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I really don’t know what to say. It’s not like he’s a bad actor. He’s never sucked in anything he’s done.
It’s just he hasn’t been that good either.
Am I crazy? His breakout film Primal Fear, was a gimmick performance. Don’t get me wrong, he was more than serviceable in the role, but it’s a gimmick movie centered around a gimmick performance. We see them all the time on Law and Order, and CSI. It’s not all that remarkable. All those accolades heaped on Edward after the film’s release always left me puzzled.
Since then he’s showed up in every film, delivering his straightforward lines with the same bland, monotone voice. Sure, it’s not Keanu levels of absurdity or dumbassery, but the same even keeled delivery is there.
Edward’s big advantage is he seems like a pretty smart guy. I know he likes to write and contribute to the screenplays of his films. That I can respect (mostly because of the good results). He always seems to pick good projects and good roles, which again is a total compliment. In the age where most actors don’t seem to really get it, he gets it. For example, most actors like to mix it up between pay gigs with strategic prestige gigs… only they have no idea how to pick either. Instead Norton likes to do both but always approaches it from the strength of material perspective first. It’s nice to see.
I’m actually pretty excited for The Incredible Hulk (mostly cause I hear it’s pretty fun)
But still. As an actor? Just regarding performance?
He’s just not that good.
UPDATE: I saw the Hulk last Thursday, and dare I say it: I really liked him in that movie. He had a nice calm and focused performance. Good show ole’ chap.