Boiling Point: Accent the Negatives


Tom Cruise can’t seem to catch a break these days.  Sure, he’s rich, married, successful, a legend, has a motorcycle, and again is rich, but it’s probably hard to be the Cruisinator.  Take Valkyrie, the recent Christmas release retelling the tale of an assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler by members of the German military.  What was the main talking point about the film, long before it was even finished?  Was it the epic battles?  Bryan “I’m not that good” Singer directing?  An eyepatch?  No.  It was Tom’s lack of a German accent.  Really?  I’m grateful there wasn’t an accent, because most everyone, from A-List actors to Jerry in accounting, are horrible at fake accents.

It seems pretty ridiculous to me to complain about a lack of a German accent.  What’s the basis?  Because it’s factually inaccurate?  Well, I’m going to clue everyone in to a little secret.  Claus von Stauffenberg didn’t speak English with a German accent.  He spoke German.  So claiming there is a historical inaccuracy based on the accent is pure poppycock, because you should be complaining that he’s not speaking German.  Though if that’s the case, just rent Downfall.

How many times can you recall an accent that absolutely sucked donkey nuts?  Probably more times than you recall someone really nailing an accent.  Honestly, the only good accents that pop to mind right off the bat are Christian Bale (Many people never knew he even had an accent), Toni Collette (Her natural dialect is a very strong Australian), and… and… Sorry, can’t think of one.  Daniel Day Lewis, maybe.  Most of the time, they’re horrible.  Like Harrison Ford in K-19 Widowmaker, Leonardo DiCaprio in anything requiring an accent, or, recently, every single person in Punisher: War Zone, where they alternately slipped in and out of accents that were so outrageously bad even real New Yorkers thought the way they talked was annoying.

So I say if an actor can’t nail the accent, it is the director’s job to say “You know what, forget it.”  Just let it go.  I’ve got no problem with Cruise just being Cruise in the role.  His voice isn’t annoying out of character.  It’s not like he’s Matthew McConaughey, surfer dude, playing the role.  When at all possible, most celebrities should avoid accents at all cost.  The cost:benefit ratio is all screwed up.  Very few people get praise for their voice portrayal but dozens upon dozens get reamed upon.  So if you head out to theaters to see Valkyrie, let it slide.  Don’t pay it anymind.  Because hey, if you really wanted accuracy in films, Transformers would make no money, most films would need subtitles, and a lot of them would be boring as snot.  When I hear people rip on Cruise for his lack of an accent, or hear a horribly botched one, I go right past my boiling point.

What do you think of Cruise’s lack of an accent?

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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