Edward Norton

So, I thought this week was supposed to be actor week not comedian week. If I were to choose a comedian I would rip apart the one-note performances of Will Ferrell, but because I wanted to review a real actor I went for someone who can actually act.

"I want you to hit me as hard as you can."
The summer of '99 was a great time for movies. It was the first time I saw a little movie called "Fight Club." I didn't expect much from the Brad Pitt movie before seeing it but I walked out with a deeper expectation for what films can accomplish. It was also the first time I saw Edward Norton. He was perfect in the role and I think he surely outshined Mr. Jolie. I am biased because Fight Club is my favorite film but he makes the movie with his timing with the perfect dialogue.

After finding out that an average-looking, skinny guy could be such a bad ass, I was hooked. I found some of his earlier movies. His first was in the Richard "gopher hole" Gere thriller "Primal Fear." (sorry about the early 90's reference.) The movie was average but Norton's acting was spot on. I then watched Rounders. Another so-so movie but he played the scumbag friend very well. The third movie in the Norton marathon was "American History X." I don't know if I was quite ready for the prison scenes. But thanks to my patented hand covering the lower half of the screen I was spared from any unpleasantries. Did I mention that he was fantastic in that role and was big enough to bully me.
A theme of Ed Norton is that he does great in mediocre films. The Score is a great example of that. The film was pretty meh-tastic. But Norton, in the scenes where he played a mentally-challenged security guard, was extremely believable and not over the top (I'm looking at you Sean Penn). Another example that most people probably detest is "Death to Smoochy." The film is a guilty pleasure for me and Norton is perfect as the kids character who really just wants the best for all children but is surrounded by scumbags.

As a disclaimer, some of you might say "What about the Italian Job? He sucked in that!" I agree that it was a terrible movie and a terrible role that could have pigeon-holed him in mediocre film villain status, but in his defense, he did try to back out of his contract very soon into filming (probably because he realized the movie was moronic and he was acting against Marky Mark) but Ed couldn't get out of the deal. So yeah, the movie was awful, but I still believe he has integrity. He knows what sucks, even if he's in the movie.

I'm a huge superhero movie fan, so I am biased about how awesome the Incredible Hulk was. Yes, most people don't think it stands a candle to Iron Man, but for those who have actually seen it Norton is great in the role.

There is also the constant battle between "The Illusionist" and "The Prestige." While Prestige is a superior movie, Illusionist has more playback and isn't just leading toward a big twist.

I think Edward Norton will continue to be one of the greatest actors working and look forward to his upcoming movies. I give him four stars on the walk of fame.


LOBO said...

I have weird taste (tastelessness?) ... my fave male actors are Geoffrey Rush and James Woods, but only after Ed Norton.

You nailed it. Ed is great, often despite the script.

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