In Defence

harlan and marlon

I hardly doubt he's the type of guy who wants people considering him an Egyptian God reincarnated. If he got mail like that, he might turn into a full blown recluse.


If you can't watch a Keanu Reeves movie without thinking "whoa" that says just 2 things - he was brilliant in his role as Ted, and you're an idiot."


Anyone who has watched bill and ted so often they confuse other KR characters with Ted needs to get out more. Seriously.


I do have some trouble understanding how somebody can say that "you could cut and paste his characters from movie to movie and still get the same dumb, marble mouthed lines and expressions". That just really doesn't fit. How can somebody cut part of his character from Something's Gotta Give, and glue it with say, his work in The Gift, and see at as even remotely the same? Or played the same? Nevermind the physical differences. Even in characters that had somewhat equal traits, like, for example, Conor O'Neill from Hardball and John Constantine, two equally hardboiled characters, there are still nuances: O'Neill was brutish, precipitated, he could hurt with blunt actions but then immediately regret it; Constantine had a suave demeanour where you could feel he partially enjoyed being that honestly cruel. Even in terms of intelligence of the characters: I had no trouble believing in the lawyer of Devil's Advocate, or the architect in The Lake House (although I do have something against Hollywood Asiatic remakes...)


Get over your hatred for keanu. The guy has more intelligence in his left nut than you will ever have!


Bashing Reeves for his acting skills, supposed "inferior" intellect, even his lifestyle...people, take a minute and think about it: it's a fucking mainstream trend. The whole idea of it clashes with what Keanu Reeves is all about - so OF COURSE he is the one punched and ridiculed all the fucking time, especially since he's so off the mainstream actors'/male characters' typical persona. Take a look around and show me one guy from Reeves' generation that has taken this unbelievably odd career route like he has. You won't find one, at least not a "major star" like Keanu's dubbed to be. And that is why it's so easy to make fun of Keanu. That, and his quirky persona.

Personally, what I love about Keanu as an actor is his dedication, his persistence: he may not be the most natually gifted actor around (and he definitely isn't - just listen to his flat tone of voice), but he's always had this drive to be "a good actor", like I remember him saying once in an interview when he was younger. The guy knows how to mix professionalism with punk attitude. And he fucking did it, man. He burst out of the 80's and he damn well survived the 90's, didn't he? He's a cool dude. And very, very fun to watch.


Many fans (myself included), are tired at the lack of fair, honest, rational criticism concerning Keanu Reeves' work. People that don't like his work seem to think it's reasonable to sit there and spew insults, such as the old, foolish, irrational, pretence humorous rants involving walls, paper bags, and several kinds of wood. Well, it's not reasonable: it's lazy criticism at best or brainless herd mentality at worst.


I don't think Reeves is DeNiro but I really can't see anyone playing these roles better than him. Who would've been a better Neo? Who else could've done some of the scenes in this movie? I wasn't expecting to like Constantine but it was a solid movie that, yet again, couldn't have been played by anyone else other than Keanu. If he has all of you convinced that his on-screen persona is the same as off-screen when that is in fact not the case, I would say that must make him a pretty good actor.


I leave the trailer after an hour, admiring Reeves. He really does seem to be decent, thoughtful, and real. And I'm ashamed of being such a snot about him before. But later, when I look at the transcripts of the interview, they seem surprisingly flat. At one point my transcriber has written in the margin: "I wonder if you can tell from the transcript how funny and adorable he is."

So I put the tapes back on, and Reeves comes back to life. And I realize that he's not a star because he's a bright and decent young man. He's a star because of his presence. The way he is onscreen, with that odd formal dignity, the air of decency, the way he cocks his head in puzzlement at the world--that's how he is in life. And he has that quality of acceptance that made Ted so sweet, that makes teenage girls dream of cuddling him, that made Bertolucci think of Buddha. The rest of us--D'Onofrio included, although he's certainly the more versatile actor--are more or less adequately representable. But Keanu is just Keanu. That's what they mean when they say an actor "jumps off the screen." He has an aura, a strong flavor; he is the tea leaves, we are the tea. The magic is probably obscure even to him, which is one reason actors suffer, but it's clear enough to the A-list directors who have wanted to work with him. And it is clear to me too, now that I've had the chance to see him in person. So I am glad that I came, and glad that I got to see them all, Vincent and Cameron and Steven and the rest, working so hard to put some life up on that screen. And I promise that I'll never say the words that dumb actor again. And that I'll always be ready to feel Minnesota...

