With Quentin Terantino’s new film “Django Unchained” coming out this year, let’s take a look at the “bad guy” in the film… Leonardo DiCaprio. If you are like me, you can’t think of a “bad guy” role DiCaprio has played. Yea, he plays conflicted characters a lot (“Shutter Island,” “The Beach,” and “Gangs of New York”), but he isn’t usually a complete bad guy as he is in “Django Unchained” where he plays Calvin Candle, a brutal plantation owner in Mississippi.
DiCaprio has been acting since 1990 when he was just a teenager and he has built quite the resume. Here are some personal favorites (from oldest to newest).
WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE (1993)
In this film, DiCaprio plays a young, mentally handicapped boy, Arnie, opposite Johnny Depp. Not only is this film touching and powerful, but DiCaprio’s performance may be the best acting performance I have ever seen… and he was only a kid! He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars (his first Oscar nomination).
THE BASKETBALL DIARIES (1995)
In this film, DiCaprio plays a drug-addicted basketball player alongside Mark Wahlberg. This is a very dark film, but is powerful and will make you think. It also boasts one of the most emotionally gripping scenes I have ever seen in a film. It involves DiCaprio’s character (Jim) going to his mother (Lorraine Bracco) for money with which he plans to buy drugs… she wants to help him but won’t even let him in the room. Keep a tissue ready.
THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK (1998)
In this film, DiCaprio plays two characters, King Louis XIV and his twin brother Philippe. This performance is impressive because Louis XIV is brutally cruel and Philippe is kind-hearted and innocent. He plays both very well, but this is one of my favorites more because of the Three Musketeers who have some awesome sword fighting scenes, than for DiCaprio’s performance.
THE DEPARTED (2006)
In this film, DiCaprio plays Billy Costigan, who goes undercover in the Irish Mafia to try and bring down a dangerous crime lord. He is just one member of this all-star cast that includes Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, and Alec Baldwin. If you read my other posts, you will realize that I love this film too much to get into it here… just rent it, or, better yet, buy it!
In this film, DiCaprio plays a dream-world thief with an internal conflict. He is stellar in the action scenes and he portrays his inner struggle with the utmost emotional range. He is also supported by a stellar cast in this big-budget, sci-fi thriller. This was nominated for best picture at the Oscars.
“Titanic” – the role that put him on the map
“Gangs of New York” – his first teaming with Martin Scorsese, they worked together on 3 more films so far and have a 4th in production (“The Wolf of Wall Street”)
“J Edgar” – this film was disappointingly bad, but DiCaprio’s performance is worth watching (it garnered him his third Oscar nomination)