1. Patrick Melrose 2. Peter Guilliam in TTSS 3. Richard III in The Hollow Crown 4. Christopher Titjens in Parade's End 5. Stephen in The Child in Time 6. The husband in Wreckers 7. Van Gogh 8. Werner Heisenberg in Copenhagen 9. Martin Crieff in Cabin Pressure 10. The polemic Dominic Cummings in Brexit.
I cannot think about a single B. performance which was not good - he is always excellent, even in his first TV bits at the beginning of his career. So my "least favourite" have more to do with the kind of role he was given. For example, Starters for 10 is rather mediocre film, IMO and Amazing Grace just your average biopic, but he was phenomenal in both. In TOBG he had terrible lines ("Are you happy?"), in BM his role was bland, as well. TCW is more complicated. It is not a bad film, IMO and has some strong points - like photograpy and direction, but the screenplay is faulty. My main objection is the way Edison's relationship with his wife/ family is depicted: so clichéd and sentimental (and not truly sticking to the facts). B. did what he could with the lines he got, but you cannot turn lead into gold.
Completely agree, Muriel. He’s consistently superior to the material. I guess that’s what the best actors aspire to. Even if they know the material is garbage (or even not so good), they do the very best they can and move on. And in some cases, like Patrick Melrose, when the material is excellent, it raises his performance even more!
Forgot about Richard III. That’s up there with my favorites too. Great list Sgev.
What a great idea to pass time in a "lull", ellie! It's such a positive way to spend time on this fan board for BC!
Sgev's list was excellent. I think there are so many strong performances by BC that I revel in multiple chances to talk about why I especially loved certain roles.
For me Patrick Melrose currently sits right up at the top of my favourites. He's such a complex character and you can both loathe and love him for all his weaknesses and resilience. BC plays the role with absolute perfection. Of course the writing behind the performance is key but also the master director's touch is there as well that does so much with what BC puts into his performance. Filming is such a collaborative process and when it all clicks together like it does in PM it just makes for an unforgettable piece of storytelling!
Richard III is another favourite of mine for much the same reasons. Of course there is much more of the evilness and darkness of that character to admire in this production, rather than the vulnerability of PM's. It is utterly amazing how scary it is to watch the transition of RIII into such depths of depravity. But BC makes me stay with his character's journey no matter how dark it is, because he has a knack for getting us to feel for the portrayal no matter how dark of soul he has.
And for my third personal favourite performance I would choose Edmund Talbot from To the Ends of the Earth. He isn't a totally admirable character - he has major flaws that have dire consequences in the story - but by the strength of BC's performance he gets me hooked on the character and I can't help but empathize with him and feel for him throughout his journey (both in his physical journey and his metaphorical journey). I often think it is too easy to feel sympathy for a basically "good" character, but to get you to empathize with a truly flawed character is something that demonstrates the power of performance in an actor! And that is something BC excels at.
I was a huge fan of Amazing Grace before I knew who Benedict was. It’s one of those movies that stayed with me long after I’d seen it. And then finding out that Benedict (looking adorable!) was in it made it even better for me. I have it on DVD now.
There was an actress being interviews recently who had been doing tv sitcoms since the 70’s. She said that every character she’d ever played was basically her playing herself. She admitted that she only took on roles that didn’t require more acting skills than she had. Now look at Benedict! If you had only seen him in Atonement, you probably couldn’t imagine the same man playing a character like Patrick Watts. Or Sherlock. Or Doctor Strange. He’s so talented and versatile!
Remember when he hosted SNL? The show got mostly terrible reviews, but that certainly wasn’t because of Benedict. He threw himself into every ridiculous thing they asked him to do. I remember someone online commenting on the skit where he played the professor in his office, meeting with a student. They said that it was like watching everyone else doing a silly skit, while Benedict was doing Shakespeare. I was so proud of him!