In the recent onslaught of “you gotta see this” movie trailer releases, we got our first real glimpse into the newest James Bond film, Spectre from veteran director of Skyfall, Sam Mendes. Since this was only a trailer, there wasn’t much content to really dig into, but that didn’t stop us fans from losing our minds!
The biggest question I’ve been hearing from fans has been: Who is the villain!? With a darkened face we can’t see, and a total of 10 seconds (yes I counted) of screen time, 5 of which is only vocal, it feels like we got cheated on any significant details about the newest (is he new!? I have many theories) Bond villain. Is he a new threat? Is he someone from Bond’s past? Ex MI-6, or maybe a billionaire bad-boy? There is a lot up in the air and nothing to go on. However, there is one undeniable fact about him that is tipped off only by his unmistakable voice (and knowledge of the cast list), and that is that this villain is played by none other than two-time Academy Award winner, Christoph Waltz.
I fell in love with Christoph Waltz in the first 10 minutes of Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, and he quickly became an actor I was obsessed with. Therefore I sought out all of his movies, which I present to you in a Top 5 fashion.
Number 5- Big Eyes
First on our list is actually the most recent Waltz film I’ve seen, and his only true bio-pic.
Not many saw this Tim Burton flick, which stars Waltz as real life artist (or should I say pseudo artist) Walter Keene. Starring alongside Amy Adams, Waltz steals the screen with the electricity and charisma we have grown accustomed to. However, this might be the most controversial on the list, because many who saw this movie dubbed it as an “over acted performance”. To which I say, you just don’t understand Waltz and should watch some of his other work (man I wish there was a list where you could see other movie choices.). I hate comparing him to Jim Carrey, because their work is so different, and Waltz has more depth to his abilities, but they are similar in the fact that their style is a very drastic and unique approach from other actors, but this is what makes him great. No one can deliver lines in the very “Waltz-like manner” that we see in this movie.
Regardless, I would have been bored to death during this movie without Waltz. I would get excited whenever he appeared on-screen because he just had a commanding presence about him that made me want to watch everything he did. In what could have been a cookie cutter role in terms of portrayal and character development, Waltz put flair and excitement into Keene. Going into this movie with no knowledge of real life events, I can honestly say I was surprised that he ended up being the two-faced antagonist that results in the film’s conclusion. Waltz was so happy-go-lucky, and deceivingly charming that I didn’t mind him being a liar, because he was so fun. Overall it was an average movie, but a great performance from Waltz.
Number 4- Carnage
Coming in at number four is a small budget Roman Polanski film, Carnage.
Say what you will about Polanski, but this movie is the Bee’s knees. Shot in real-time, the movie shows the progression of two parents’ discussion of how to handle a situation when one child hits the other couple’s child with a stick. This simple plot is complimented with simple cinematography, but has vastly complicated characters that develop throughout the plot in one of the truest to life fashions I’ve ever seen.
Waltz, the father of the “accused attacker child” is a cut throat, big pharmacy attorney, with little care for the discussion on how to handle his child. More concerned with his cell phone and distant problems, he never seems to invest as much attention that is deserved into the problem right in his lap. Waltz’s character, played opposite John C Reilly’s laid back portrayal of a father, seems to always want to be the wittiest man in the room. This self-righteous attitude along with the other adults’ quirks really adds interesting layers to a movie trying to comment on how adults over complicate situations involving children, and ultimately act like children themselves.
This is a hard movie to find to rent, but I would even say it’s worth the 10 bucks to buy online.
Number 3- Django Unchained
How is this only third on my list!!?!? I know it seems drastic, but that’s just how good Waltz is. For those who missed Waltz in his first Tarantino role, they definitely knew about him after his second in Django Unchained as Dr. King Schultz. A dentist by trade, bounty hunter by profession, Dr. Schultz mentors ex-slave turned bounty hunter Django, as they hunt down a band of notorious slave trading brothers, and ultimately Django’s wife.