Yearning for Keanu, Premiere (USA) - March 1996

KR hasn't said "dude" for twenty years now.

- stellala

Personally I was fairly surprised the first time I discovered the amount of Keanu-bashing there was going on, back in the days when I was still at the beginnings of my Matrix obsession and honestly couldn't see what exactly was so horrible about his acting. For one, Neo was the first movie character I was able to fully identify with, and a truly talentless actor wouldn't have been able to connect with the audience that way.

Maybe I was just young then (10) and not too perceptive, but even now after watching several more of his films I don't see what is supposedly so spectacularly bad about his performances. If anything, most of the criticism appears driven by the media, who have not been on good terms with Keanu since the 1990s due to his unwillingness to engage in tabloid-worthy acts and his insistence on staying out of the limelight. Since then, it has become the cool thing to make fun of him and his acting. There is a bandwagon very much in existence.

Anakin McFly

I enjoy watching keanu the majority of the time- ive seen every one of his films (just because im a complete movie nerd!) there are some where i thought he was wonderful (river's edge, the devils advocate, idaho, bill and ted....) and some where i positively cringed at the screen (dracula, little buddha...) Im one of these people that continue to see Reeve's movies because i like 'him', im a sucker for the under-dog and i love the fact that Keanu continues to have a wonderful career, get on board great projects and makes lots of money despite the fact he is not an incredible actor. He is one of the few a-list actors who has carried himself with dignity and maintained privicy his entire career (with the exception of the speeding mugshot incident, what a rogue!)

I think he fully deserves everything he has accumulated over the years.... and deserves a break. Im sure he's aware he's probably not the greatest actor the world has ever seen and im sure he's more that aware of the jokes that have been made at his expense over the years. the man should hold up his CV and bank balance to the world and give them the finger.


...In fact, if one thinks about it, it's hard to think of some other known actor that catches this much flake. Of course when Tom Cruise was announced for the remake of War of the Worlds, the general consensus was not particularly positive. Then again, the animosity against Cruise was most likely due to his personal antics with Scientology and Oprah spectacles.

Which makes this continuous hostility concerning Keanu's work all the more unfair: I mean, when was the last time you heard about any kind of scandal provoked by this actor? Or any kind of PR tricks concerning him?... But now you might jump up and say "Ah-ah! If Keanu still gets criticism it's because his work HAS to be bad!". And I say sure, because that's what you agree with. In all fairness, I look at his performances and I don't see the unintelligence, or the dumbness, or the woodiness some keep complaining about. At all. I see an actor with talent that pushes himself for his work; I see a guy who's able to convey emotions with a mere expression; an actor who is not scared about the physicality of a part, and a professional who is willing to go out, try a new challenge, get snubbed over it, but still come back for more.


What makes Keanu a puzzle is the lack of pattern in where he shines and where he bombs, IMHO. I mean, his better roles are the snarky lawyer, the depressed quarterback, the unwilling savior, the cop on the bus, the airheaded teenager, the philosophical dentist, the alcoholic poolshark, and the stoned undercover cop, and the flirtatious doctor. What's the pattern? These characters have very little in common.


Keanu is one of, if not the only, actor to hit on every genre of film without being, contrary to popular belief, type cast. Here is a man who has done suspense, horror, period films, independents, sci-fi, action, romance, Shakespearean, western, drama, comedy, and coming soon, foreign, with moderate to massive success. Something neither Caine, Rush, Hurt or dearest Depp has yet to do. Now yes, part of his success boils down to the pretty face theory, but at least he tries and as of recently does a pretty damn good job of it.

I think it's time to give Keanu a little more respect for what he has accomplished. Because let's face it, if he was as bad as his critics make him, he wouldn't be working 20+ years in a town who kills you off when numbers are low.


