Over the top, scenery-chewing, hammy. These are words that are often thrown around lavishly while discussing an acting performance. But what exactly do they mean? An actor showing off his skills on screen? A lack of restraint in displaying emotions? Or just a plain case of a bad actor horribly miscast in a role? To quote the great Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah, “Every reaction is subjective and every assessment to acting is subjective.” This innate subjectivity is what complicates the whole issue while critiquing an actor’s film performance. Some actors tend to have fun with a film and go all flashy on-screen while being subtle as a feather in the next one. And then there are actors who are inherently flamboyant in their approach towards acting. Some people criticize Sean Penn for being a ham.
While I’m a staunch supporter of the good old restraint theory, I do disagree with them. Penn never really chews the screen. He pours his heart onto every scene and lets his emotions explode in a way that is not really subtle but effective, while staying truthful to his character. This article, however, takes a look at performances where the actor deliberately chooses to chew the screen or the films demanding them to do so. With everything said now, here is the list of most over the top movie performances.
10. Ralph Fiennes, ‘Harry Potter’ Series
Ralph Fiennes is a brilliant actor and rarely does he disappoint us with his incredible acting chops. He is that kind of an actor who can stand out even in the most miserable movies. His turn as Lord Voldemort, the evil wizard with an insatiable hunger for power and greed is a delectably over-the-top performance; one that stays absolutely true to the character and the film which is precisely why his approach works so brilliantly. Fiennes takes great care to not get carried away and doesn’t really chew the scenes but his devilish looks, relatively unsubtle ways of expressing the character and the bizarre voice make sure that Fiennes nearly threatens to steal the show with a terrifically wild act.
9. Jim Carrey, ‘Batman Forever’