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Appreciation for Gary Oldman

Why I Love . . . Gary Oldman

The Dark Knight hype machine continues to be gigantic. But as big as it is, it can't promote all the greatness: Between the rave critical reviews the movie's getting, the box office success, and Heath Ledger's performance that established his Joker as one of the classic cinema villains of all time, a lot of other pieces that made the movie so great have been lost in the shuffle.

Aaron Eckhart's performance as Harvey Dent, for one thing, was really brilliant and overlooked — and I keep forgetting that Gary Oldman is in the movie! That's a shame, since I love and respect him as an actor. So before all the hype dies, I wanted to share a little ode to one of the great (whom, yeah, I sort of have a crush on): Mr. Gary Oldman.

To see why I love seeing him pop up in movies,


Actually, I'm not that surprised he's been a bit of a footnote to the Batman coverage because he plays a good guy in the movie. Oldman is actually very well suited to playing bad guys, and that's how I'm used to seeing him on screen. In The Professional he played a corrupt cop who's so very bad that I get chills just thinking about his performance. And his character in The Fifth Element is so over-the-top that I probably should have giggled at half the lines, but Oldman is so freakishly good that he managed to pull it off.

Besides just his performances, I've heard lots of little tidbits about Oldman over the years that have always intrigued and impressed me. For example, that's actually him playing the piano in one of the scenes when he portrayed Beethoven in the 1994 movie Immortal Beloved.

To me, he's a welcome presence in Hollywood because he's clearly focused on the craft rather than the flashbulbs and has always struck me as a class act. Instead of wowing us with tight abs, he morphs into every character he's been asked to play: a good cop, a bad cop, Dracula, whatever. So I'm glad he's part of a major blockbuster movie, even if he's not grabbing the headlines. He's definitely got fans out there, myself included, who will always be glad when he shows up in a movie.


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