In Gleeson's other roles, says Will Leitch, "there is always a light of intelligence in his eyes, a deep inner life that’s hidden but evident. What’s most remarkable about his Trump, though, is that he has shut off that light. He has superficial physical similarities to Trump, but he is not doing an impression. What he does is use actorly technique to find the soul underneath his character only to discover that … there’s nothing there. Gleeson’s Trump is just a loud, braying, utterly insufferable and completely unstoppable force of nature, a man driven by only one thing: His need to dominate and humiliate. Gleeson does not explore the reasons behind this: There are no soliloquies as he stares out the window and laments his unforgiving father and miserable childhood. His Trump is simply a bull whose superpower is caring not one single whit about anything but himself. The whole second half of the film consists of normal, sane people of every political persuasion running into him and being utterly flabbergasted by the fact that this person could possibly exist, let alone be the leader of the free world. Gleeson plays him with the instincts of a wild animal. It would seem impossible, but Gleeson and Ray, by framing Trump as someone other people have to deal with—rather than a person we all just sit and stare at every day—have shed light on a man I would have thought no more light could be shed on. Gleeson makes Trump make sense. He is not driven by ideology, or lust, or greed, or money. All he wants to do is destroy and devour everything in his path. The performance reminded me, in a strange way, of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Trump’s Gleeson doesn’t want anything: He just wants to see what happens when the world burns. There’s no plan. There is no second level: There’s barely a first level."
TOPICS: Brendan Gleeson, Showtime, The Comey Rule, Trump Presidency