Richard Armitage’s amazing range of facial expressions

Sorry for the rather boring title. No time for a long analysis here, but I’m putting these down as a promise to myself for when I get back. I am most free when I am acting according to my will.

This is one of my favorite scenes in the film. (I’d post a clip, but I don’t feel like hassling with YT right now.)

Here, specifically, I love everything that Richard Armitage does with his face. So some screencaps that reveal an amazingly subtle range of thoughts and emotions going across Thorin’s face in just a few seconds — some microexpressions to tide me over.

In this scene, Balin (Ken Stott) has just looked at the sky and seen that something’s not quite right. Thorin (Richard Armitage) takes a look at the sky, and orders Balin to “Call out the Guard! Do it now!” Then he runs back inside on the balcony. He turns his head back to inform Balin of the dragon, and then yells out the news into the hall.


vlcsnap-2013-03-19-00h23m37s170Turning back to answer Balin’s unstated query, reacting to Balin …

vlcsnap-2013-03-19-00h23m47s14Then — THIS I LOVE — the slight softening, informatively, as he’s about to explain to Balin, gently, what he’s doing …

vlcsnap-2013-03-19-00h23m53s94Then, the realization of what he’s just said, as he looks back at Balin …

vlcsnap-2013-03-19-00h24m00s159… and the beginning of his attempts to read the sky … appraising …vlcsnap-2013-03-19-00h24m09s246…a bit of appraisal, realization of what’s about to happen starting to dawn …

vlcsnap-2013-03-19-00h24m15s56Full realization, and a hint of fear, register … just before …

vlcsnap-2013-03-19-00h24m22s121Thorin shouts out the general warning (here we see the syllable “dr” on his lips) …

vlcsnap-2013-03-19-00h24m28s181And the beginning of a warlike, frightened, inspiring, cry: “Dragon!”


Masterful, Mr. Armitage. I’m coming back to this few seconds. I’ve only watched them fifty times.

~ by Servetus on March 25, 2013.

11 Responses to “Richard Armitage’s amazing range of facial expressions”

  1. Artistry in motion…


  2. To be very honest, in the Erebor flashback I’m totally distracted by his face looking to “plastic”, probably too thick prosthetics as an attempt to make him look younger. *hides*


    • I don’t think it interfered with his expressive capacity, though. I got all that from a few seconds without even slowing the playback rate. I was in a rush. I probably should slow it down to frame by frame and see what else i can see.


  3. It’s true. It’s all true. So much subtlety and attention and care as an actor.


  4. Richard is so good at the nonverbal way of communication. My mind was thinking of such in my class tonight while our teacher was talking about nonverbal communication. Shame on me.


    • katie70, we in the teaching profession call this “students applying the lessons learned in class” 🙂 We love it!


  5. He has always has that skill, as you know, but I believe he made the best use of it when he played Guy. I am laughing just thinking about it! 😉


  6. It seems that overnight RA went from being completely unknown to having his image plastered everywhere I look these days — it’s a bit unsettling.


    • Hey, you left a comment that wasn’t a reply! Yay!

      He’s always been plastered all over here, though 🙂


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