It is never too late to celebrate a great actor, Christian Bale, who captured everybody’s attention from the moment he starred in his first movie. What followed was actually quite under the radar. However, this period of time can also be considered some sort of apprenticeship during which the actor chiseled his skills in order to be called a Great.
When he resurfaced, Christian Bale literally exploded in everyone’s face, numbing everything in his way with his gut retching performances.
He might be called a character actor, which actually isn’t quite too far away from the truth given his dedication to his roles. However, our honest opinion is he is more than that, if that is possible – just look at any of his recent films and see how well he switches from one emotion to another, from one state of being to the next.
5. Rescue Dawn
True Story – this is the way one could begin speaking about this movie, which stays true to the actual events which lead to the capture, imprisonment, and escape of Dieter Dengler during the Vietnam War. Of course, all movies which try to depict any war in a realistic way will be impressive ones, even scarring at some point. However, Christian Bale literally gave everything so that he could feel what the actual war hero felt.
Of course, it isn’t all about his physical preparation for the role, but about the way he pushed the limits of his psychic, it is all about true terror in the end. How can you show the true horrors of the war if someone else is doing your stunts, if someone else feels what you should feel for yourself?
True story – when Dieter eats on screen maggots with a spiteful grin on his face, the maggots are real as well as the grin on the actor’s face.
True story – since Bale lost 55 pounds for his role, almost the entire cast decided to do the same. The director eventually entered the game, losing 30 pounds.
Rescue Dawn is a gem, a diamond in the dirt, which has passed too unnoticed.
4. The Prestige
Another almost overlooked performance, The Prestige is nowadays known because of the meme “When Batman plays magic tricks with Wolverine…” It is much more than that, as Michael Caine’s character might suggest. From the moment you have put a greater deal of interest on the magic tricks presented in the movie, from that moment you have missed the entire point of it.
As usually, Christian Bale surprises everybody with his take on a character which is torn apart between two obsessions – the obsession of leading a normal life and the obsession of being the greatest magician. The entire trick is revealed in the end – however, this doesn’t mean that the movie has lost its charm, like a magic trick which had its secret revealed. From the moment you have found out who this man really is and how he became dissociated and unique at the same time, you will push pause and then repeat. And then again, and again, and again, until you believe that you finally understood Alfred Borden.
It is all about how you create the character, about how you can be two and at the same time one without letting anyone notice anything about it.
Once word can sum up this role: Abracadabra.
3. American Psycho
This movie was the fire that lit the fuse which catapulted Christian bale into one of the top A-listers from Hollywood. Patrick Bateman is the perfect antihero, the monster which makes you feel sorry for his condition, the rich man that cries and makes you cry, and the cold blooded criminal which freezes the blood in your veins. Ultimately, Patrick Bateman is the perfect personification of the dual man, the man which wears a beautiful mask in order to hide his hidden scars.
Mind you, we didn’t say his ugly face, because Patrick Bateman is not necessarily ugly – but rather he is unbeautiful. Of course Christian Bale isn’t playing just the card of the misunderstood man, of the camusian outsider who doesn’t really fit in this world. The actor actually accentuates the lack of substance of Patrick Bateman; he rather lets us understand that each one of us can actually become Patrick Bateman if a certain road is followed.
Maybe that is what is really scary about the movie.
American Psycho is the reason why Christian bale was cast as Nolan’s Dark Knight.
2. The Machinist
When reading for the first time Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, one can only think about one thing: can Raskolnikov’s demons be my own?
If American Psycho made Christian Bale the superstar he is right now, then The Machinist showed everyone the length the actor will go in order to be one with his character. The story, with a twist in the end, is about a man which hasn’t slept for an entire year, a man haunted by paranoid visions, a man who eats himself from the inside.
While this is just a figure of speech, Christian Bale actually looks exactly like this – skeletal, without a single ounce of muscle, almost ghoulish.
There is nothing amusing about this movie, even if at times Christian Bale/Trevor Reznik looks in the mirror as if laughing at his reflection, as if being actually surprised to see someone on the other side. The actor is so immersed in the role that he literally transforms into… Raskolnikov.
Christian Bale lost for this movie 63 pounds and nailed the character. The year was 2004. In 2005 he became Batman.
1. Empire of the Sun
Christian Bale was handpicked by Steven Spielberg from about 4,000 other kids. Although this was the first time he starred in a movie, he stood his ground against the likes of John Malkovich and even more. If you saw this movie, than how many times does Jim ‘Jamie’ Graham literally outshines the experienced Basie?
What else can be said about this role? Some other great actors become great only on the principle trial and error – not Bale. Some other actors have to wait for quite a while until they get their first critical recognition. Not Bale.
Actually, Christian Bale received for this role the National Board of Review Award for Outstanding juvenile Performance. They actually created this award for him.
Of course, there are plenty of other movies which aren’t mentioned in here – from the Oscar winning The Fighter to cult classics like Newsies or even Equilibrium. We don’t even mention the role for which now Christian Bale is associated with the DC comics…
The thing is that it’s very hard to choose the best 5 movies of an actor who has had so many and so diverse phenomenal roles. If we made some mistakes, please tell us.
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