Cinema is mankind’s most honest approach of representing the different manifestations of the human imagination and the realities around us. In every generic prototype of a movie, we have a protagonist who strives towards a set goal throughout the course of events. Cinema is a reflection of our society and just like in real-life, we often need help from different important individuals in our life, movies also have that one person – a sidekick.
In contemporary cinema, nobody fits the bill of a quintessential side-kick as much as Martin Freeman. The beloved Watson of modern day pop-culture, is the guy who basically becomes an important part of the narrative without ever becoming the focal point.
Freeman has a great mix of charm and British wit, and it felt like he was some kind of cheeky actor who had stayed under the wraps for a long time waiting to be unleashed to the humongous world of popular culture.
Martin has perfectly played the befuddled foil to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes, the hapless hobbit Bilbo Baggins on his first adventure and the ever-so-funny bestie of Sasha Baron Cohen’s AliG. Do you see the pattern here? He has been brilliant in almost every single thing he’s ever done but he has been always been eclipsed by a bigger star.
One of the biggest turning points in Martin’s career was his stint in the original The Office. Yes, the British one. When Freeman was cast as Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the odds were stacked against him. He was excellent in the movie but that’s the thing about pop-culture nostalgia, it’s exclusive for a few but extremely rewarding.
Freeman often plays the comedic ‘straight man’ in a room full of crazies, and that’s valuable. How else are we to know that crazy’s not normal in that world?
His characters are not without their differences but they’re almost always bumbling, awkward, and in some way miserable. But that’s exactly where the brilliance of Martin lies – he owns every role. He might not be what some refer to as ‘hero material’, but he’s the vital cog of the machine without who the entity (be it a TV show or a movie) feels incomplete.
Martin is like that cog that fits into every machine and only increases the efficiency.
One of the easier ways to understand Martin Freeman’s contribution is by comparing him to Rahul Dravid. Dravid is arguably the greatest player to have ever played for the Indian National Team. Every time he would play a brilliant innings, some other player would give the performance of their lifetime to take away all the limelight.
Even when the limelight isn’t effectively on a certain few individuals, it doesn’t really play down their role in the field. Freeman is the poster-boy of this fact.
He’s a nerd, not a geek. That might not seem a lot at first glance but that’s the exact difference between Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter. While one is great for hobby ready, the other franchise is qualitatively a good read. This obsession with excellence has driven Freeman’s career so far and we hope to see more of him in the future.