We all love when Leonardo DiCaprio cries, and we all love when Jack Nicholson screams. He yells a lot. He’s angry a lot. Yet, the dynamism to which he approaches anger with each new character he embodies is refreshing and strategized.
Some of his most iconic roles in films such as “A Few Good Men,” “The Shining,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and “The Departed” showcase the incredible range and attentive depth Nicholson maintains when he is acting. McMurphy is dramatically different from Colonel Jessup, and yet they both use anger as their source of authority and power.
Each scream and each gesticulation is calculated and reflective of the personality of the character. These controlled explosive moments of energy express anger and displeasure superficially, but the pauses or the shortness of breath between or before the next line showcases the remarkable talent of Jack Nicholson as an actor.
In short, it’s not just red-faced flailing. It’s a truly revealing element of a character that Nicholson has a natural mastery for.
Below check out a great video essay by Nerdwriter describing the mastery of Jack Nicholson and his Art of Anger: