Monday, March 21, 2011

Performer to Watch: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Who knew that the young teen in televisions 3rd Rock from the Sun would be on the list of go to actors.  Gordon-Levitt was a cute younger actor, but who knew what he had in him; his first major film role was in 10 Ten Things I Hate About You, had him playing the adoring dorky Cameron pining after the pretty popular girl Bianca (now that I look back maybe I did see how his angst would come shining through on the big screen).

My first interaction with his greatness came from the film Mysterious Skin.  Mysterious Skin is about two teenage boys Gordon-Levitt who plays Neil a hustler and Brady Corbet who plays Brian a kid obsessed with alien abductions because he thinks he was abducted as a child.  These two boys paths crossed when they were younger, and their story is intertwined.  Neil remembers their past and Gordon-Levitt's acting shows his ability to take on tough material; he is so convincing in this dark role that I was hooked on following his career and his performances in the future.  This film is not an easy watch-the material is dark and raw but Gordon-Levitt's charisma helps.

Gordon-Levitt's next great performance came in the film Brick.  Do you love film noir?  Brick is a modern day Maltese Falcon Brick follows Gordon-Levitt's character Brendan through the underground world of high school drug use as he tries to solve the death of his ex-girlfriend.  What more could you want?  Brendan is vulnerable and Gordon-Levitt's portrayal again helps to elevate the material in this film.

With both Brick and Mysterious Skin under his belt he has showed that not only has he worked hard at the beginning of his career to shake his good guy image, but he has also been able to show that he has range.   I will forgive his choice to G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra-every actor makes a couple mistakes.  His next two choices were two of the best films of the 2000s: 500 Days of Summer and Inception.

500 Days of Summer is Gordon-Levitt's best acting to date.  In the film he plays Tom who goes through all 500 Days of his relationship with a girl named Summer.  You get to see Tom in his ups and downs, his triumph (in song and dance) and his tragedy (as he see the final nail in the coffin at a rooftop party).  Gordon-Levitt's vulnerability is real, and you feel, everything he feels; his acting has become more natural, and understated.

His last big film is Inception-I will not be providing any plot for this because well, if you didn't see it you heard about it.  Inception will help Gordon-Levitt propel to the ranks of stardom.  Christopher Nolan has a way of continually using the same actors and also creating opportunities for them to be more visible to larger audiences in the theatre.

Gordon-Levitt's future looks bright; he has two films being released this year Hesher and (to my knowledge) the tentatively titled 50/50.  Nolan will also be using Gordon-Levitt as a villain in the upcoming Dark Knight Rises; he will play the Holiday Killer (son of Carmine Falcone-the mob boss in Batman Begins).  I think he has a great career ahead of him, and will continue to grow as an actor.

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