Friday, March 11, 2011

Top 5 Films Featuring Aaron Eckhart

Aaron Eckhart

This list is in no particular order. These are just some of my favorite films that Aaron Eckhart, the actor and star of the new film Battle: Los Angeles, has been in over the years that I enjoyed either solely because of him or it was a generally well made and enjoyable film. I think it is only a matter of time before he gets his due, his name might not be well known but he is well liked as an actor and seems to make some fairly smart choices when it comes to picking roles. Even though I haven't seen all his films, I have seen enough of them to know that he is one of my favorite actors working today and these are some of my favorites films of his.


His first main stream commercial success. I can think of no other film that better displayed all of his talent in one go other than this one. It was a crime that at the time of its release the film itself was getting a ton of attention but he was mostly overlooked. His portrayal of a tobacco company lobbyist put a whole new spin on the title "Spin Doctor". Whenever he had to talk his way out of a tough spot he did it so eloquently that you never doubted for a moment that he could ever be taken down. Eckhart has the ability to be charming and suave while he literally rips you apart verbally which is a rare trait among many leading actors out there. The fact that his character works for one of the most corrupt and vilified businesses in the world and yet you still like the guy by the end is proof positive of his appeal as a leading man.


There isn't really much to say about the film itself by this point. But there are still some things to bring up about Eckhart's portrayal of Harvey (Two-Face) Dent though. There are plenty of actors that can play both the good and bad guy in their films but how many of them can do it in the same film? Especially while still making you feel sympathetic for him after he has gone over to the dark side. His holier than thou Harvey Dent was played to perfection, you never thought for an instant that this guy would hurt anyone physically. Even when he tried he couldn't do it for real, but when he transforms into the psychotic Two-Face his brilliance as an actor truly takes form. Not to take anything away from Heath Ledger's phenomenal Joker but I truly believe that Eckhart was overlooked at the time of the film's release because of that tragedy which is a shame. I think as time goes on though that people will begin to recognize what he did here and appreciate more with each passing day.


My introduction to the man, I saw this when it was first released and even then I could tell that he was bound for greatness. That cocky self assured nature that he showed us in Thank You For Smoking was derived from his devilish turn here as one of two men that make a bet involving dating and subsequently dumping and deaf woman just for kicks. The film itself is fantastic but borderline misogynistic to the point of not being able to stomach what these guys do to this poor girl. As despicable as he is just for going through with this wager, Eckhart's turn later in the film makes you despise him even more if that is possible. I would almost call this his first role as a villain and it was definitely a signal that we wouldn't be seeing the last of him. While it wasn't his first film, it was the one that got people to notice him.


There is no way I could ever defend this film. It is just a whole lot of dumb disaster movie fun that just so happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine. The plot about the Earth's core stopping and our governments idea to send a group of scientists into our big blue ball to restart it like an engine is completely ludicrous, but I love every moment of it. Plus you get to see Aaron Eckhart take on his first lead role in a big budgeted Hollywood film (up until that point he had mostly stuck to smaller films). As always he nails not only the character he plays but also the tone of the film, which is kind of a knowingly awful disaster flick. Gotta love that space shuttle landing in the L.A. river also. If you want to shut off your brain and enjoy a couple hours of mindless fun while also seeing Eckhart strut his stuff you can do no better than this.


Yes, this just barely came out and I am still processing it even after writing my review for it but dam it if it ain't a great alien invasion flick. I didn't really go into Eckhart's performance during my review so I will use this space to fill in that gap I suppose. His character is horribly cliched and you know his road to redemption is laid out with a trail of bread crumbs but Eckhart has this way of taking something you have seen a million times before and making it seem fresh again. He has a couple of moments in the film where he is asked to beat his chest as a proud American soldier which he nails of course but I found the quieter moments with him to be a lot more effective. To all the naysayers out there that are panning this film, would you rather had something more along the lines of Independence Day? Cause I will take Eckhart's strong performance over Will Smith's comical one any day of the week.


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