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Actors Directors Film Gary Oldman Jean Reno Natalie Portman photography Predators Psychopaths

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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Fargo {1996}.

The 1996 film Fargo, a Coen Brothers masterwork, presents the story and precipitous moral/psychological decline of Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), the misadventures of the bungling kidnappers (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) whose “help” he enlists, and the dogged attempts of Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) to make sense of it all. Macy’s performance is mind-boggling, Buscemi and Stormare are brilliant, and McDormand carried away an Oscar for her finely-nuanced portrayal. Carter Burwell composed the memorable theme.

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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.

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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The Wicker Man {1973}.

The Wicker Man, an extraordinary, curious, classic cult film, debuted in 1973 and has only gained in popularity since. The movie stars Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, and a host of locals from the small Scottish towns where it was filmed. So many memorable moments.

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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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Actors Film Westerns

Liberty Valance.

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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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The Blacula.

William Marshall

The great William Marshall, with his stentorian delivery, and dignified/exalted bearing, brings much to the table in these two films.

{Revised with Full Intensity 7/6/2019}

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Actors Actors of Greatness Film Gary Oldman LΓ©on The Professional Psychopaths videos

The Gary Oldman.

{Note: Massively Revised 7/8/2019}

Gary Oldman, in a titanically twisted, iconic, canonical, epoch-defining performance, portrays psychopathic, corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield in the film LΓ©on, The Professional. Stansfield really gets down to some serious malevolent weirdness in the above video scene with would-be DEA agent-slayer Mathilda (Natalie Portman).  He calmly interrogates the young lady in ways that would bamboozle, unnerve, and intimidate anyone in human history. Throughout, the crazed but {mostly} composed DEA agent manages to be one moment menacing, the next pleasantly conversational. Stansfield presents an enigmatic, occasionally humorous, malevolent-ly inclined figure. Quite unforgettable.

In The Fifth Element, and True Romance, he displays the ability to simply do anything he wants as an actor. Both roles are quasi-humorous/sinister, but in entirely different ways. Masterful.