The Tragedy of Robin Williams

A few nights ago, Saundra and I got to the movies to see “A Most Wanted Man,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a stressed-out German intelligence agent bearing a heavy load of remorse and guilt. As always, you just can’t take your eyes off him. There is no distance between the actor and the role. Every gesture, every facial expression, is exactly right and true. And (without spoiling this great film’s plot) his explosive performance in the final scenes of the film is devastating. It’s as if all the character’s interior darkness, building throughout the film, is released in a shattering howl of anguish.
The film is all the more riveting knowing that this was one of Hoffman’s final performances, that he died of a heroin overdose. Saundra and I spent a lot of time on the way home talking about brilliance and mental illness, about what a dark place Hoffman had to access to play that role and about the toll that must have taken on his own psyche.
And now we’ve lost another genius, Robin Williams.