Being paraded as one half of Hollywood’s favourite couple can make it easy to forget that Brad Pitt is an incredibly talented actor. Perhaps one of the best known names in show business (And one of the most attractive, according to the ladies), Pitt has been making great films for years, and almost always delivers great performances. Well, it looks like that could be happening again as today sees the release of Fury, a WW2 film with Pitt in the lead role. It’s getting great reviews so far, but what are the other essential films from Pitt’s career?
Honourable mentions: Plenty of good films to check out from this man’s career, such as Ocean’s Eleven, Moneyball, Snatch, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Interview with the Vampire, Sleepers, Thelma and Louise, Burn After Reading, Killing Them Softly, True Romance and 12 Years a Slave, of which the latter two would definitely be Essentials were it not for the fact that he only plays a small role in both of them.
Up first is a film from the weird and wonderful mind of Terry Gilliam, its 1996’s 12 Monkeys. In a future world, devastated by disease, a convict (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to gather information about the man made virus that wiped out most of the population. Brad plays Jeffrey Goines, the insane son of a famous scientist and virus expert, and gives one of the best performances of his career, for which he earned his first Oscar nomination. The film itself is brilliant, with a hugely intelligent script and astonishing direction from Mr. Gilliam.
Jesus Christ, eventually this film is gonna end up on Essentials lists for actors who didn’t even star in it! Yes, Fight Club has been in a few recent Essentials but come on, how can you talk about Brad Pitt and not mention Fight Club? Exactly. David Fincher’s 1999 mindfuck is one of the best films of all time; it’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s weird, it’s engaging, it’s rough, it’s a masterpiece that will be fondly remembered for as long as films exist.
Spoiler alert: Jesse James gets assassinated by Robert Ford.
Joking aside, this western does perhaps have the most spoilery (And ballsiest) film title ever, giving away the ending before you’ve event started. Never the less, it’s still an exceptional film. Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), who idolized Jesse James (Pitt) since childhood, tries to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader. Brad Pitt brings the famous outlaw to life in this sometimes slow burning film (At two hours and forty minutes in the western genre, it’s to be expected), with exceptional direction from Andrew Dominik (Who once again proved his talents in Killing Them Softly) and proof that Casey Affleck is extremely underrated.
More Fincher now, and Brad Pitt’s second Oscar nomination as the title role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Based on the short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it tells the story of a dying old woman named Daisy, as she lay in her hospital bed whilst hurricane Katrina approaches. She asks her daughter to read from her diary, the story of a man named Benjamin Button, a peculiar person who was born with the appearance and physical maladies of an old man, and gradually his appearance got younger as he got older. We see Benjamin’s life from his childhood, the historical events he lived through, and his romance with a younger Daisy (Cate Blanchett). This is less a film, and more an experience. It’s so immersive that it’s two and a half hour run time flies by, and as you can expect, Fincher does a top job of directing, and every beautifully shot scene is more enriching than the last. Pitt and Blanchett really knock it out of the park in this one, with some of the best performances of their careers, not to mention great supporting roles from Taraji P. Henson, Jared Harris and Tilda Swinton.
Up next is the should’ve been Best Picture winner of 2009 (Surely it’s common knowledge by now that The Hurt Locker is only average?), Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Pitt plays Aldo Raine, a First Lieutenant with a team of Jewish American soldiers with only one thing on his mind: Killing Nazis. The Basterds have a plan to kill several Nazi leaders, including the film’s terrifying villain Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), whilst a young French theatre owner (Melanie Laurent) plans to do exactly the same. Basterds is a masterpiece of modern cinema, and one of the best films Tarantino has ever made. It has a phenomenal script, a chilling tone, and great performances all around, especially from Waltz who won an Oscar for his incredible performance as the haunting Nazi Colonel.
It’s three for three on Pitt/Fincher collaborations, and concluding our list is one of Pitt’s earliest main roles, Se7en. Detectives Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Mills (Pitt) find themselves entwined in an investigation, searching for a serial killer whose murders are inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins, and pushes the detectives to the edge. What is there to say that hasn’t been said about this mid-90's masterpiece? It’s the perfect thriller; gritty, dark, twisted, engaging, and shocking (Well, not anymore, everyone knows how this film ends), and David Fincher does a phenomenal job of directing (And got to move on from Alien 3). Not just an Essential Brad Pitt film, but an Essential thriller.
What Do YOU Think?
Well that’s our list of the best Brad Pitt films.
There are so many to choose from, but what’s your favourite of his?
Could Fury be an Essential?
Let us know in the comments!
Fury is in cinemas now