Robin Williams give his final screen performance in Boulevard, a low key drama from director Dito Montiel. It’s a well meaning effort which sees Williams play Nolan Mack, a 60 year old closeted homosexual who is caught up in a loving but tired platonic marriage to Joy (Kathy Baker). Nolan’s life is shaken from its slumber when he strikes up a friendship with a young street hustler named Leo (Robert Aguire). Nolan’s measured life is thrown into chaos when he falls in love with Leo but the pair’s two very different lives leads to a lot of friction.
Williams will always be best known for his broad comedy roles but he did try to rally against that, taking on a variety of dramatic parts. He’ll never really be remembered for these parts of course (even though he won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting) but he always delivered first rate work. His portrayal of Nolan in Boulevard hits certain notes in retrospect, with the actor playing a man with an inner darkness that he can’t escape. Williams gives a strong performance and Montiel’s film is a must for anyone who is a fan of the actor’s dramatic work. It’s not only Williams who hits his mark in Boulevard – Kathy Baker and Robert Aguire are also impressive, while Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk has a good quirky supporting role as Nolan’s life-long friend.
Boulevard may not have the explosive emotional moments which push little dramas like this into the awards conversation, but it’s a well-acted and presented film with several key sequences. It’s not a film that tries to impress with flashy images or camera work. However, it is an honest dramatic feature with an excellent performance from Robin Williams which will likely be discovered by many in the future.