for essentially creating another Fant4stic that I failed to see the part of the film that I now like unironically: Jai Courtney.
You might recall in my review I wrote that I liked the performances of certain actors. In particular, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in spite of the film forcing her to work with an ill-defined character beyond basic backstory, elevating the character by her incredible acting talent. At the same time, I am disappointed that her incredible origin was wasted in a 5 minute flashback. It could have been its own Batman movie written/interpreted by Ben Affleck, which would have been amazing! That is still something I will forever want to watch but will probably never see.
Will Smith did a great job playing Will Smith. I like Will Smith, but you cannot deny that he essentially plays himself in every movie he is in. Smith was far too charming, and likeable to hate or even consider a villain.
Jai Courtney’s character, Captain Boomerang, is another story. Captain Boomerang, for all intents and purposes, is a dumb character. Not for his intelligence level. Dumb at a conceptual level. A former Australian special forces operative-turned-criminal who uses boomerangs is inherently ridiculous. Thankfully, the movie knows this.
Boomerang does not have the kind of manipulative backstory that Deadshot or El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) have to try and make you feel sorry for them. Boomerang’s a selfish jerk who looks out only for himself. That’s the kind of character who should comprise at least half of Suicide Squad. Boomerang doesn’t care what people think of him or what he has to do in order to get his way. He’s an unhinged, mentally deranged criminal who relishes his insanity. Courtney clearly is having a blast portraying this and relishes the crazy of this unhinged bogan (Australian and New Zealand term for unsophisticated, insane person). If Suicide Squad had been released as a more coherent narrative, and the mains tory was not the behind-the-scenes tensions between director David Ayer and studio executives, in addition to Jared Leto’s… shenanigans, I believe Courtney would be receiving wide praise for his portrayal.
In The Exception, Jai Courtney plays a somewhat disgraced German Wehrmacht (specifically Heer) Captain Brandt during WWII assigned to protect exiled German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Over the course of the film, Brandt falls in love with a Jewish Dutch Resistance girl (Lily James), who in turn reciprocates these feelings. I bought Courtney as the Captain. He was convincing, subtle, things I never expected out of Courtney. With this material that seems tailor-made for a stage, Courtney unexpectedly elevated his presence. Jai Courtney may very well be an unrealized theatre/Broadway talent.
I noticed Courtney is actually showing surprisingly good acting. I think Courtney may have found the acting that best suits him: crazy “let em run wild, fast and loose” weirdos, and serious dramatic roles. If this is true, then he needs to be given more of these kind of roles.
That’s all I wanted to say. Just needed to get this off my chest. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, and I hope I’m wrong about Jai Courtney being terrible as an actor. Hopefully these two roles are indicative that he’s finally found his niche in acting.
*Image Source: ABCNews.com