Which Actors Rose in The Dark Knight Rises — And Which Ones Did Not (Hint: One of Them Is French)
Rare is the movie in which every cast member performs at the same level — unless maybe you're talking about the uniformly jaw-dropping performances of everyone in Witless Protection. So, here at Movieline, we'd like to begin a tradition of ranking performances within movies — a sort of intramural Oscars, if you will — and asking you to weigh in with your own. We'll introduce polling and a catchy title soon enough, but we just had to start with The Dark Knight Rises — a movie in which the performances range from sublime (Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to wince-inducing (Marion Cotillard). See how your favorite — or least favorite — character rates below, and then leave your own ranking in the comments section.
1. Tom Hardy: Yes, comic-book villains are usually way more interesting than the heroes who inevitably vanquish them, but thanks to a considerable piece of hardware strapped to his face, Hardy had a tougher acting job than the late Heath Ledger did when he played the Joker. Okay, the Vader-ish voicebox torqued up the creep factor (and made his dialogue hard to understand at times), but Hardy left his pretty-boy aura in his trailer and gave a performance—essentially using his eyes and body language — that was pure, cold malevolence. Darth gave us nightmares when we were kids, but it’s Bane who’ll wake us in a cold sweat for years to come.
2. Anne Hathaway: Hathaway's tough, tender — and mouthy — performance as Catwoman erased once and for all the bad taste that lingered in our craw after her loopy Oscars-hosting performance. We knew she could act, but boy does she act in TDKR. And she looks totally hot in her costume, especially while draped over the Batpod. Spin her off into her own film and she'll make us forget Halle Berry's turn as Catwoman, too
3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Gordon-Levitt made the most of a one-note role. His orphan speech to Bruce Wayne could have been as gloppy as bad macaroni and cheese, but he put some sharp Gruyere into it. And we won't spoil the picture entirely, but let's just say the boy could carry his own superhero movie.
4. Ben Mendelsohn: Yes, Ben Mendelsohn. Although his onscreen time, as the construction magnate Daggett, is relatively brief, Mendelsohn is memorable — and, judging from the few narcissistic, weasel-thin corporate titans we've met in our travels — extremely realistic. We want to see more of this guy.
5. Michael Caine: We did NOT want to see Alfred cry. But since we had to see Alfred cry, we're glad that Caine got to regulate the waterworks.
6. Christian Bale: Bale is by far the best actor to wear the bat-cowl onscreen--and we'll always give him extra credit for his performance in Empire of the Sun. But he didn't give us anything new in his third outing as the Caped Crusader. His freak-out on the set of Terminator Salvation was more revealing.
7. Morgan Freeman: Same beef. We've seen Freeman play this role before — and not just in the Batman franchise.
8. Gary Oldman: We're sorry, but we couldn't take our eyes off that damn moustache. No doubt the talented Oldman was acting his heart out, but while he was doing that, we were imagining cleaning trash-strewn Gotham City streets with his facial hair.
9. Matthew Modine: We were glad to see him playing a substantial role, and he sure does d-bag arrogance well. Maybe too well. We swear we saw him smirking to himself during a few scenes.
10. Marion Cotillard: She made us cry in La Vie en Rose. She made us snicker in TKDR. Without giving away too much, let's just say, we hope you're not swigging from your Hefty can full of soda when you find out her character's true identity. The same goes for the emoting she does in her final scene, which would have been more at home in the pre-talkies part of The Artist.
We doubt you agree. (Even our own Jen Yamato would put Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the top spot.) So tell us what you think.