And that role did get him his Oscar nomination. But the cynic in me says we'd be seeing his face if he had true breaking-down range. Ah, well. I tend to get suspicious when things are unseen or ''heard.''
My fault for focusing on the back-turned bit; it's a directorial choice that's just the culmination of some very powerful scenes by McQueen. By that point, he has established Jake Holman as so independent and emotionally isolated that showing him full-on weeping would be too much. He wouldn't allow his best friend to see him in that state; giving the audience a pass would seem exploitative and intrusive. Holman crying alone in the fireroom with his face unseen not only reinforces his isolation but also that he is not a fully-formed person, he is missing something important. The fact that McQueen has sold this character so thoroughly and naturally is maybe not an indication of range, but it is some impressive acting.