Monday, January 01, 2007

Delroy Lindo Quote of the Month: January 2007

May I present the Quote-of-the-Month Hall of Fame:

Yaphet Kotto: 2004

Keith David: 2005

Forest Whitaker: 2006

And presenting the next in line for the new year:

Delroy Lindo: 2007

(Of course, the title of the post was a dead giveaway. So much for building up suspense.)

Lindo has been a favorite of mine for quite a while. While I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I noticed the first three subjects of my quote series, I know precisely when I (along with, I'm sure, many other moviegoers) began to take notice of Lindo.

The first portion of Spike Lee's Malcolm X concerns the early life of Malcolm (Denzel Washington) when he still went by the last name Little and was a small-time criminal. When he meets a powerful gangster named West Indian Archie (Delroy Lindo), he gets a job as a numbers runner. Their paths divide after Archie tries to have Malcolm killed from a misundertsanding over a bet, and they only meet again years later when Malcolm has converted to Islam. He finds Archie in a far more desperate situation than when he last saw him: Living a poor existence in a ramshackle apartment and crippled from what appears to be the effects of a stroke.

Malcolm's forgiveness extends even to this man who once held a gun to his back, but this powerful message is surpassed by the performance of Delroy Lindo as Archie, who makes his physical transformation from ultrasmooth criminal into a pitiable shell of his former self. The following is the entire exchange from the movie:

Malcolm: How you doing, Archie?

Archie: My man, Red. Come here, man.

Malcolm: No, don't get up. It's all right.

Archie: Is ... really you, Red?

Malcolm: Yes, It's me. I came to, uh, just to thank you ... thank you for saving my life. When I think back to when we were on the streets of Harlem trying to gun each other down -

Archie: I wasn't going to shoot you, man. It was ... just my rep. You know? All I had was my rep. But now ... you tell me this: You did really have that number?

Malcolm: I don't know, Archie ... I really don't even remember, and it's not even important. The important thing now is to get you back on your feet.

Archie: You know, I have some angles ... ain't been figured yet.

(Archie nearly falls out of his chair, but Malcolm catches him.)

Malcolm: It's all right.

(He straightens him up and slides a stool over to prop up his feet.)

Archie: Help me with my arm. I need to exercise my arm. Yep.

(Malcolm bends Archie's right arm back and forth at the elbow.)

Malcolm: That's better?

Archie: Yep. It feels good.

Malcolm: Good.

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