It seems every detractor ends up resorting to this insult against Keanu fans... "Your hero can do no wrong", "refuse to admit he has faults", "you're worshipping him" blah blah blah.

That's never the case. Every fan keeps admitting Keanu wasn't great in everything he was in, and yet the detractors still resort to the hero-worship snipes.

It's not the fans that are hero-worshipping, it's that most negative comments about Keanu make no sense and follow a weird contradictory logic. Like, he is wooden, but he is always Ted, even though Ted was anything but wooden; or he's emotionless, but then playing an emotionless alien is a bad idea; or he's dumb, and should only play dumb characters, but then 'he only plays dumb characters' is a sign he doesn't stretch as an actor, but then stretching as an actor proves he can't act so he should stick to dumb characters; or he "talks and looks weird" paired now with the newest one: he doesn't look or talk weird, just American, which pretty much tells me that people are now down to bashing him without even looking at him.

We've all heard about as many stupid insults that don't make sense as there are, and yet I have never seen anyone resort to hero-worshipping but pretty calm and reasonable arguments.


For Pete's sake... Keanu emotes, it's melodramatic; Keanu doesn't emote, it's wooden. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.


I have been a fan for about 12 years since Speed. For me, he is the total package, I can't specify which I like him more. His beauty, his shy smile, his movie roles (I like many of them), his getting better over years, his kindness........

I like looking at him, enjoy reading his news. and I love his movies, from Ted to Neo, to the recent Alex and Bob. Sometimes I can't help wondering if they were really played by one actor.


been a fan for a long time..cannot even begin to list the movies he starred or co-starred in that I loved...don't hate me, but I hated the Matrix and the one negative thing on these threads that I have to agree with, that beard was scary.

He has survived personal tragedy, ugly reviews, and these threads. He has the rep of being one of the most gentle, generous and kind people to work with...his costars are fans (and friends). He has no prejudices towards race, creed or sexual orientation...this guy is a good guy!


He can convey emotion on film without chewing the scenery.


Here's the real issue with Keanu Reeves: his skill as an actor doesn't come from the delivery of his lines. Rather, his best skill is the ability to convey loads of information and emotion through saying nothing at all. His weakness is with lines, everybody knows this. He doesn't have the ability to deliver lines without sounding like a surfer dude. But physically, he stands pretty well with some of the highest caliber actors around.


You know what's so great about Keanu Reeves? The palpable inner workings of his approach towards a character, how you can actually see a glimpse of the effort the guy goes through to make sure he gets it right in some scenes.

I believe most actors become and CONTINUE to work as actors for basically 2 very distinct reasons: 1. money, fame, attention and 2. a genuine love for the craft. In Keanu's case, one can actually see the love for acting on screen, as he struggles with himself, his character and his chosen profession, while always striving to do a good job, to do a BETTER job.


I don't think any fan wants to label him an "acting genius": they just want to see credit where credit is due. If anything, for ONCE, they want to see him fairly criticized, not stupidly pigeon holed by some critic who is too lazy, or too full of himself, or too insecure, so he immediately resorts to tired, artificial dismissals. Fans are tired of the bias. Fans are tired of people stating their opinions like they are facts. Fans are tired of wanabe-comedians inserting gag-inducing tired old pretence jokes whenever Keanu's name is mentioned. Fans aren’t generally saying he deserves an Oscar, BUT, that being said, I find it spectacular how some people keep giving credit to such awards like the Razzies, like that means anything at all: as far as I'm concerned that complete hack-show is fed by loathsome critics, industry vitriol and gossip trash. They don't care crap about acting, or good movies; they care about picking up the next industry weakest link or wild card to burn at the mocking stake.

It's not about elevating Reeves to anything; it's about pointing out the fact some people aren't the least bit reasonable when it comes to [criticizing] him.


There is one point that I will continue to argue on, being a writer who pays too much attention to these sort of things: each of Keanu's characters are very different. The speech patterns, body language, mannerisms, yes even facial expressions of each character are not the same. Each is a unique person. They give off vastly different vibes. There may be similiarities, but no more than that found among any random sample of the human population. I find him one of the few actors in Hollywood who has managed to create such a diverse range of individuals, and completely fail to see how people can consider them to all be alike; are we talking about the same actor here?

