Underrated Actors Part 3: Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt is one of the most famous people on the planet. But when you think of him what comes to mind first? Is it “great actor” or is it “pretty guy who married Lara Croft and now collects children and bad facial hair?”
That’s the problem with being one of the most famous people on the planet. People get too involved in what Heat magazine says about your choice of flip-flops and forget why you became famous in the first place.
In the last week I have accidentally ended up watching two very different Pitt films; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Snatch. At risk of recrimination, I have to admit I didn’t really care for Benjamin. I admired the idea and the work that went into it, but couldn’t help thinking it dragged at times. Having said that, Pitt does some great work, capturing the quirks of each age and somehow balancing a feeling of both naivety and wisdom.
Snatch on the other hand is all about that accent. Where did that even come from? Like Benjamin, Pitt can’t rely on his looks for this film, as they’ve done their best to make him look as greasy as possible, and he manages to add some depth to what could be a very two-dimensional character with a silly voice.
The film that really made me release that Brad is more than just a pretty face though was Twelve Monkeys. The twitchy energy he has is similar to what’s going on with Mickey, but on a much higher level. It’s an incredibly unhinged performance, which steals the show right out from under Bruce Willis and somehow gets you to sympathise with, and at times even feel sorry for, a maniacal lunatic bent on ending the world. The role was rightly nominated for an Oscar but was unfortunately up against Kevin Spacey’s Keyser Soze, and another loss to Sean Penn in ’09 means there’s still no little gold man to add to the Jolie-Pitt’s growing collection of miniatures.
Ocean’s 11 showed us that Pitt has great comic timing, while Fight Club….well Fight Club is just awesome all round. Even movie-with-the-worst-ending-ever-on-screen Meet Joe Black has some fine work in, before it gets ridiculous.
There’s a lot of Brad Pitt films I haven’t seen (I’m waiting for someone to tell me I missed out Se7en) because I’m not one of those people who will go and see a film just because he’s in it. When I do catch one of his movies though, I’m always surprised at how strong an actor he actually is. Looking through his filmography on imdb, you can see he’s tried to avoid stereotypical “hero” roles (much like Johnny Depp) to avoid being typecast, suggesting brains behind the blonde. Let’s hope he keeps picking good roles in future, and then maybe one day he will get the Oscar he should have won 15 years ago
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