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For this post I’d like to discuss the career and my chosen favourite roles of Mr William Bradley Pitt. But where are some of his recent critically acclaimed films you may ask? Well, I can only list films I’ve seen and I have yet to see Tree of Life, Moneyball and Babel, so cannot include them. From what I’ve heard, they’d probably make my list. Alas, not this time.
- Tyler Durden, Fight Club (1999)
Mesmerising scenes, endlessly quotable dialogue. Became a cult hit largely due to Pitt’s character and performance. Raw, edgy, masculine and totally cool.
- Detective David Mills, Se7en (1995)
Here he convinced as a young, headstrong detective. The conflicting emotions portrayed in the climactic scene were astounding.
- Lt. Aldo Raine, Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Perfectly cast as the leader of the Basterds, with some great comic moments. His Italian scene was a classic.
- John Smith, Mr and Mrs Smith (2005)
Take two of the most attractive and charismatic stars in the world, throw in assassination, action and zinging one liners and what do you get? Pure chemistry.
- Louis du point du lac, Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Beautiful and distant with deep, melancholic eyes, Pitt played Louis the conflicted vampire perfectly. Watch his revenge scene.
- Jeffrey Goines, Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Twitchy, edgy, mischievous and full of mayhem. He was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for his performance in one of Terry Gilliam’s best films.
- Jesse James, The Assassination of Jesse James (2007)
This film divided critics. It’s beautifully shot with a strong, understated performance from Pitt. He gives James a melancholic weariness, which is both troubling and beautiful. The assassination scene will stay with you.
- Mickey O’Neil, Snatch (2000)
With an accent that was impossible to understand, Pitt’s take on the hard-fighting pikey gypsy was truly memorable. Switching effortlessly from wisecracking to intense, unwavering aggression.
- Floyd, True Romance (1993)
A year before – what I consider – his breakout role in Interview with the Vampire, he appeared as a stoner providing comic relief in this Tarantino scripted, Tony Scott directed film. Don’t con-den-sen-in me man!
- Jerry Welbach, The Mexican (2001)
Hapless, romantic, but well-meaning. Pitt gives Jerry a warmth and charm so you root for him throughout. An underrated performance.
In terms of characters, a mixed bunch. For me, Pitt is at his best when combining comedy and intensity. With the exception of Se7en, Interview with the Vampire and Jesse James, the rest of my list are – to a degree – comically driven characters. Or at least, that’s how he played them.
I think what defines a lot of his performances is charisma. Magnetism, sex appeal, the ability to hold the screen – whatever you want to call it, all the best have it. Take his scenes in True Romance as an example. Genius.