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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

daily list: top 5 Heath Ledger performances (after the Joker)

After you’ve recovered from experiencing Heath Ledger’s harrowing turn as the Joker, honor his memory — and lament what else might have been — with a look at these other flicks, in which the actor truly distinguishes himself:
1. Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain. If Ledger wins an Oscar for Dark Knight, it’ll be because he should have won one for his tortured Ennis. [my review] [buy at Amazon]

2. Skip in Lords of Dogtown. Ledger’s based-on-reality performance here as a 1970s skateboard guru is the first time I really sat up and took notice of the talent the actor was maturing into. [my review] [buy at Amazon]

3. Dan in Candy. The actor’s portrayal of a particularly twisted junkie is spectacular (if the film around him is a tad melodramatic), and of course feels a tad prophetic now. [my review] [buy at Amazon]

4. Robbie in I’m Not There. More prophecy? See Ledger’s troubled movie star (a riff on the demigodhood of Bob Dylan) for its takedown of the coddled celebrity. [my review] [buy at Amazon]

5. Casanova in Casanova. For pure joie de vivre — Ledger’s characters weren’t always about pain and suffering — don’t miss his delightful (and underappreciated) work here, which feels as much like play as an actor’s labor ever does. [my review] [buy at Amazon]

Ledger’s filmography at IMDB, if you need more, and more DVDs at Amazon

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  • Ann

    But does Ledger’s Casanova compare to David Tennant’s?

  • JoshDM

    But what about his role as a disgraced priest in “The Order” ? That was a great flick.

    Not.

  • Heath Ledger was fantastic as the Joker. He disappeared into that role.

    BUT…

    I actually think his performance in Brokeback Mountain was superior.

  • MaryAnn

    But what about his role as a disgraced priest in “The Order” ? That was a great flick.

    Not.

    And the purpose of this comment is… what, exactly? If you want to talk about Ledger’s performance in that movie — or in any movie — feel free to do so.

    But does Ledger’s Casanova compare to David Tennant’s?

    Both are excellent, but the films are very different. I’d recommend seeing both, not just because they’re both great but as an illustration of how the same basic material can result in wildly varied stories.

  • Anne-Kari

    Heck, I’ll comment on the performance in “The Order”.

    I love(d) Ledger in almost all things, but even he couldn’t begin to save “The Order”. In fact it’s the only movie I’ve ever seen him in where he just doesn’t look like he’s even trying.

    I think that the material was just too godawful.

  • bb

    I think he did an incredible job in The Four Feathers, as well…

  • MaryAnn

    I’ve only seen *The Order* that one time, but apparently I was impressed enough with him to think he needed to get away from that kind of crap.

  • Joshdm

    My comment was in regards to The Order being a lousy film, which coincidentally FX just presented on TV right after a Batman Begins showing.

  • MaryAnn

    I understand what your comment was about, but it was not on topic. Please stay on topic. If you want to talk about how Ledger was lousy in a lousy film, or good in a lousy film, that’s fine. But just dropping something like “that was a lousy film” won’t cut it in this thread.

  • JoshDM

    I like you better as a critic of movies rather than of blog comments.

    Though the above is a direct response the the comment that preceded it, to keep this post on topic:

    In all of his roles throughout his life, Heath Ledger was neither a heath nor a ledger. Discuss.

  • MaryAnn

    Just a reminder, JoshDM: This is my site, and I’m the sole police force behind it.

    If you want to be a dick, I can just delete all your dickish comments as you post them. And I will.

    In all seriousness, I’m delighted that we’ve managed to maintain a high level of conversation at this site. And I will do what I have to to continue that.

  • I preferred Ledger’s Brokeback Mountain performance to his performance in The Dark Knight.

    It’s interesting to compare and contrast Ledger’s “strong silent type” in Brokeback and Bale’s “strong silent type” in Batman. When Bale was younger, I thought he was a great actor, but he seems to choose the wrong material or something because I’m just not as impressed with him as an adult. But Ledger caught all the pathos of that type of character in Brokeback.

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