Celebrating a Brilliance of Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber
January 15, 2016 - accent chair
Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber doesn’t pronounce until a 25th notation of Die Hard, and when he finally does, it’s with a lighthearted threat of a bad man already overpowering of his role. That pre-speech small shoulder drop, a lifted hand, a sap “Ladies and gentlemen” as he calls for still like a Wimbledon chair referee and starts a prolonged criminal of well-developed burglar masquerading as general terrorist—his performance-within-a-performance is Mr. Rickman’s postmodern Dr. No to Bruce Willis’s blue-collar Bond. Rickman, who died Thursday during a age of 69, didn’t make Hans Gruber a initial charming Hollywood villain, though he competence have been a final to entirely charm us. While American audiences are suckers for accented enlightenment and tailored suits, a adore runs shallow; we wish to see a snob eventually get his comeuppance, preferably during gunpoint, preferably by a operative unbending who does it a tough way.
Bruce Willis’s John McClane does it a tough way. He runs barefoot over damaged potion and suffers a indignities of being shot, gut-punched, face-kicked, and karate-chopped. He swings from firehoses and crashes by windows. He falls down stairs and crawls around movement ducts. Meanwhile, Hans Gruber sits behind a desk, surrounded by pleasing group with pleasing guns, arising commands in that glottal hybrid of German and Received Pronunciation English (an accent my friends and we coined Die Hard–speak). Of march we secure for Hans a whole time. He had us during that small shoulder drop, during a light discuss of his exemplary education, and generally during his impatience for a trope he has been forced to play. This is not mocking posturing; Alan Rickman’s brilliance, a silky vitality that ran by each purpose he inhabited, was a outcome of empathy. He desired his characters. We suspected, we hoped, he would adore us too.
Genius mostly formula in a excess of adjective-noun pairings; censure this on a writer’s onslaught to constraint an ability over his grasp. Alan Rickman’s star in Hollywood’s empty constellation competence low over a decades, since he seemed to have no seductiveness in a kind of celebrity or liaison that can build adult a fable over time. He waited for us to come to him, and if we didn’t, c’est la vie, so ist das Leben. But with each observation of Die Hard that memory of Rickman will freshness into a supernova; Alan Rickman is dead, Hans Gruber lives on. It’s a insignificant compensation. I’ll take it.