Denis Leary on Anthony Mackie

'Hurt Locker' star stands out with stellar turn

Anthony Mackie in “The Hurt Locker” is everything an actor can hope to be. So rock steady in his portrayal that you immediately forget every performance he may have previously given, and focus only on the character in front of you. So rich with energy and emotion that you cannot get enough of it. So finely tuned and detailed that each successive scene becomes an exercise in wish fulfillment. Yes, I need to know more, more, more about this person — the character, not the actor. Anthony was immersed, invisible, gone under. It was as if I’d never seen him onscreen before. The extended sniper scene alone had me not blinking or breathing out loud for I don’t know how long. Sometimes “great acting” is just showing off — chewing up scenery and dialogue and other actors — the equivalent of a theatrical sugar rush. That is not this. The movie is about a team of men and, within that team, each cog has its active pulse. Anthony’s performance fell under such auspices: he was a member of an astonishing acting crew, but more than that, it is impossible to imagine anyone else having played the part. Which, of course, is the ultimate accolade one actor can offer to another. In Anthony’s case I would offer up only one more word: “wow.”

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