Best Worst Scenes (Accents) No.2 - Jonathan doesn't know English/Geography in B.S Dracula (hee hee...)
Guilty Parties - Keanu Reeves
When Francis Ford Coppola sets out to make an epic, gothic, love (-ic?) tale based on Bram Stokers Dracula, you'd expect that casting would be priority number one, even over his documented rampant cocaine consumption. Sadly, that ain't the case here. While there is a lot to love in this film (Gary Oldman is great, the central love-story is actually rather moving) the film falls apart when some of the ensemble are expected to act or even open their mouths.
Winona Ryder (as Mina Murray) may sound pretty silly, think English by way of a cyborg-Canadian. But Keanu Reeves (as Jonathan Harker) seems to struggle to speak in his native stoner accent. Asking him to speak as a well-educated turn of the century Englishman... Well thats just insane. Remember, this guy is the One (sneaky Matrix joke!) expected to stand up to and ultimately defeat Dracula.
We Need Nuns. Lots of Nuns.
Earlier in the film, when Johathan is the only character we have been introduced to, it is impossible not to notice that you are listening not to the character Jonathan Harker but to Keanu Reeves, an actor who until now had catchphrases consisting of the words "Dude" and "Bogus". Keanu's deliver is stunningly broken. Aside from almost certainly never having heard an actual English person speak out loud before, his approximation of an English accent gets overheated easily and needs cool-down periods mid-sentance. Mind you, even speaking with a measured flow wouldn't make this insipid accent sound any more natural then a Jamaican Darth Vader.
Jonathan Harker (Voice-Over) : Twenty fwifty Mhay, Byyyyyudapest. Left... Byyyyyudapest uhhh-ly this mwaoning. Thee... impwession I haid... whash the-at we whar leafing the wah-est... und intering thu EEEhh-ast.
Tee dick-strict I (h)am to eeenta... is in thu huuuuxtreme Ehh-ust of thu country... just on the buuuuorders of thhhhree sta-hates, Tran-sal-vaniha, Mol-oh-via hand Buke--oav-ina, in thu mhidstd of thu Car-p--hate-ian Mooo-unthains... wan of thu whildist und lu-heast knownh phort-owns uf Eur-up.
Firstly, where the fuck is Byyyyyyudapest? That is not a place. There is no place on Earth called Byyyyyyyudpest. Secondly, what is with the seemingly random stressing of vowel sounds everywhere? Thirdly, Keanu's "uh uh spageteeos" face at 1.45minutes. Fear or digestive problems? Fourthly, he sounds dreadful. Like I mean shockingly, appallingly dreadful. Is he deaf? Is Francis Ford Coppola? Lastly, STOP SNEERING! Every second line he lifts his lip like Mr.Ed the horse, stop it! (Sorry, I hate annoying micro-movements...). Though Gary Oldman (what a legend) does somewhat redeem things with one hell of an evil Dracula laugh at 2.02minutes.
The following video is a collection of early moments of accent attack with the train speech starting at 0.55seconds. If the video isn't working, you can find an external link by clicking here.
Oh and as a bonus clip, the single worst delivery of the entire film and Keanu Reeves testimony to how talent and success may not have any correlation whatsoever!
See you for the next one on our list at 4pm on Sunday due to my own inept time-keeping, til then!