Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn features in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi extravaganza, Ready Player One, which releases today. Whatever film he is in, Mendelsohn consistently puts in a good performance and always integrates well into a wide genre of filmmaking.
I thought this would be a suitable time to have a look back at Mendelsohn’s career so far and count down his Top Five films. These films are based on both his performance in them and their quality.
5) The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises rounds off as the final film in Christopher Nolan’s superb trilogy extremely well. Mendelsohn plays John Daggett, a construction company owner who is a rival to Bruce Wayne’s enterprise. Although Mendelsohn only has a small role, he shares a particularly powerful scene with Tom Hardy’s menacing villain, Bane and Mendelsohn more than holds his own against the more popular villain here.
4) The Place Beyond The Pines
Mendelsohn plays a small role as car garage owner and mechanic, Robin Van Der Hook in Derek Cianfrance’s ambitious crime drama. The Place Beyond The Pines follows Ryan Gosling’s motorcycle stunt rider who robs banks as a way to provide for his young child and part-way through the film, he works for Mendelsohn’s character. Robin is the catalyst for Gosling’s character to start robbing banks as well as having a polar opposite personality.
3) Slow West
Mendelsohn plays the villainous Payne in John Maclean’s barnstorming debut Western, further proof of the resurgence of the genre. The performances are incredible and Mendelsohn easily holds his own against Kodi Smit-McPhee puts in a career-best performance and Caren Pistorius’s terrific debut. The film also features a wonderful Jed Kurzel score and multiple electric set pieces.
2) Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is an ambitious Australian crime drama in the vein of Martin Scorsese, director David Michod inspired by the Pettingill criminal family. Mendelsohn plays Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody, the psychopathic eldest brother who will stop at nothing to evade the law and seek justice. He is a particularly dangerous character who poses a huge risk through main protagonist, ‘J’, and particularly as the film advances, we begin to see just the extent of how far this individual will go.
1) Killing Them Softly
Andrew Dominik’s follow-up to the superb revisionist Western, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, is an interesting beast in the genre, running at a brisk 90 minutes compared to the typical 3 hour epic gangster films. Mendelsohn plays dog kidnapper and heroin addict, Russell, who along with Scott McNairy’s, Frankie, target a game run with dire consequences. Mendelsohn’s character is so prickly and disgusting both in appearance and his ideologies and the actor perfectly encapsulates this nasty character. It’s a wonderful performance in a strongly different film.
So there we go. What do you think? What did I miss? If you haven’t watched any of these films, I’d highly recommend you do so as they’re all really worthwhile and I hope this actor’s career continues to go from strength to strength.
Ready Player One is out now in UK cinemas