If you're anything like me, the almost semi-annual relapse and recovery of Robert Downey Jr. has been an interesting periodic feature of the morning news. After a while one begins to question why does Hollywood put up with him when there is no shortage of talented actors desperately trying to make it in Hollywood? Why would producers and studios, who are so financially dependent on their productions going off without a hitch, take yet another chance on Robert Downey, Jr? Then I saw Chaplin, and I understood.
The intensity and power of the Robert Downey's performance in this film is the stuff of Oscars and true movie legend! It's both a beautiful performance and a beautiful film!
Somehow Sir Richard Attenborough got out of Downey the kind of performance that can sustain a career, and a legend. But Sir Richard's mastery didn't stop there. He got spectacular performance out of everyone, including a young, pre-X-Files David Duchovny. (I know I misspelled that. But you know who I mean.)
In summation, Robert Downey's performance is every bit the equal of James Dean's in Giant, East of Eden or Rebel without a Cause, and maybe that's what we should keep in mind. For unlike Dean, another self-destructive personality, Robert Downey has not driven off the cliff yet, and hopefully he never will.