Waltz won his second Academy Award for best supporting actor for this role, and it was for good reason. Schultz had depth; he wasn’t just a really good killer, but he had humor, compassion, wit, and a demanding sense of respect for himself from the audience. Perhaps the biggest reason for me behind the feeling of realness in Schultz as a character was in the fact he was German, Waltz’s own nationality. Getting to feel in “his own skin and culture” really made me believe his portrayal and became one of the best performances of this decade alone for sure. Add in Waltz rapport and chemistry with costar Jamie Foxx, and you have an instant hit with the acting alone. Django Unchained could have had zero plot and I would have still paid money to see it, just to sit and watch Waltz and Foxx act together.
Number 2- Das Geheiminis im Wald
If you’ve seen this made for tv film, released only in Germany you deserve a gold star.
Made in 2008, this was Christoph Waltz’s last film in his native nation of Germany, and is in all German. I admit I barely know what is going on in this movie since the only place I ever found it was in two parts on Vimeo, and have no knowledge of the German language besides “I play soccer”. Luckily, one of my friends had a German exchange student who was able to watch the movie with me and explain to me what was going on. Even so, I still loved this movie, and Waltz, even without understanding a single syllable he muttered.
Waltz, in a now common dark role, plays a teacher who had served 15 years in prison for the murder of a 15-year-old girl. When a new murder occurs, the police and whole town point their fingers and suspicions at Waltz. Having only the same knowledge as the police, the audience is left in suspense not knowing who to believe. and find themselves feeling caught between feeling sympathy for Waltz’s character as he is judged by other people, but in turn also being suspicious of him, and suspecting him for murder. Again this was all explained to me through a third-party so maybe this isn’t even totally correct, but screw it, it was good.
Anyways, even without subtitles this movie is worth the watch, because of the beautiful cinematography and the overall performance of Waltz. You are never quite sure of him, and his agenda, and at times feel guilty for judging a book by its cover, but there are other times are totally sure he is a scum bag child murderer. I strongly suggest you find yourself a German and watch this movie.
Honorable Mention- SNL- Djesus Uncrossed
Before I unveil my number once pick, I wanted to mention an SNL digital short for the ages; Djesus Uncrossed. Starring Waltz as none other than the Messiah, Jesus, the short is a play on Waltz roles in Tarantino flicks, and Tarantino flicks in general, while also effectively making light of faith and Christianity in (my opinion) a non offensive way (unless you’re ultra-conservative) SNL hit an absolute homer with this short. Go on Youtube and watch it whenever you get a chance. My favorite quote really sums up the gist of the sketch and that was “Rolling stones reviewed: ‘I never knew Jesus used the N word so much.'”
Seriously go check it out.
Number 1- Inglourious Basterds
My number one, Christoph Waltz role is as Col. Hans Landa in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. The only reasoning I need to give my choice merit, is the first ten minutes of the film. Now I am a sucker for good dialogue and intriguing characters (so keep your explosions Michael Bay, and your lens flares JJ Abrams) and that is exactly what you have in this movie’s opener. Waltz, a “Jew-Hunter” is a Nazi colonel tasked with tracking and executing all Jews (yeah he’s super German). Landa interrogates a simple farm owner who we, as the audience have no idea whether or not he is or isn’t hiding Jews. While making no physical threats, Waltz character is so powerful and terribly scary he intimidates this man with only words, into outing his hidden friends. To me, it was the best back and forth interrogation/conversation I’ve ever seen, and not since Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone have I been so terrified of a quiet cold-blooded killer. He (like Corleone) is no Joe Peci, with big loud over zealous actions to intimidate people. Yet, his portrayal is so fierce, that it just strikes fear into your very soul.
Another scene in the film that haunts me as a reminisce and write about it, involves Waltz simply pointing to his knee, prompting another character (I won’t spoil what is actually going on) to put his/her foot there. However, in such a simple gesture of pointing, Walt sent literal shivers down my spine.
This along with great dialogue, wonderful chemistry with co-star Brad Pitt, and the range from cold-blooded huntsman to a humorous villain with a lack luster command of english catch phrases, this role was a 10/10 for me. Or as Landa would say…
So with those performances in the books, the only thing left to do is count down the days to Specter’s release and see if that role overtakes any of the ones on my list. As a huge James Bond nerd, I really hope it does.
Agree, or disagree? Think I missed anything? Comment and let me know!!
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