If anything, Keanu is amazingly versatile. Even if you insist that he acts badly, you still have to admit that he does it in many, many different ways and is probably the most versatile 'bad' actor in the history of cinema.

Anakin McFly

Those of us who've been coming around here for years have pretty much given up trying to have a halfway intelligent conversation about Reeves' work in a particular film, his strengths and weaknesses as an actor, his growth as a performer, and so on. It always devolves into people who slam or defend his acting without backing up their points with specifics, people who think that looking terrific equals great acting, and people who think he's gay or bi.

It got old years ago.


Keanu's either too old (as one can see with the all "OMG! What happened?!" gossip-blog crowd whenever a less flattering picture of the man appears), or too young (probably to people that have not seen him in anything past Speed); too serious (like I saw people complain over when the Plastic Man blunder plagued the Internet), or can't be taken seriously (probably by people that have not seen him in anything past Bill and Ted); not foreign enough (the fact that his face alone is a freakin' collage of about three different ancestries goes oddly unnoticed by these people), or too exotic (complaints I've seen in posts with this strange xenophobic penchant...)

Naysayers simply do not know what to say in order to trash Keanu Reeves. What leads me to conclude they do not know what they say, period.


Keanu isn't a GREAT actor, but he is a good one (his turns in The Gift and Thumbsucker could even had gathered him more praise than he got. It is a shame that his Bob Arctor is so underrated too) and really doesn't deserve the eternal bashing he gets, usually from fanboys. Aside the fact that he is incredibly humble and kind - just ask anyone, me included - who ever met the guy in person - he doesn't pose as a thespian, he doesn't go all the way Oscar cliché like so many of his peers. He makes odd choices in movies and has no fears about it, he just go for it. He likes and respects sci-fi and his turn as Klaatu is the best thing about TDTESS. I respect the guy, he is probably the most bashed actor in history (the go to guy to beat down) and even so you never read or see him babbling about it on the media. he only appears when promoting a movie, do his work and disappears. For me the guy is a class act and deserves his status in Hollywood.


I love Keanu Reeves. I love Johnny Mnemonic, Speed, The Replacements, The Matrix, Point Break, and Bill & Ted's. I will fight anyone (not with words, but with fists) who dislikes Keanu Reeves.

He is one of those "easy target" guys that everyone feels safe to pick on. Well not me, Keanu, I've got your back.


I've heard the reason Keanu gets to work with so many good directors is they just really like working with him. He is a complete professional, does a lot of research preparing for roles and comes to production meetings with reams of notes, doesn't have a huge ego and is basically a nice easy going guy who does what he's told without complaining, which is more than you can say for a lot of big actors these days.


Fanboys get a kick by bashing Keanu, it is like a 'trendy' thing to do. Most of them doesn't have any idea about how much good movies he has made and how good performances he had. It is always the 'Dracula' this, 'Much Ado' that, but they never cite River's Edge, Idaho, The Gift or the many great movies the guy has made.


As for Keanu's acting - enough already, he's more than proved himself. I remember thinking him as racist in The Gift wouldn't work - proved wrong; shook my head at the idea of Keanu as a lawyer - Devil's Advocate proved me wrong; then thinking him as a cop in the middle of a corrupt system wouldn't work - Street Kings proved me well wrong; hell, even Keanu as a doctor in Something's Gotta Give amazed me - he was flawless. Go back and watch his performanes in The Matrix movies, Constantine, even in the latest The Day The Earth Stood Still - they're all great. And Thumbsucker proved he's great with comedy. People still convinced Keanu can't act are just people who never want to - and never will - see it any other way.

Futon Fighter

For any hater out there, the answer to Keanu's strong performance in A Scanner Darkly is rather simple: rotoscoping's one hell of a technique - EVEN Keanu Reeves can turn in a good perfomance. I'm not joking, I actually saw this written somewhere on the net in a film review.

