OSCAR-WINNING PERFORMANCE: Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah takes a tumble in the penalty area. — AFP Photo
Every now and then, certain actors hit the big screen whose stature alone is enough to put them head and shoulders above the rest.
Clint Eastwood for example. Whether he is a rugged cowboy, gritty gunnery sergeant or a maverick cop, Eastwood's screen presence alone is all it takes to make a movie a masterpiece.
You wouldn’t exactly call him a method actor, but let’s face facts, no one can play Clint Eastwood anywhere near as good as Clint Eastwood.
Sir Sean Connery who passed away this week at age of 90 is another actor in the same mould. Just take a moment to think about his movies.
In The Hunt for Red October he played a renegade Russia submarine captain, with a Scottish accent.
In Highlander he was an immortal sword-fighting hero of Egyptian descent, with a Scottish accent.
In The Untouchables he played a no-nonsense Irish policeman, with a Scottish accent.
And in a short cameo appearance at the end of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves he played the King of England with, you’ve guessed it, a Scottish accent.
Sir Sean never needed to method act, he never needed to dramatically put on, or lose, weight for a part, nor did he have to work as a New York cabbie for a few months to get into character for an upcoming role.
Sir Sean alone was enough to carry it off. He was that good.
This week Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah has also been labelled a brilliant actor by former footballers turned pundits after he won a penalty for Liverpool against West Ham.
Hammer’s manager David Moyes said the Egyptian forward dived to win the spot-kick, even though replays show clear contact was made.
But like Sir Sean and Clint, Mo’s presence alone seems to give others the impression he is an Oscar-winning performer. His reputation precedes him.
But love or hate VAR, you have to accept that yes, while he may have gone down in the box like his was shot by a sniper sat in Anfield’s Main Stand, he was fouled and therefore it was a penalty.
Did he make too much of it? Probably. Was his reaction to the contact a little over the top? Definitely. But was it a foul in the box and should it have been a penalty? Yes, absolutely.
It’s interesting that over the same weekend, Tottenham’s Harry Kane went down in the box against Brighton to earn Spurs a penalty.
Instead of acting, pundits praised Kane for his intelligence in ‘winning’ the penalty but personally, I don’t see what the difference is.
Salah used his experience to win Liverpool the penalty which he then got up and scored himself. Kane (oh, did I mention he is the captain of England?) used his experience to win Tottenham a penalty which he then got up and scored himself.
I’m really not seeing much difference here, yet one of the players was praised for his cunning while the other lambasted for his cheating.
Clint Eastwood and Sir Sean Connery were brilliant actors without actually needing to act. They both just played themselves brilliantly.
Mo Salah is a brilliant footballer who doesn’t need to act. But every time he goes down in the box from now until he hangs up his boots he will be accused rightly or wrongly of play acting to win a spot kick. — VNS