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LΓ©on, the Professional {1994}.

LΓ©on, the Professional, is a brilliantly twisted and complex film focusing on the relationship between a good-hearted yet ruthless hitman, the young girl who comes under his guidance after her family is massacred, and the sociopathic DEA agent Stansfield, who performed said massacring. A certain houseplant also plays a significant role. Jean Reno and Natalie Portman are both exceptional, and Gary Oldman renders forth a truly iconic performance as the depraved, mercurial, cunning, pill-popping Stansfield. Each character has their own internally consistent moral code. Luc Besson directed this fascinating, haunting, offbeat, darkly comical film.

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The Missouri Breaks {1976}.

This offbeat, rather twisted Western presents the intertwined stories of Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson) and his good-hearted, somewhat hapless rustling gang, and Lee Clayton (Marlon Brando), a so-called “regulator” (hired killer) whose job it is to identify and curtail the activities of Logan, et al. As the film progresses, an ever-increasing sense of dread and disquiet permeate the proceedings, as it becomes clearer all the time that the eccentric Clayton is a ruthless, sadistic sociopath, who relishes his deadly machinations and depraved exploits. The bounty hunter’s bewildering array of accents and disguises also merits mentioning.

Arthur Penn directed this cult masterpiece, and allowed the actors, especially Brando, to find their own way with the characters, including improvising much of the dialogue. Idiosyncratically paced, this oddball absurdist comedy/western thriller deconstructs the genre to beautiful effect, and Marlon Brando’s incomprehensibly stunning performance ultimately defines and lifts the film to the very heights.

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Martin Vanger, Two Ways {2009, 2011}.

The serial predator and killer Martin Vanger appears in both the American and Swedish iterations of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. He is equally disquieting in both. Peter Haber portrays Vanger in the 2009 Swedish release, and Stellan SkarsgΓ₯rd does the honors for the 2011 American film. Both performances are brilliant, and chilling. Haber’s portrayal is more earnest and volatile, while SkarsgΓ₯rd is more haughty, detached. Both work perfectly.

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Actors of Greatness Auteurs Directors Film Film Music Michael Mann photography Psychopaths serial killers Tom Noonan

Manhunter {1986}, Directed by Michael Mann.

This Big Hush: Shriekback.
Coelacanth.

The extraordinary film Manhunter, filmed in 1986, features auteur-like vision by director Michael Mann, and memorable performances by Tom Noonan, Brian Cox, and William Petersen. Based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Manhunter possesses an eerie noir-ness, focuses often on the similarities between hunter and hunted, and resonates powerfully to this day.

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X-Files: Paper Hearts {Tom Noonan}.

The brilliant character actor Tom Noonan gives a towering performance as serial killer/child predator John Lee Roche, who may, as it turns out, be responsible for the disappearance of Fox Mulder’s sister Samantha—the entire crux of the series.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Brad Dourif epoch-defining Film Geniuses performers Photo-Editing photography Police Procedurals Predators Psychopaths Sci-Fi serial killers TV X-Files

The X-Files: Beyond the Sea.

The brilliant actor Brad Dourif gives a mind-boggling portrayal of convicted—and soon to be executed—serial killer Luther Lee Boggs. In this story, there’s a catch—a quite big one—in that the murderer claims to have acquired psychic powers, and might be able to help capture a predator who has abducted two people, and has killed ritualistically in the past. Mulder (David Duchovny), for one, is less than convinced.

In these two subsequent scenes, firstly… although Agent Scully would dearly love to converse with her recently deceased father, it’s quite possible that Luther Lee Boggs’ (Brad Dourif loses his mind, in the best possible way) intense aversion to the electric chair has even greater motivational potency. Lastly, in the poignant, haunting final scene (the final scene *we’re* going to present…), the correct warning Boggs had given to Scully ended up saving her life, and convinces her that he’s been telling the truth. He’s only willing to convey her father’s message if she is his witness when he’s strapped to the chair in a few hours. Is this one last trick, one potential last act of cruelty? Or does he truly value the agent whose life he saved? This ambiguity is part of what makes him such an intriguing character…and Dourif’s masterful performance makes Boggs truly indelible.

Amen. Simply one of the greatest performances I’ve seen, ever.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Arthur Leigh Allen Criminal Masterminds Film Obsession Police Procedurals Predators Psychopaths serial killers videos Zodiac Killer Zodiac {Film 2007}

Zodiac.

The Zodiac Killer was active—as far as we know—in 1968 and 1969, though he claimed in one of his notorious, cryptic, and, really, legendary, letters that he had killed (and was continuing to kill…) many more than the law department could conceive of. His five “canonical” murders were unusual in a number of ways: his “signature” varied from event to event; and instead of trying to conceal his deeds, he boasted and rodomontaded unabashedly and very publicly. When he gloated that he planned to kill schoolchildren as they “came bouncing out” of a schoolbus, panic ran rampant throughout the whole of Northern California.

The initial scene shows the strikingly cryptic, bizarre, haunting interview that Toschi {portrayed by Mark Ruffalo}, Mulanax {Elias Koteas} and Armstrong {Anthony Edwards} held with Person of Interest Arthur Leigh Allen {played by John Carroll Lynch, who gets it pitch-perfect}. By turns haughty, indignant, angry, and laconic, Allen kept dropping revealing, tantalising bits of information that certainly got the lawmen’s attention. They glance at each other, almost in shock, as the suspect all but reveals that he’s the infamous Zodiac. But not quite. An extremely intense scene.

The middle two videos cover one of the “canonical” Zodiac murders, and some of writer/sleuth Robert Graysmith’s unnerving detours into what may, or may not be false leads, this being a particularly disquieting episode with Bob Vaughn (Charles Fleischer).

The final video shows Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he enters the domain of Leigh, not to prove anything, but to look into his eyes “and know he’s the one”. He does so, and as it dawns on the chief suspect of the Zodiac investigation what is happening, his countenance morphs from pleasant, to menacing and cold.

This riveting film focuses, for the most part, on the remarkable degree of not only fear, but *obsession* that the never-caught serial killer instilled in people. This kind of obsession destroyed a number of lives; Paul Avery {Robert Downey, Jr.}, Dave Toschi {Mark Ruffalo}, and Robert Graysmith {Jake Gyllenhaal} are those examined in Zodiac.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Andrew Scott Criminal Masterminds Film Geniuses Moriarty performers Police Procedurals Psychopaths Sherlock TV videos

π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘–π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘¦ {π΄π‘›π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘€ π‘†π‘π‘œπ‘‘𝑑}.

Actor Andrew Scott turns in a bravura performance as criminal mastermind James Moriarty in the BBC series Sherlock. Truly mesmerizing.

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Christian Szell: Marathon Man {1976}.

The sadistic, notorious war criminal Christian Szell {portrayed memorably by Laurence Olivier} gets up to some nefarious goings-on in Marathon Man…until Dustin Hoffman finally captures him (…on film).

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Actors Actors of Greatness Peter Boyle Police Procedurals Psychopaths serial killers TV videos X-Files

π‘ƒπ‘’π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿ π΅π‘œπ‘¦π‘™π‘’: 𝑋-𝐹𝑖𝑙𝑒𝑠.

The mighty and imposing actor Peter Boyle portrays reluctant prognosticator Clyde Bruckman in The X-Files.

{Existential Moments…}

Mr. Boyle truly turns on the jets, and was nominated for {and won} an Emmy for this indelible performance. Power to spare.