Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on April 18, 2012

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Dear Robbi O'Quinn
Key Makeup Artist

Dear Robbi,

You makeup artists are masters of subtlety. The invisible perfection you paint on the faces of actors provides the camouflage they need to bear their souls to an unforgiving camera. Yet other times, you know that a little flare can go a long way. In films like The Dark Knight, Apocalypse Now and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, full-on war paint is essential for pushing a character through improbable dramatic turns and to suspend our disbelief. Lucky you - getting to apply both these principles to the real-life story of Canadian bank robbing folk hero Edwin Boyd.

Writer and director Nathan Morlando's washed-out colours and blown out skies led you in the right direction, creating an aura of depression that we don't normally associate with the postwar boom. The diluted palette accentuates the drained, desperate, and debonair look on Scott Speedman's self-applied game face, brought to life by simple shoe polished cheekbones, white face powder and performer's eyeliner. More than a disguise, you revealed something deeper about the anti-hero's struggle and fragility. But like all great make-up artists, you saved your talent for when it mattered most: the subtle aging process near the end, illustrating the toll of the lifestyle on the film's central characters.

Boyd benefitted from a time when 15 minutes of fame stretched into years, thanks to a still-fledgling Canadian media. Discarded as a soldier and disheartened as an aspiring actor, he eventually got his coveted close-up in the spotlight. You've earned yours as well, helping to round out an impressive and unconventional crime thriller that doesn't let the guns and glory conceal the details of what makes the story empathetic and human.

With a smile painted on my face.


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