About a month ago, I got a call from The Insider about critiquing Keanu Reeves for their You Tube Channel. As we all know, Keanu is a national treasure, so this was a daunting task! Who wants to critique a national treasure? I had to dig deep into the Keanu Reeves vault of films to see what I was up against, and boy was that a blast! I really got to see him and his work, it was an excellent journey. Here’s how it went. (video below)
In 2020’s “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” the long-awaited third installment in the “Bill & Ted” series, Reeves reprises his role as wholesome slacker Theodore Logan. It’s the role that turned Keanu into a young star back in 1989, launching a career that now spans three decades and an impressive range of film genres. Genres such as cutting-edge sci-fi thrillers like “The Matrix” to period pieces like “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”
The Canadian actor has had plenty of blockbuster successes along the way, while also earning his fair share of flops. So, what separates the highs from the lows? In this episode of “Good & Bad Acting,” acting coach and working actor Raquel Gardner (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) examines the evolution of Keanu Reeves’ acting, critiquing scenes from 12 of his defining roles.
Gardner deconstructs some of Reeves’ most celebrated roles, from his hero’s journey as Neo in “The Matrix” to his bloody revenge mission in “John Wick.” Unpacking Reeves’ comedic performances, Gardner analyzes the goofy appeal of his teen-slacker character from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and peels back the layers of self-parody in his “Always Be My Maybe” cameo.
Gardner dives into Reeves’ career as an action star, discussing the vulnerability he brings to his first big action role. In “Point Break”, she highlights a key moment he shares with Patrick Swayze at the end of the film’s famous foot chase. In another adrenaline-filled sequence, this one from the blockbuster thriller “Speed,” Gardner explains how Reeves’ distinctive cadence serves his role as the unflappable hero who ultimately saves the day.
Finally, she dissects Reeves’ mastery of his voice in the “I’m back” scene from “John Wick,” where he plays a grieving ex-assassin on a quest for vengeance.
Gardner also critiques a few of Reeves’ more divisive performances. She revisits his infamous “room service” rant from the ’90s cyberpunk flop “Johnny Mnemonic.” She also addresses his spotty accent work in “Dracula,” Francis Ford Coppola’s gothic horror set in 15th-century England. Lastly, she evaluates how he did with Shakespeare dialogue in “Much Ado About Nothing,” another costume drama.
THE HIGH POINTS OF KEANU’S CAREER
Towards the end, Gardner goes into some of the high points of Reeves’ dramatic work. She emphasizes the subtle physical acting he does alongside River Phoenix in the campfire scene from “My Own Private Idaho.” She also assesses his character work opposite Al Pacino in the supernatural horror “The Devil’s Advocate.” Raquel then tracks his transformation into the demon-fighting antihero from “Constantine,” the 2005 DC Comics adaptation that’s grown into a cult favorite.
Throughout the video, Gardner demystifies Reeves’ screen presence and distinct charisma, analyzing the unique set of acting skills he has honed over his career in Hollywood.
Take a peek here!
Clear thoughtful analysis. For something as subjective as a critique, Rachel makes it seem almost objective.
Thank you so much! This was definitely challenging yet fun.