Chin-down Armitage

Paging back through stuff tonight, I realized how little I’ve managed to write about Richard Armitage lately — between various things that were going on. My second biggest problem moved out of the house last night, and it’s time to enjoy it! So, some more gestural contemplation and questions about the role gestures play in his acting.

Don’t we all love to watch the man move?

I noticed this gesture again recently. It’s one of Armitage’s signature moves: the chin move. Now, there are a lot of Armitage chin moves (for instance, the gesture to Maya to come into his house made by Lucas North / John Bateman in Spooks 9.3), but I’m interested specifically in the raise- and then pull-the-chin down move in transitional moments of movement.

For instance, in episode 1 of North & South, after Mr. Thornton tells his mother that Margaret won’t consider him a catch — as he’s grasping his ledger and turns around to face her:

Or in episode 1 of Strike Back, when Porter gives Collinson his weapon:

Or in episode 1.7 of Robin Hood, when Guy is preparing to have the necklace removed from Eleri’s neck for a second time.

In each of these cases, I feel like it’s a very subtle self-steadying move — asserting for himself his authority in each instance — and in the second, particularly, his command of the situation and masculinity.

Have you noticed this move? What do you think?

~ by Servetus on August 2, 2012.

12 Responses to “Chin-down Armitage”

  1. This movement amuses me a little, probably because of the strange combination of images. Alarmed or startled horse does this type of head movement.:) IMO, plenty of THIS will be in the repertuar of Thorin.
    PS: So,it seems that you have some breathing space,finally. I’m glad.

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    • let’s hope Thorin will do some of this. I love this move.

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    • and thanks for the good wishes; the last little bit has been and I’m so enjoying watching the rain fall at this second. (Also it hasn’t rained very much this summer)

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  2. I find that such an endearing gesture, as it shows in such a subtle way, that the character is troubled by the decision he has to make somehow, but still wants to keep his strength and the required appearance, which he needs to function for the outside world. It gives so much depth to RA’s characters and it always makes me want to console him ;o)
    So really a quite effecitve gesture.

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  3. I like this movement very much. It is quite subtle (as Cdoart says) when seen in motion, but often the stills capture the chin lift and exaggerate it somewhat. That’s why he is so much better when viewed in motion than in stills. (I love your clips!)

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    • I’ve thought that sometimes, too — that he looks really dramatic in still because they catch him in the middle of something.

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  4. It’s fascinating to see those repeated elements of body/face language repeated, always fresh in a new environment and context. (I wouldn’t catch half without servetus’ clips and screen caps!)

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  5. […] as a status tool is: Mr. Thornton! Another interesting point — in a subsidiary post I made on Armitage’s subtle jaw moves as assertion of comfort and authority, Joanna called it: “IMO, plenty of THIS will be in the [repertoire] of Thorin.” You […]

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