I do recall the first time I saw Chiwetel Ejiofer and it was as the villain in Serenity, a movie I watched on a lark. Initially I had to wonder why an assassin would seem so poetic in his speech and so sorry to be doing what he was paid for, but eventually the act won me over. This is a very deep and engaging actor that gets into what he’s doing and, regardless of the role, tends to make it his own in a way that’s nothing short of impressive since he can be two very different people between movies and still maintain the kind of discipline that makes you wonder if you’re watching the same actor at times. A lot of people can do this, but with each role he takes on it’s pretty clear that Chiwetel is one of those that can seriously switch gears and take on a different persona that has little if anything to do with any other character he’s played, and that’s something that is prized in show business.
Here are his five movies.
5. Doctor Strange
In a way it almost seems like this movie would be a waste of his talents since comic book movies still aren’t really held in high esteem, but moving past that point, Baron Mordo was a character in this movie that worked to a very great degree. It was surprising to find that he was so naive as to what the Ancient One was really doing when it came to her use of power, and the revelation definitely tilted him towards the darker side of his nature. Eric Eisenberg from CinemaBlend confirms what a lot of us that have read the comics already know, that Mordo’s relationship with Strange was changed quite a bit, but it did make for a slightly better movie as Mordo’s sudden revelation was enough to drive him out of Kamar-Taj and into a life that was opposite of what he’d sworn to uphold.
4. Inside Man
He played backup to Denzel Washington in this one and therefore didn’t have a whole lot to do, but he did have a few good lines throughout the movie that made him noticeable. The great thing about this movie is that it does make you sit up and pay attention, especially during the in-between moments when the detectives are seen questioning the witnesses after the supposed bank heist. If you don’t watch closely you might miss something that’s right in front of your face as Scott Tobias of AV Club might agree with, especially since it’s been there since the beginning of the movie. But that’s the trick, you’ve got to learn just what to pay attention to and when.
3. Children of Men
Abraham Riesman of Vulture likens this movie to the landscape of the world in 2016, but I don’t know, it didn’t seem quite that bad, and women could still and CAN still have babies. But imagining a world in which just about everything has broken down, ostensibly NOT because of a presidential election that people didn’t like but something else, is pretty easy for some and harder for others. In a world where the youngest person is a teenager however the future of humanity does seem to be hanging by a thread, at least until it’s discovered that one woman has become pregnant. At that point she might be seen as valuable as the bible in The Book of Eli.
2. Four Brothers
This movie is interesting since once again we get to see Chiwetel as a bad guy, and a pretty nasty one at that since Victor Sweet is the kind of guy that will doublecross just about anyone and act like he’s a legitimate businessman. On top of that he treats his people like dirt and is basically a thug that managed to climb his way to the top. When he goes up against the four Mercer boys though he’s out of his league since they’re not about to let their mother’s killer off the hook, and the guy that hired the killers is going to be seen just as guilty since it was a set-up from the word go. This movie deserves a lot more credit.
1. 12 Years A Slave
It was a dark day back when a free man could be abducted and sold off as a slave no matter that he’d been free only a short time before. Northup had to endure a great deal of punishment that he’d never earned and would eventually join the abolitionist movement upon regaining his old life. The things that he had to go through however were so terrible that one might expect that he’d remember them for the rest of his life and possibly suffer nightmares for a good deal of it.
He’s definitely one of the best in the business.
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