If he's not disastrous in a disastrous film - AKA Dracula - he's okay because the characters "fit" him (Thumbsucker, Bill&Ted, River's Edge) or he's not required to bring forward much of a performance (Speed, Matrix) or it's simply a freakish acting accident or something (The Gift).

Bandwagoning is one hell of a reviewing technique as well, don't you think?


keanu can do dark very well and he's known as one of the most seriously focused, dedicated actors in h'wood. the fact that anyone would compare him to ted logan at this point in his career is sad and ignorant. you can't really argue logically that the man "is" ted logan and neo at the same time, therefore he's a good actor. if you want to see dark and scary, watch "the gift". he plays a racist wife beater. and *cough* most excellently.


Whenever I'm out with friends and Keanu comes into the conversation (most likely it's me bringing him up anyway but that's beside the point haha) I become the official spokes person for defending Keanu's honor. Then I have a friend who actually likes him and was really into him since the Matrix but she still manages to bash him all the time. Why this is I do not know. I have taken it upon myself to try and wean her from this disgusting behavior and show her more of his other movies besides Bill and Ted and Matrix and point out as it’s happening when he is being really emotional or in pain or pissed or whatever, so that she can see firsthand that he is actually not shit at all. In fact he can be quite good. That scene in Point Break when his partner gets killed at the end and the way he's looking at him there… the expression on his face is heartbreaking. If he wasn't any good he wouldn't be able to almost bring me to tears. In a freaking action movie no less. I think he perfectly embodies all his characters and he shows a complexity as an actor that some actors can't even dream of. Not only does he say the lines but you can tell he's living it in his head, as a viewer you can easily imagine what the character might be thinking, see how he's feeling what the character is supposed to be feeling at the time. He is passionate about his art and it shows. It was ridiculous actually – when I was watching Bill and Ted the other day I was noticing how even in that movie at some moments, when he's not just being cute and silly Ted, he's really genuinely good in that too, really real; real sadness and dejection happening when he tells Bill in the car he’s going to Alaska if they don’t pass history class. He is a good actor and he will be around for a long time so people need to shut their holes and get over it. He's one of my favorites of all time. And in addition he's extremely good looking. :D

"I think people just misunderstand him and, yeah he can be way over the top sometimes, but that doesn't translate to bad. People just don't know how to handle some of the stuff he does, but he's just one of a kind. No one is quite like him and he definitely has him own style. I think most people place him in the "bad" category not because he is bad but because people aren't used to him or ready for him. I've noticed from all the movies I've seen that he does act different from movie to movie, very different in some cases. I agree that some genres work better for his acting style and also some directors or whatever bring out varying qualities of his. But I still think he can conquer anything he comes upon because he has the will and a genuine love for the craft. He doesn’t deserve this kind of ridicule and while not everyone is going to "get it" (some people just aren’t capable of it) it's still nice to not have to hear all their shit. As an actor myself I get people all the time saying "you're an actor. How can Keanu be one of your favorites if he can't even act." Sometimes I try to explain these things to them but with most people it's useless. As you said numerous times on the site, some people are just too stupid or ignorant to be reached. Some people will never “get it.” I get it, you get it; people on this site get it. So we shall band together and destroy anyone who tries to mess with the One. Because if you mess with the One, he will kick your ass. :D

"I was just reading some of your blogs and those first ones were so dead on. I agree with a lot of that and although probably no one can define Keanu’s acting technique and why it is good (cause when it comes down to it, he’s a still a mystery), we can still touch on some of it and make theories. I think him being a perfectionist has a lot to do with it. Some people just can’t get past the way he talks, whether he’s talking like Neo (quiet and calculated) or Ted (stoned and excited). But it’s like, go watch an interview, that’s just the way he is. But at the same time his personality doesn’t show through in his performances most times. He is still himself, but he doesn’t act like himself. All his characters are awesome for different reasons and this is why I’ve stuck with him so long. He’s got a movie for my every mood. Sometimes he’s exhausting to watch but that’s a good thing. It means he’s into it and that’s all you can ask from the actor in the movie you’re watching. No one can do what Keanu does and I look forward to his future endeavors. I can’t wait for Jekyll; I think it’s going to be freaking epic.