Monday, January 3, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite (1946-2011)

The death of Pete Postlethwaite yesterday at 64 of cancer will undoubtedly be felt at the movies. He's been a regular key ensemble player for a solid two decades now. 2010 was another big year for him: He played the corpse in Inception -- the one causing all those daddy issues -- and he also appeared in Clash of the Titans. One more film is coming in 2011 (the British comedy Killing Bono) but for many moviegoers his last showcase on the screen will be as the flower shop owner in Ben Affleck's The Town (pictured left). The starry cast of that movie, Postlethwaite included, won the NBR Best Ensemble prize and a BFCA Ensemble nomination.

His odd but memorable features probably insured that he'd play his fare share of criminals. But despite his recent bloody role in The Town, Postlethwaite being the thorns in the rose bush, I personally associate him with more noble turns.  I first became aware of Who He Was when he was Oscar nominated as the title character in the Daniel Day-Lewis drama In the Name of the Father (1993) though I then realized I had already enjoyed him in Alien3 and Hamlet (the one with Mel Gibson); it's hard to forget that face. I was so in love with Baz Luhrmann's dizzyingly erratic Romeo + Juliet (1996) that Father Laurence, who sets all the fake death in motion to unfortunately disastrous effect, is still my favorite of his roles.

Shakespearean drug pusher.

Other key roles include: Amistad, The Usual Suspects and Brassed Off. What's your favorite Postlethwaite performance or movie?

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