When I first saw Robert Pattinson on-screen (in Twilight…Don’t judge me, I was a teenage girl at the time), I knew this was a talented actor who deserved better material. Pattinson had a James Dean vulnerability to him, with his long drawn out pauses, and awkward reserved body language, he gave off this bad boy attitude, but at the same time indicated that he had a sensitive side to him. Twilight wasn’t a great film, but that didn’t matter, it propelled Robert Pattinson into stardom. He could have easily become forgotten or typecast, but instead his career has gone from strength to strength because he is fearless in his decisions to take on roles which aren’t always glamorous or heroic. To celebrate Robert Pattinson’s birthday on the 13th May we will be discussing his most memorable performances.
The Rover (2014, Dir. David Michôd)
In this dystopian flick set in the Australian outback after the economy has collapsed, Pattinson plays a mentally impaired young man who assist Guy Pearce’s character in the hunt for the low lives who stole his car. With very little dialogue, the film relies on Pattinson’s body language and mannerisms to express his feelings and inner thoughts. Pattinson is Rey, a damaged rather innocent soul who has been taught to blindly obey and not to think for himself, a product of the uncivilised society he has been brought up in. Pattinson is almost unrecognisable as Rey who is a jittery anxious character, the nervous tics belong that we see disappear when he feels more at ease, however they instantly reappear in situations of stress. Pattinson blends into this character, and shows that he is more than capable on taking on the less glamorous roles, this is a film which may have divided some but is worth seeking out for Pattinson’s performance alone.
Cosmopolis (2012. Dir. David Cronenberg)
Marking the first of two Cronberg films on the list, Pattinson plays the lead character in this film, playing the role of Eric Packer. Packer is a mixture of Gekko from Wall Street and Gatsby. Pattinson present him as this remote, inscrutable and doomed figure, an anti-hero who is trapped within this world where money equals power, and power is everything. Set largely within a white stretch limo driving from east to west across midtown Manhattan, we follow Packer on a long day’s journey into a dark night of the soul. The purpose of Packer’s mission is to get a haircut but of course the film is more than just that. Cronenberg has a way of drawing the best performance from Pattinson and he is hypnotic to watch. Pattinson’s performance carries the film which may not be for everyone, but Pattinson has a way of drawing you in.
The Lost City of Z (2016. Dir. James Gray)
This true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s, may have been overlooked and considered ”too dull” for many viewers, however Pattinson is extraordinary in this film. Robert Patterson plays Fawcett’s companion Henry Costin,who I totally did not recognize underneath his facial hair as Fawcett’s most trusted companion on his trips. interestingly, Robert Pattins and Charlie Hunnam (who played Fawcett) barely spoke during the weeks spent filming Amazonian adventure film The Lost City of Z. Hunnam, told Screen Daily that he didn’t really bond with Pattinson, nor his on-screen son, Tom Holland. Robert Pattinson appears to be practically bursting at the seams to chew scenery as eccentric comic relief with deranged relish. And, perhaps because his performance over shadows Hunnam’s performance, the two actors failed to bond.
Maps to the Stars (2014. Dir. David Cronenberg)
Unlike Cosmopolis, Robert Pattinson isn’t the main lead of this film by director David Cronenberg, but Pattinson’s character and his performance is somewhat memorable. Pattinson plays the character Jerome Fontana, a shy limo driver with ambitions of being an actor/screenwriter. In a film full of larger than life characters Jerome is the ordinary Hollywood wannabe, the one with which we can most relate to. He is pretty much the only decent character in the film, and his diner scenes with Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) a timid, unusual young woman, are highly enjoyable to watch because they have a connection which doesn’t seem fake like everything else in the city of dreams. When Jerome mentions to Agatha early in the film, albeit half-heartedly, that he’s considering Scientology for better career prospects, it is an amusing dig at the lengths that aspiring actors go for their big break. And, like all young stars, Jerome reveals he is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get to the top, even if that means betraying his new friend. Cronenberg obviously knows what Pattinson is capable of as he continues to use him frequently, so lets hope that they team back up together soon.
Good Time (2017. Dir. Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie)
This is the film that proves just how good an actor Robert Pattinson is. Pattinson is the center of the action, withstanding the tyranny of the close up and a character so crazy with love for his brother that we root for Connie although he’s a small-time hood without a real plan. Connie is a nervy-eyed criminal who is thrust into a constantly escalating trip into the recesses of city nightlife, where stakes are always high and the outcome is looking gloomy. Pattinson relishes in the opportunity to inhabit this character and fully realise all his traits. His pretty-boy-image disappears into an expertly assembled composite of jittery mannerisms and a thick Bronx accent (which sounds authentic). You do feel compelled to sympathise with Constantine, and there are some real moments of decency by his character. But just when you may think this isn’t such a bad guy, he showcases another instance of unsavory behavior. That seems to be the story of his life—fleeting moments of hope, followed by swift slaps of grim reality that are mostly brought on by his own doing. It all caches up with Connie in the end, and the final shot we have of the character reveals everything he is feeling inside, he has lost it all, Pattinson manages to say it all in one blank, vacant stare into the camera. Pattinson should have been nominated for an Oscar for his performance, and this film proves he’s more than just a pretty face. If you haven’t already seen Good Time, please check it out. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Pattinson’s birthday than watching his greatest performance to date.
Did we miss any? Do you consider these films as Robert Pattinson’s greatest performances? Let us know in the comments below or via twitter at @filmotomy and @thefilmbee