Jude Law. For a while, he was an actor who skimmed a lot of great roles and fell head first into bad ones. There are those out there who do not like him, whether that’s because his personal life affected our perception of him or because they didn’t like his acting. Either way, there are many naysayers. However, when you look at the collection of movies under his belt – ranging from great blockbusters to brilliant independents – you’ll find that Law is actually brilliant. His acting can really get to the heart of a character and translate that onto screen.
For the release of Black Sea today, let’s have a look at some of Law’s best work.
Honourable Mention: Dom Hemmingway. Because whilst the film is lacklustre, Law’s performance is pure gold. And Contagion, it’s the scariest virus movie of later years but I wanted to be a bit diverse.
Explicitly saying that these films were definitely romance, Law hits the nail on the head when it comes to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films. Mainly because, despite its stylist and enjoyable tone, a lot of the enjoyment comes from the blossoming relationship between Holmes and Watson as is every incarnation of the detective duo. Yet, there is something sincerely brilliant between Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock and Jude Law’s John. It’s wry, It’s hilarious and they bounce off one enough like a couple of school boys caught in a terror plot. And their off- screen pairing is even better; you’d think they were married.
One of the last Steven Soderbergh films went under the radar. Disappointingly so, because it was a ripe and tantalising thriller that collected some enormous talents in a tale about mental illness, medication, murder and deceit. Jude Law plays the Doctor Jonathan Banks whose life is flipped, turned upside down when a patient he is treating takes trial medication and murders her fiancé. The genius of Soderbergh’s work is the subtle flip that takes you into a darker film gradually. Law’s Banks is pulled through the mud of the press and judgement of his peers and as he unravels into obsession, Law astutely gifts it with this hefty realism.
I am a little biased because I could happily watch this film every day for the rest of my life. But it is the film that marked the renaissance period that launched How To Train Your Dragon. The story has a heart that many children and adults can happily be absorbed into: Jack Frost is trying to find his purpose after being taken into a life of magic and whimsy. The animation is completely stunning; icicles and frost that are heavily detailed to the extent they rival (and subsequently beat) Frozen. And the vocal talent is insane; Chris Pines centric Frost, Alec Baldwin’s Russian bad-ass Santa, Isla Fishers endearing Tooth Fairy and Hugh Jackson’s action hero Easter Bunny. But it’s the malicious vocal chords of Law that heighten the film with this fear. It’s his delectable tone that really brings Pitch’s scary ominous presence to the film.
The excellence in The Talented Mr Ripley is heavily placed on Matt Damon’s titular psychopath who infiltrates playboy Dickie’s life in the middle of Greece. This slow burn of a thriller that captures the heat of the sun along with the manipulative Ripley. As the tension mounts and Dickie starts to catch on, Ripley is soon thrust into (a rather brutal) act. Though Damon’s turmoil ridden Ripley is stellar and steals the show (as aforemented), Law’s rich and spoilt Dickie is greatly done. He is heinously unlikeable, especially when he (somewhat rightly) barks back at Ripley’s effort. Only Law can be swarmy and engaging all at the same time.
The sad news that great director Mike Nicohls passed away earlier this year sparked a wave of sorrow throughout the cinematic community. He’d gifted us with the fantastic The Graduate and Working Girl plus many highlights. In recent years, no stage to screen film was as impacting as Closer. As four people in London become embroiled in affairs, the evocative dialogue of Patrick Marber and the toiling relationships are completely enthralling. Law’s Dan, who is the man who starts the whole shitty thing, is defiantly done. Intellectual, poignant and absorbing, Closer is the defining drama of the 21st century.
Black Sea is out today