When the name of Hollywood actor, Joaquin Phoenix, is mentioned, it’s only natural for us to associate it with intense portrayals and mind-blowing physical transformations. Phoenix’s passion for acting is undeniably authentic, and is felt in each painstakingly heartfelt performance. It’s not every day that we get to witness an actor who is so committed to his job yet who remains to be humble despite all the accolades and recognitions received. He is a master of his craft and one tough act to follow. Here are five highly dramatic scenes starring Joaquin Phoenix:
Phoenix portrayed the antagonistic role of Commodus, the powerful son of the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, in the epic historical drama. Commodus brutally and selfishly took the throne that was not meant to be his from his father’s would-be successor, Maximus, portrayed by Russel Crowe (A Beautiful Mind), a well-loved and respected Roman military officer turned slave/gladiator, who is pushed to seek revenge from Commodus. The confrontational scene where Maximus stands up to Commodus was such an intense moment in the movie. Maximus was all tied up and getting ready for his next gladiator fight, but he showed no fear in challenging Maximus and getting on his nerves. It was such a brave move and proof that he was the better man and rightful successor through and through.
4. Walk the Line
The biographical musical romantic drama brought us deeper into the lives of singers and real-life couple Johnny Cash, portrayed by Phoenix and June Carter Cash, portrayed by Reese Witherspoon (Water for Elephants). The story followed the duo’s long courtship and tumultuous journey to happily ever after. The scene where Johnny askes June to marry him while they were performing on stage was such an intimate and emotional moment for the couple. Johnny had a lot of own demons to deal with, and June served as a stable pillar who only wanted the best for him. Together, they produced beautiful music and created a lifetime worth of memories though their performances.
Living in the digital world certainly has its perks, but what happens when we get too attached to our devices? The science-fiction romantic comedy-drama tackles this concept by following the mundane life of Theodore Twombly, portrayed by Phoenix, which changes for the better after he falls in love with an artificially intelligent virtual assistant, Samantha, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow). Theodore has never fallen in love this hard, so the scene where Samantha tells him that she has to leave him was heartbreaking to witness. Theodore has been badly hurt in the past, which caused him to keep to himself. Having Samantha in his life opened a whole new chance to enjoy life again, so her departure created a gaping hole in his life once again. Phoenix killed it with his performance and made us feel all the feels until the credits rolled.
2. The Master
The psychological drama pushed Phoenix’s character to his wit’s end. The story followed Freddie Quell, portrayed by Phoenix, a Word War II navy veteran who struggled with adjusting to the post-war society he lived in. His perspective changes after he meets Lancaster Dodd, portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), the leader of a philosophical movement called, “The Cause”. Lancaster brings Freddie inside his movement, and also encourages Freddie to join him and his family in their cross-country travel to spread his teachings. The scene where Freddie’s inner animal was fully unleashed when he was put in jail was hands down one of the most intense scenes in the movie. Lancaster witnesses this all and tries his best to get into his psyche. It was the face-off between two incredible actors who really gave it their all in the intense confrontation. Freddie was a damaged soul and Lancaster was the perfect person to provide a new direction to this life.
Phoenix breathed new life into the iconic Batman villain in his award-winning portrayal. He played the role of Arthur Fleck, a failed clown and stand-up comedian who falls into insanity and becomes a violent individual. He begins a bloody revolution against the elite of Gotham City and made sure to wreak havoc wherever he went. One of the most memorable scenes in the film was when Arthur nonchalantly performed a dance as he descended a flight of stairs. He then proceeded to create a mess in the subway while successfully leaving the scene of the crime unscathed. Phoenix’s original portrayal gained critical acclaim, and one that will always remain in our memory as a true cinematic masterpiece.