Showing posts with label the duchess. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the duchess. Show all posts

6 March 2014

Top 10 Ralph Fiennes Performances

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Today Ralph Fiennes is one of Britain’s preeminent acting talents, and a household name. However, like all great actors, there was a time when he was unknown and still searching for his breakthrough performance. In honour of The Grand Budapest Hotel, his latest film, we’re taking a look back to the start of his career, and the notable performances that brought him to stardom.

Schindler’s list (1993)

Originally Fiennes dreamed of becoming a painter and began studying at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Soon, however, he found his passion in acting, and quickly transferred to London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Here he was taught through Shakespearean theatre, and after graduation in 1987, he performed on live stage for several years. Although he made his first film appearance as a lead Actor in 1992’s Wuthering Heights, his performance in Schindler’s List elevated him to star status. In this role, Fiennes played the chillingly cold Nazi officer Amon Goeth, and for his performance, he was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of best actor in a supporting role, and also won the BAFTA in the same category.

Quiz Show (1994)

Springboarding off his performance in Schindler’s list, Fiennes partnered up with actor-director Robert Redford for the 1994 Academy Awards best picture nominee Quiz Show. In it, Fiennes stars as a fictional version of Charles Van Doren, a quiz show contestant who captivated America in the 1950s by winning week after week. The only problem? Van Doren was being fed the answers the whole time, and when a disgruntled losing contestant reveals the truth, their scheme, along with America’s illusion, came tumbling down—fast.

The English Patient (1996)

Fiennes returned to the Oscar spotlight in 1996, this time leading another Academy Award best picture winner, The English Patient. Fiennes plays an archaeologist during WWII who has been badly burned in a plane crash and is struggling for his life in a French hospital. As the plot turns, and Fiennes’ past is revealed in a series of flash backs, a dangerous love affair quickly unravels. For his performance, Fiennes was nominated by the Academy again, this time in the category of best actor in a leading role.

Red Dragon (2002)

In 2002, Fiennes returned to the villain role to mark another chapter in the story of Hannibal Lector. For Red Dragon, Fiennes donned a fearsome back tattoo and took on the alter ego of the Red Dragon—a serial killing schizophrenic heavily influenced by the work of Lector.

The constant Gardener (2005)

Like a chameleon changing colours, Ralph Fiennes transformed from villain to hero once again, showing his incredible dramatic range in The Constant Gardener. In a film nominated for 4 Academy Awards, Fiennes plays Justin Quayle, a British diplomat living in Kenya searching for the truth behind his wife’s murder. Although he believes her death to be the result of an affair, he soon finds the truth to be much more lethal.

Harry Potter (2005-2011)

Using his previous stints in Schindler’s List and Red Dragon as an audition, Fiennes next transformed himself into perhaps the most notorious villain in young adult literature—Lord Voldemort. As the dark lord, Fiennes brought to life a character feared by both wizards and muggles. On screen, his transformation from the love grieving Justin Quayle in The Constant Gardener to the reptilian Voldemort is truly remarkable, both in physical appearance and performance

The Reader (2008)

Since the end of World War II, many films have used Nazi Germany as subject material, but very few, if any, have told the story from this angle. When a teenage Michael Berg is befriended by a woman (Kate Winslet) nearly twice his age, their friendship quickly turns physical. The affair burns out bright and quick, but nearly a decade later, the two have a chance meeting where Michael Berg discovers that Hannah, the only woman he has ever loved, was once a Nazi guard at Auschwitz. As an older Berg, Fiennes attempts to come to terms with the woman he once loved, and tries to make penance on her behalf.

The Duchess (2008)

Teaming up with Kiera Knightly, Ralph Fiennes put on a wholly convincing performance as The Duke in The Duchess. As the menacing husband of Georgiana (Kiera Knightly), Ralph Fiennes seems to reflect the tranquil nature of his surroundings. When his wife fails to produce a male child however, Fiennes puts on a brutally real performance, slowly abusing his wife both emotionally and physically. Balancing off this performance by Fiennes, the film peels back the surface layers of Victorian era culture, and exposes the sexist precedents of the time.

The Hurt Locker (2009)

In 2009, Fiennes teamed up with Kathryn Bigelow to provide a brilliant cameo in the best picture winning film The Hurt Locker. As Jeremy Renner and his partner make their way across the Iraq desert, they come across Ralph Fiennes and his squad of hardnosed mercenaries. Wearing a headscarf and flak jacket, Fiennes turns out a memorable performance, and gives perhaps the best recitation of the line “Sniper!” on film.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

In the new Wes Anderson film, Fiennes plays Gustave, a legendary Eastern European Concierge during the 1930s. As fictional locations, murders, and Futura typeface pile on in typical Wes Anderson fashion, Fiennes grounds the cast and centres the film. With Wes Anderson directing at the top of his game and utilizing a star-studded cast that includes Jude Law, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Willem Dafoe—just to name a few—The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the most anticipated films of the year.