There have been countless examples of terrible accents in cinema. From Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins to Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood. From Don Cheadle's cockney to Brad Pitt's lyrical (comical) Irishman in The Devil's Own. The list is long and the culprits many.
All however, must kneel in the presence of one man. A man from East London who stands head and shoulders above them all.
A man who has been quietly and effortlessly (literally, without effort) pursuing a passionate one-man campaign to lay down a consistent and weighty body of the most incomprehensible and innapropriate accents ever committed to celluloid. Bar none.
And with the Point Break remake coming out this month, it's time to shine a long-awaited light on the vocal talents of one Ray Winstone.
Such has been his consistency in the field of cringe-inducing colloquial accents, it was hard to narrow it down to just five.
Watching and listening to these clips raises manifold questions.
Does he finish one of these scenes and think "yep, nailed it"? Or slink back to his trailer in silent embarassment? We're guessing the former.
Does he employ a professional voice coach, and if so, are they still working in the industry? Or have they retired early with post-traumatic stress?
How is it that directors and casting agents continue to ask him to inflict these accents on us? Do they not watch his previous efforts?
Perhaps the problem is that his cockney brogue is so powerful that leaving it behind is simply too big a task. A problem shared by Michael Caine when attempting to play a Texan in On Deadly Ground.
For Ray is perfectly fine when he stays within his safety zone.The Sweeney for example. When he strays, however, this happens:
The accent that first shone a global light on Ray’s astonishing inability. So bad, it’s almost good. Almost. And only if the brief was: 'do an accent that manages to switch violently between Louisiana, via Boston, back to Essex, stopping in briefly at some unknown corner of Ireland. Remember, Martin Scorcese let this through.
Extraordinary not just for the voice itself, but for the fact that Ray was hired solely as a voice artist in the first place.
Out later this month, Ray takes on the Gary Busey role as the 'boozy' partner who’s been there and done that. Everywhere that is, except the part of America where this shocking accent is meant to originate.
Winstone forgets what he is trying to do and resorts to posh Peckham.
Not so much a terrible accent as a complete non-attempt at an accent when an attempt is mandatory. Despite playing the poshest man in England – king Henry VIII, Ray decides to interpret his role as Henry Tudor by reimagining him as a South London doorman attempting to get a bank loan. Best line: “This country needs a mile ‘eir!" (41 seconds)