There are some actors who are incredibly talented and very much overlooked. Many reasons can dictate this: someone else is more outrageous; another person may be more appealing to the tabloids that generate celebrity or simply because the actor has just not been properly noticed. Some eventually get recognition and manage to attract enough attention to receive endless offers of lucrative roles only to find that money isn’t always enough to satisfy wanting to perform in well-scripted stories. They may turn away from film in favour of other platforms such as television or theatre.
Christopher Eccleston is an actor many people will immediately know as the 9th incarnation of The Doctor in Doctor Who, but he is far more than that. As much as he is known for being picky about the roles he takes on, he is a talented dramatic actor who has tackled a variety of different roles and films. He is known for having a preference for drama, but his film performances deserve recognition. Here are some films he’s been in you definitely need to see.
So how can we discuss Eccleston's film CV without mentioning arguably the most famous film he's ever been in? The sequel to Thor sees Eccleston play Malekith, the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim on a quest for vengeance. Amongst actors of a younger generation such as Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth, Eccleston is able to maintain his own distinctive presence on screen. Maybe now Eccleston will start to achieve a more critically acclaimed reputation internationally beyond his TV timelord role? Who knows. All we know is that here in Thor: The Dark World he shows mainstream audiences just why he is rightly known as one of Britain's most talented actors in modern times.
This 1991 film was Eccleston’s film debut and what a debut it is! Starring as the tragic Derek Bentley, he takes us through the whirlwind this teenager endures with his brushes with the law. Many representations of people with mental disabilities tend to be patronising and somewhat insulting, but this is not the case here. Eccleston’s performance is pitch perfect in showing the naivete and child-like qualities in Bentley. It’s a no-nonsense kind of film and as explained in our review, it’s worth having a box of tissues at the ready before watching this film. It’s emotional power is hard to match.
Eccleston was still little-known when he was cast as David Stephens in the 1995 hit film Shallow Grave. This film sees him play the chartered accountant housemate of journalist Alex (played by Ewan McGregor) and physician Juliet (played by Kerry Fox). The trio find their fourth housemate Hugo (Keith Allen) dead in his room with a large suitcase full of money. They bury Hugo, dismembering his body to prevent it being identified and hang on to the money with dangerous consequences. The unfolding of David is brilliantly portrayed by Eccleston. It’s a psychological thriller that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. McGregor, Eccleston and Fox are all excellent in their roles. It’s no wonder this film was the most commercially successful British film in the year of its release.
This film is based on the book Jude the Obscure written by Thomas Hardy in 1895. It tells the tale of Jude, an intelligent lower-class man who has dreams of studying at university. Circumstances force him down a different route and after an unsuccessful marriage where his wife ran off to Australia, he meets and falls for his cousin Sue, played by Kate Winslet. What follows is a rough journey for the pair with their union having tragic consequences. The film is raw in emotion, simple in its approach and shows excellent performances from Winslet and Eccleston. The final scene holds possibly one of Eccleston’s best delivered lines as the down-on-his-luck protagonist. It’s a brutally honest film that leaves its mark.
This 1998 film is the first of two films with Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I. It shows the young queen at the beginning of her reign following the death of her half-sister Queen Mary I. She has to deal with a number of threats to her throne, including from the 4th Duke of Norfolk, played by Eccleston. His performance as the devious Duke is an excellent one. Whilst not as dramatic as some of his other roles, he still manages to hold his own in an all-star cast that includes the late Baron Richard Attenborough and Geoffrey Rush. His distinctive style works well in his period piece about one of the best known British monarchs who ever lived.
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