While most of us still associate Robert Pattinson with infamously bad “Twilight” saga, the British actor has been steering away from cheap and cheesy for quite some time, and in doing so, he’s been wildly successful.
Robert Pattinson’s rough beginnings
Robert Pattinson, a born-and-raised Londoner, didn’t dream of becoming an actor from an early age. He loved music and studied it until a second obsession with film came round. He eventually had to choose one of the two – songwriting or acting. And while music has never left his heart, he chose film.
Beginnings weren’t easy though.
His first role in “Vanity Fair” was cut out from the cinematic version, but, as a way of making it up to him, the casting director got Pattinson an audition for “Harry Potter”. That’s where the young actor’s film career skyrocketed – as Cedric Diggory, Pattinson reached for his bright future to come.
The next thing we know, Pattinson became the love-him-or-hate-him vampire Edward from “Twilight”. The saga was pretty goddamn bad. It was also detrimental to Pattinson himself. It reduced the talented cast to cheesy, wooden pieces of acting.
Luckily, Pattinson had enough charisma, luck and determination to turn the unfavourable tides.
He moved onto independent titles, and within a few years, became an established name in the world of acclaimed indie movies. So, to celebrate our new Batman (yup, it’s official), here’s five films, which proved Pattinson’s prowess and talent.
The best roles of Robert Pattinson
#5 Charles/The Leader in “The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Childhood of a Leader” flew under the radar back in 2015. It was a somehow troubling directorial debut by an American actor Brady Corbet, whose most likely to be recognised as a sickening deviant from Haneke’s remake of “Funny Games”.
“The Childhood of a Leader” looked at the rise of fascism. It delivered a disturbing image of a child growing in a sordid world of politics.
That grim, dark picture of Corbet, starred Robert Pattinson as a doubled stunt – Charles and The Leader. In both roles, he perfectly blended with Corbet’s arresting narrative. Charles was a widowed journalist, whose mostly seen in dark, smoke-filled rooms, discussing with the protagonist’s father.
Pattinson’s present in just a few scenes, yet despite limited on-screen time, he delivers some of the film’s most poignant, symbolic lines, and turns into a vessel that passes on what the young director meant by his whole movie.
#4 Henry Costin in “The Lost City of Z”
“The Lost City of Z” is a lost gem of 2017, directed by James Gray.
The story followed Percy Fawcett (played by Charlie Hunnam), a traveller obsessed with finding a city of gold and wealth, hidden deep in the Amazon jungle.
While some might have found “The Lost City of Z” overly stretched-out, others saw true beauty in the way it slowly unraveled the story, and by painting the canvas of Fawcett’s entire life, the film captured the trade off where making one’s dreams come true requires the biggest and most painful sacrifices.
Robert Pattinson accompanied Hunnam as Henry Costin, the closest friend of Fawcett, who embarked on several journeys together. Pattinson blended with the film’s genuine narrative smoothly. Costin’s pictured as a silent supporter of someone else’s dreams. As was the case of “The Childhood of a Leader”, despite the short time to shine Pattinson conjures a memorable character – one that willingly steps back into the shadows, only to deliver the finest scene of the film by a moving, truthful speech about time passing by and dreams that need to be left as dreams.
#3 Monte in “High Life”
I’ve had numerous discussions about Claire Denis’ “High Life”, taking on the role of the film’s shield against some feverous bashing. While I admit that it’s been a rather “un-enjoyable” experience, it still wrote a captivating ode to decadentism and how life can be a forlorn, grim journey. Hello darkness my old friend plays in the background all over again.
The plot of “High Life” follows Monte (played by Robert Pattinson), the only prisoner left in an abandoned ship that’s been sent into space years ago. Monte spends his days with Willow, his child that was born on the ship.
In two timelines, the French director Claire Denis takes a look at the disastrous human nature, painting a very vivid picture with a palette of gross-out scenes that include on-screen rape, extreme violence and lots (and I mean it) of perverted sex. These parts are then contrasted with sequences of Monte and Willow’s life – a loving father who bears the soul-ripping awareness that Willow will never see the Earth and is doomed to die on that cursed ship.
Without a doubt, Monte constitutes the most mature role in Pattinson’s dossier. The actor switches gears flawlessly between the two timelines, going from a silent outlaw to a heartbreaking portrayal of a broken man, desperately wanting to raise his child in the best way possible in these harsh circumstances. The scenes starring him and Willow as a baby are absolute tear-jerkers, that elevate “High Life”.
While I wasn’t overly enthusiastic when it comes to violence and depravity, observing Pattinson in such genuine role was nothing short of delightful.
#4 Rey in “The Rover”
Years have passed and I still see David Michod’s depressing “The Rover” as one of the most criminally underrated films of this century. A sunken ship after its Cannes’ premiere, this dystopian sci-fi drama left me moved to my very core.
The plot of “The Rover” is ridiculously simple. It could almost be reduced to a story of a guy going after a bunch of guys who stole his car.
That might sound like “Mad Max: Fury Road”, but Michod casts a spell of a dense, hectic atmosphere, combined with detailed world building and a sleepy yet somehow tension-filled pacing. And in the middle of that uncanny film are two career-defining roles for both its stars – Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson.
I’ll give it to Pearce – his role as Eric constitutes the main reason why “The Rover” goes way beyond its simple plot. However, Pattinson’s role as Rey is equally phenomenal.
Rey is a brother of one those car-stealing gentlemen. After a quick hit-and-run, the loving brother leaves Rey shot and left to die a lonely death. It’s clear from the first scene that Rey’s incapable of living on his own, and his life depends on Eric.
Michod’s film relies heavily on character development, but with the little amount of dialogues, it’s up to Pattinson and Pearce’s acting skills to extract from the story as much as they could. Pattinson incorporates all kinds of tools – from nervous face twitches, to speech impediment and a peculiar body posture and movement, all of them to build a character that you feel genuinely sorry for. It’s some really powerful acting.
#5 Connie Nikos in “Good Time”
While “The Rover” occupies a special place in my memory, it’s Pattinson’s role in “Good Time” that cemented his position as one of the most startling stars of independent cinema.
Together with his younger brother, Connie (Pattinson) robs a bank, but when things go awry, he puts in motion an entire avalanche of events while desperately trying to run away from cops.
“Good Time” isn’t an easy film to shine in. The camera sticks to Pattinson almost constantly as he runs from joint to joint, trying to clean up his own mess in a frantic pursuit. The electronic beats pound in your head, and combined with the crazy pace, “Good Time” grasps you, wrestles with you back and forth to eventually leave you tired and breathless.
In the centre of this seeming mess is Connie – a dyed-hair, grills-wearing and crazy-eyed weasel. Pattinson’s in his elements in the wicked, almost unbearably fast-developing and wild thriller of Joshua and Ben Safdie. Connie’s a never-stopping devil, ready to sacrifice even his brother in order to survive. He’s a wounded animal that bites, crawls and sneaks wherever it can, and Pattinson captures this essential madness of Connie. From his lousy speech manner to the attention span of a flea, the actor is full-blown method here.
Thanks for reading. But that’s not all.
Want more lists? Check out the best roles of Jake Gyllenhaal. You can also read the review of “Good Time” and see why it’s a must-see (not only for Pattinson’s fans). And don’t forget to check out all the films of 2019 that you’ll probably want to catch on the big screen!
The header image source: NBC Los Angeles.