The next five acting turns featuring in films that perhaps left something to be desired, include one of Batman’s enemies, a gun-fighter of yore, a pop music icon. There’s even a butcher believe it or not. Not to mention a veteran actor who doesn’t even need words to be compelling. And that is where we shall start.
Max von Sydow / Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Oh gosh. Where to start with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Stephen Daldry continues his Academy Award rabbit’s foot, somehow nailing a Best Picture nomination for this, a droll, heartless journey – even for him. And with Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth at the typewriter, this is well and truly a forgettable venture. One of the very worst Best Picture Oscar nominees of any year.
Thomas Horn won’t even get any praise from me, an unlikable character, even with the Asperger syndrome and devastating loss of his father. It is the elderly, mute stranger – ironically – that wins over any heart that is not frozen by the rest of this mediocrity. Max von Sydow, a screen legend without any doubt, is heart-breakingly wonderful. The old man has his own traumas. Interacting with the kid via written notes, with “yes” and “no” tattooed on either hand, the magnificent, poignant von Sydow communicates with his audience immeasurably. – – – – – Robin @Filmotomy
David Bowie / The Man Who Fell to Earth
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a truly odd little film, sort of like if your goal in making a movie was simply to bottle the essence of late 1970s hedonistic popular culture. In it, an eccentric alien travels to Earth in a desperate bid to save his home planet, builds a wildly successful media company, only to become enmeshed in a world of sex, drugs, and apathy. Naturally, the only suitable candidate for this role was David Bowie (to be honest, this reads more like his actual origin story than anything else).
The film is wildly ambitious, and quite frankly a bit of a mess, but one thing that can’t be called into question is the otherworldly presence and emotional power that Bowie brings to the role. Although relatively new to the acting game at this point in his career, he acquits himself admirably, and his performance is made even more impressive considering that by all accounts including his own he spent the majority of the film’s shoot buried under a mountain of cocaine. – – – – – Audrey @audonamission
Daniel Day-Lewis / Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York is by no means a bad film, it garnered critical acclaim at the time of its release, and was nominated for Best Picture at the 2003 Academy Awards, but it isn’t largely rated amongst the best of Martin Scorsese work. It’s not quite forgotten but not exactly at the forefront of anyone’s mind, which is a shame because it is one of Daniel Day Lewis’ most immersive performance (and that is saying something!) His role of Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting is filled with a visceral violence, an unsettling seduction and intensity that is in a league of it’s own.
This depth is not surprising from Day-Lewis, a method actor known then and now for immersing himself physically and psychologically into preparing for and fulfilling the role, often putting himself in harms way. Daniel Day-Lewis has always been a fun enigma. He is just the right level of weird, and his selective acting choices means that we have often waited years to see him back on our screen – but it was always worth that wait. He is, ironically, a safe pair of hands in an oft inconsistent film landscape. Would you consider rethinking this retirement thing, Dan? – – – – – Jo @j_geaney
Tom Hardy / The Dark Knight Rises
Long before he became the anti-hero in Venom, Tom Hardy was covering up his face to become another anti-hero (although its debatable whether Bane is an anti-hero or a villain). When we first encounter Bane, he has a hood over his head, and is immediately a powerful, brooding and intelligent individual. Bane is threatening to Batman because he isn’t chaotic like The Joker, but methodical and ruthless.
Hardy’s face is covered for the entire film, and because of this, he has to express so much emotion with his eyes. Hardy still has plenty of dialogue to deliver despite having his face covered, and lines such as ”Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, moulded by it.” with relish and delight, mocking Batman at every chance that he can get. When Bane breaks Batman’s back, it is one the most shocking moments in all of the Batman films (both past and future films after Nolan’s trilogy had concluded).
Tom Hardy as Bane is utterly terrifying, at times, and completely ominous (his origins are unknown, making him just as threatening as The Joker). Although, not the strongest of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises still gives us an enjoyable viewing experience for Hardy’s performance alone. – – – – – Bianca @thefilmbee
Val Kilmer / Tombstone
In the early 1990s, there was a Kevin Costner gunslinger, Wyatt Earp, and there was the Kurt Russell version of the famous tale, Tombstone. The latter, directed by George P. Cosmatos (of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Cobra), features a fine cast of mustaches, and draws on a more cartoonized depiction of the old west that lead to the gunfight at the OK Corral. Tombstone was not a bad film per se, especially following the new generation of Young Guns, and the Oscar-winning Unforgiven.
It is the ubiquitous Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday that is by far the most impressive aspect of Tombstone. The film incorporates Holiday’s terminal illness, which just gives Kilmer opportunity to sweat his heart out. It’s a scene-swallowing portrayal of the flamboyant, charming, lethal killer. The actor is clearly having the most fun here, in all his exaggerated, mischievous delivery and postures. But it is a terrific turn in its own right, possibly Kilmer’s career best in a varied filmography. – – – – – Robin @Filmotomy