For me, it’s usually great characters rather than an outstanding plot that make a movie great. So I decided to make a beginner’s guide to the most interesting characters (in my opinion) in the history of my movie watching. Now you and my definitions of interesting characters might be quite a bit difference, but my main qualifications for a film character to grab my attention is 1) psychological complexity, 2) uniqueness/eccentricity, 3) how he or she makes the viewer feel and finally 4) a great actor to play him or her. As you can see I have rather unusual taste and you won’t find a lot of mainstream movies here. Last of all, of I get some good feedback this list will be followed by a sequel, ‘interesting film characters #26-#50’ Thanks!
1. Michael/Vanessa in “Gun Hill Road”
Played by Harmony Santana
A trans woman you can’t help but fall in love with.
2. Francis in “Buddy Boy”
Played by Aidan Gillen
Gillen plays someone with extreme psychological difficulties to a ‘T.’ I kind of related to him, I kind of didn’t- but I wanted to swoop in and fix his shitty life.
3. Karl Childers in “Sling Blade”
Played by Billy Bob Thornton
One of the most original characters to come out of American cinema. He’d sure like more of those french fried potaters, mm-hhmm…
4. Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver”
Played by Robert De Niro
I kinda rooted for him a little… I know I shouldn’t… 😛 But he did have his own set of values, underneath all that crazy.
5. Derek Vinyard in “American History X”
Played by Edward Norton
What an asshole! But an interesting one… I can’t help but wonder what happened to him after the events in the movie.
6. Alike in “Pariah”
Played by Adepero Oduye
When she hurts, you hurt., and her troubles in life and love become yours. An instantly sympathetic e character.
7. Antwone Fisher in “Antwone Fisher”
Played by Derek Luke
I saw this movie when I was a kid and its stayed with me ever since. Antwone is interesting cuz initially you think he’s a punk only fit for fighting and getting into trouble but than you see this whole other side of him. You leave the theater rooting like mad for the character as well as the real-life man.
8. Nick Kelson in “American Heart”
Played by Edward Furlong
Poor jaded, damaged kid- ugh, this movie; the ending will tear your heart into a thousand pieces and set them on fire.
9. Jacki in “Bullhead”
Played by Matthias Schoenaerts
Sad that human beings can end up so damaged. The ultimate example of a man who’s compensating for something.
10. Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”
Played by Benedict Cumberbatch
While I hear that the real-life Turing was nothing like the Cumberbath’s standoffish, extremely eccentric fsbricstion, they still did a good job at making him an interesting and empathizable, while still exhaustingly pompous and frustrating, protagonist. You feel drained at the end finding out what happened to him.
11. Jerry Hickfang in “The Voices”
Played by Ryan Reynolds
The ultimate experiment in making a homicidal serial killer kind of, well… lovable? You’re on!
12. Andrew Crocker-Harris in “The Browning Version”
Played by Michael Redgrave
I felt so much for this guy, and was elated when the movie ended with a sliver of hope.
13. Eli in “Let the Right One In”
Played by Lina Leandersson
She’s just a cute twelve-year-old girl who’s well, neither twelve or a girl. Or she’s been a preteen for an abnormally long time. But you’ll root for her as if she was your own little bloodsucking monster.
14. James from “The Living and the Dead”
Played by Leo Bill
Just your average homicidal Schizophrenic Oedipal man-child. Look at the photo. Just another day, folks.
13. Ted from “Burn After Reading”
Played by Richard Jenkins
Unrequited love at it’s most heartbreaking. Poor Ted. 😦 This is the movie that got me interested in the incredible character actor Richard Jenkins.
14. Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds
Played by Christoph Waltz
Evil yet somehow hypnotic, Landa isn’t a character you don’t forget in a hurry. Even his monologues, performed so peerlessly by Waltz, are simultaneously chilling and entertaining. That’s a Bingo!
15. Sy Parrish in “One Hour Photo”
Played by Robin Williams
I haven’t seen this movie in a good while, but I remember he was quite an interesting individual. Calling him ‘psychotic’ would be uncharitable, but certainly not untrue. R.I.P Robin Williams.
16. Bess McNeil in “Breaking the Waves”
Played by Emily Watson
Aw, Bess. Why did it have to be this way? We all really wanted the best for you. Oh wait, I know why… because you’re in a fucking VON TRIER movie. Pity. :_(
17. Marge Gunderson in “Fargo”
Played by Frances McDormand
Ah, Gee, I like Marge 🙂 She’s a good’un. She’s sweet and wholesome when she wants to be, but knows how to get the job done in the long run.
18. Carl Caspar in “Chef”
Played by Jon Favreau
A regular guy, balancing what he loves with his love for his son, and struggling with a nasty temper. But that’s what’s so interesting about him, his realism and average-ness.
19. Francie Brady in “The Butcher Boy”
Played by Eamonn Owens
Life through the eyes of a child who quickly grows into the equivalent of a mad dog set free from his leash. Owens nails it. However The self proclaimed ‘incredible’ Francis Brady is even more compelling in the book.
20. Jack in “Boy A”
Played by Andrew Garfield
Can a wayward boy turned brutal killer redeem himself as a damaged young man seeking solace and redemption? The masses obsessed with the ‘Boy A’ case seem not to think so. Andrew Garfield captures an outstanding balance of naivete and guilelessness in the powerful adaptation of Jonathan Trigell’s novel.
21. Patrick ‘Kitten’ Braden in “Breakfast on Pluto”
Is he a man who likes to play dress-up or is he a man in a woman’s body? He’s he a dreamer or simply in denial? Kitten is a unique character, and it’s practically impossible to figure out just what he is thinking or what crazy idea he’s going to come up with next.
22. Nate in “Red, White, & Blue
Played by Noah Taylor
There’s no doubt in my mind that Nate is sociopath, but a glimmer of hope and compassion is sparked by his relationship with a damaged, promiscuous woman. Are even the most evil of us capable of love? When the shit hits the fan, you don’t want to mess with this guy. He’s a bad muthafucker
23. Martin Lomax from “The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)”
Played by Laurence R. Harvey
THC2 loses points for drawing the torture out until it’s a ho-hem affair (am I the only one who thinks extreme acts of mutilation and cruelty should have impact?) But Laurence almost saves the movie with his outstanding portrayal of the wordless killer Martin. The fact that Martin is almost likable and sympathetic is the true genius in Harvey’s extraordinarily empathetic acting.
24. Sonny in “The Apostle”
Played by Robert Duvall
Sonny isn’t just another ignorant hick religious fanatic gracing your television set. He’s portrayed in such a way to as to be hypnotic. Is a good man? A bad man? A sad man? A pitiful loser? A do-gooder? Watching Duvall, your eyes are glues to the TV screen, locked on Sonny’s next move.
25. Aidan Murphy from “Treacle Jr.”
This serial optimist will steal your heart with his eccentric simplicity. In the end you’ll be rooting for him as if he were your younger brother, you protectiveness of him has become so great.