As I’ve mentioned in some of my reviews, I have something of a “seek out” list – actors and directors (possibly to include producers, production companies and/or cinematographers at some point) whose work I’ll actively “seek out”. Sometimes it’s because I enjoy their work. Sometimes it’s because they’re popular and I want to understand the appeal. At this point, it’s an informal list, but I’m working to change that by documenting it with these articles.
Forgive the format… better yet, if you have recommendations on what format I should use, please let me know. I’m always looking to improve the experience.
First Memorable Experience: Though I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream first, he wasn’t necessarily memorable in that. Those honors go to his portrayal of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, a movie which I think is excellent… but I’d quite possibly never watch it again. I actually had the DVD in my hands, on my way to buy it at one point, and then I put it back on the shelf because I couldn’t imagine repeated viewings. That movie forever changed my perspective on nail guns and business cards. I’m not sure I could name an actor who would’ve done as great a job in that role as Bale did.
Favorite Performance: Though I love the Batman series that Bale did with Christopher Nolan, I prefer The Prestige in terms of a performance. It’s such an intricate film with more nuances than I could even begin to list. To top it off, I can’t even fully explain why this role is significantly better than some of his other work without giving away a key spoiler. Not only do I enjoy his work the most in The Prestige, but on the whole it certainly rivals the Batman films in terms of my enjoyment.
Second Favorite Performance: I’m very tempted to pick his character in Shaft, but then I’d be jilting Little Women. All kidding aside (as I’ve never seen those films), the way he transformed himself into being nearly unrecognizable in The Fighter was just incredible. Was that his best performance? Arguably, but we’re talking “favorite” here.
Brief Mentions About Other Things:
Nolan’s Batman Trilogy – Though I prefer the detective aspects of the Batman character to the internal struggles of Bruce Wayne, Bale’s portrayal is still by far my favorite live-action portrayal of the Dark Knight.
Public Enemies – Obviously playing second fiddle in his supporting role, Bale did a great job matching up with the star power that comes with Johnny Depp and didn’t feel over-shadowed.
Terminator Salvation – Realizing I’m in the minority when I say this, but I actually enjoyed the fourth installment in the Terminator series… perhaps more than the original film.
3:10 To Yuma – Despite not being a fan of westerns, this was actually such a good film that I went back and watched the original version as well. Typically when that happens, I end up enjoying the original more, but for whatever reason Christian Bale and Russell Crowe had significantly more enjoyable performances.
Rescue Dawn – I reviewed Rescue Dawn after seeing it for my Film Quest ’12, and it’s certainly a film which Bale fans should seek out. The role has a great variety of emotion which helps put his talent on display.
Equilibrium – It has been years since I’ve seen this film, and while I can’t specifically speak to the dramatic elements, I recall the action being really enjoyable.
Reign of Fire – An under-rated movie if there ever was one. The plot was great, the performances were spot-on, the special effects were incredible… Definitely a must-see.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – I’ve actually seen this twice, and Bale’s role was so minor that it’s probably not entirely worth a viewing, unless you’re a fan of Shakespeare or the other cast members.
Empire Of The Sun – No doubt about it, this is a must-see for Christian Bale fans. It provides a great perspective on his raw acting talent, as he wasn’t yet old enough to drive when this movie was filmed.
Other Work I’m Seeking Out
The Flowers of War
The New World (John Rolfe)
“Not Interested” Section
The Machinist – I’ve heard what the film is about, and while the plot seems mildly interesting, I don’t think I could stomach seeing how emaciated Bale gets for the part. Even still images I’ve seen from the film are partially disturbing.
Not that it would make sense, given the way the series culminated, but I’d watch another half-dozen Batman films with Christian Bale under the cowl, even if he didn’t lose the growl. Any time Bale and Nolan team up in the future, I’ll be there to see it.