Rami Malek (Best Actor 2019, Bohemian Rhapsody) did a brilliant job as Jim Baxter, and as a Detective in general. He played every little detail from his body language to the dialogue to perfection. Right down to an incredibly intense performance at the end. Rami's character is a detective who is consumed by his case, this obsession is one of the things that drew Rami to the role. He may seem like an arrogant detective at first, but you soon see there are more layers to this character and this performance.
“It was the whole idea of when obsession starts to overtake so many other aspects of your life. I think it's a good thing to be reminded of. We get so focused on certain things, get so narrow-minded and have a certain tunnel vision about what has to be achieved in life and what we have to do, that we start to neglect the most important things and perhaps Jim gave me a little bit of that.”
Rami Malek even spoke to a few real detectives in order to get a better idea of how they work in order to perfect his role. It was in fact after one detective called and cancelled on him that he was given the mentality he needed to play Jim Baxter.
“He told me he couldn’t make it to an appointment we had set to do some research and talk about my character because he’d just come across ‘a fresh one.’ Those words stuck with me and haunted me. At some point it becomes commonplace for them that this is the job. There must be some type of numbing effect that happens for them, because I can’t imagine ever getting used to seeing what they see on a daily basis.”
This film also gave Malek the chance to work alongside and learn from Denzel Washington, and the two work incredibly well together in this film. Both with their different styles of acting and their characters, working together was a great thing to watch. Jim Baxter seeks out Joe Deacon's help with a case he's struggling with, knowing he's been there before, we see this happen in real life as well with Rami and Denzel as he took any opportunity he could to learn from the experienced actor.
“Personally, if I see wisdom and great instincts and experience in front of me, I lean on that. I think that was also inherent in the script. For someone who is struggling in a case, with so much building up, so much responsibility, to have the ability to lean on someone who had clearly been there before and seen something quite dark — there was almost a need to bring that person into your life and seek counsel from them. I think Baxter knew, in a sense, it could get him down a harmful road. But there was something advantageous to working with this man that could help him solve this very difficult puzzle.”