|Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio lies dead while Harris is desperately trying to bring her back to life|
That scene absolutely floored me. Partially because of the editing and (thankfully) the lack of music, but Harris just gives it his all and literally makes his voice hoarse and violently shakes
Another great example of his awesomeness can be seen by his (uncredited) appearance in the miniseries The Stand. Harris has very few scenes (three or four, I believe), but he makes the most of it. Playing a general who is aware that a superflu that is killing off people, Harris conveys all the sadness, rage and helplessness of somebody who wants to stop the disease from spreading but is torn between wanting to help save the world and serving his country. And you want know how he does this? Just by his stare. No words. Just him staring at a monitor, focusing on an image of a dead superflu victim. His eyes say a lot more than any line of dialogue could. Not many actors can do that.
Apollo 13? The Truman Show? Anybody notice how similar these roles are for Harris? Think about it: both characters are in control of a situation that has settled into a routine, but quickly snap into action when that situation turns potentially dangerous. A lot of people thought that Harris played an evil megalomaniac in Truman, while in Apollo he played a caring flight commander. Well, I thought those roles were one in the same. It's another testament to his acting that he can play the same type of role in two movies and create two distinctly different impressions on audiences.
Even during his earlier years, you can kind of see a nervous energy in movies like Knightriders and Creepshow that comes into full blossom on 1983's The Right Stuff, where he played one of our most beloved American heroes, John Glenn. And when Harris needs to do over-the-top, he still manages not to pomp and vamp it up like some other actors. Witness Glengarry Glen Ross and State of Grace. Man, when Harris screams in those two movies, I almost jump back! In Glengarry, when he states that Al Pacino's character "has the memory of a fucking fly," I laugh, but warily, because I can practically see the vein in Harris' head, and it looks like it--along with his temper--is about to explode. Yet he still keeps it real.
So, in closing, I'd just like to say that Ed Harris is one of those actors who can instantly lend credibility to any project (save Stepmom and Milk Money, but we all make mistakes ). I have yet to see Pollack, but when the DVD comes out I will buy it sight unseen, because of Harris' presence. Well, and the presence of Jennifer Connelly too, but mostly because of Harris.
Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot? And anyone driving faster than you is a maniac!! - George Carlin