Acting is an art form, and behind every iconic character is an artist expressing themselves. The Great Performances is a recurring column in which Jacob Trussell explores the art behind some of cinema’s best roles.
If you are new to reading this column, we suggest starting with these entries:
As Johnny Castle, Swayze was able to demonstrate his natural strengths as a dancer and an actor interested in deconstructing masculine archetypes.
Marrying tenets of avant-garde theater and natural acting methods, Nyong’o delivered a masterclass in playing opposite sides of the same coin in Jordan Peele’s doppelgänger horror film.
Michael Mann’s debut feature film contains arguably the ten best minutes late actor James Caan ever put to celluloid.
Kumail Nanjiani found ways to surface thoughtful humor in a moment of abject trauma in his and Emily V. Gordon’s Academy Award-winning twist on what we expect from a romantic comedy.
Every performance is a great performance in Wayne Wang’s indie noir-comedy classic.
At the center of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s timeless mystery Twin Peaks, Lee surfaced the nuances of a character who was so much more than a dead girl wrapped in plastic.
In the dual roles of Norman Osborn and his maniacal alter ego Green Goblin, Dafoe pulled from classic horror to sketch out his tragic movie monster in the hit Marvel franchise.
As a woman in recovery caught between inner demons and gigantic monsters, Hathaway captures the unique struggles of staying on the wagon when the world goes to pot in Nacho Vigalondo’s genre-defying cult hit.
Part devoted dad, part contract killer for God, everyone’s favorite character actor found the perfect balance of heart and horror in the Southern Gothic cult classic.