Well it's finally here, the long anticipated The Revenant drops today. Most reviews are already praising Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Hugh Glass. Some say that he will finally get his overdue Oscar for the role of the grizzly outdoorsman. We'll have to wait to see the movie to determine if it truly ranks among the best. For now I'd like to remark on the actor's past performances. Here are what I believe to be the 10 best DiCaprio roles.
10. Inception Christopher Nolan's box-office smash stars DiCaprio as a gun for hire who sneaks into people's dreams to plant false ideas. How's that for a plot to a movie? Unlike so many characters from big budget movies, DiCaprio's Cobb is multi-dimensional. He is motivated by the thought of his children and the guilt over the death of his wife. Not the greatest, but certainly a noteworthy performance.
9. Gangs of New York DiCaprio worked with frequent collaborator, director Marin Scorsese, to bring this gritty tale of the early gangs of New York. DiCaprio stars as an Irish hood who plots his revenge against his father's killer. The actor plays beautifully off of Daniel Day-Lewis' sadistic Bill the Butcher. In fact one could say that Day-Lewis steals the show, but DiCaprio still puts in a great performance.
8. The Departed Another team up with Scorsese, DiCaprio plays an undercover cop trying to uncover a criminal in the police system. The actor plays the character with a calm, cool furry. Bill is shaken up about doing the awful things he does, but realizes he must. DiCaprio captures this inner turmoil perfectly. Another great performance, that was unfortunately outshined once again by Jack Nicholson.
7. Shutter Island Who doesn't love playing crazy people? In Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a detective inspecting a disappearance on a remote island that holds an insane asylum. Needless to say that the huge surprise twist in the end perfectly captures the conflicted Teddy, played perfectly by the actor.
6. The Aviator Yet another stellar outing from DiCaprio's team-up with Scorsese. Here the actor plays eccentric director and aviator Howard Hughes. Hughes tries to find his purpose in life, always in pursuit of the next big dream. DiCaprio's portrayal here is great. Funny, nuanced, dramatic and mature. This one has it all.
5. Blood Diamond What a great, great movie this was. And it came out of nowhere. Based on real life incidents, DiCaprio plays charismatic diamond smuggler Danny Archer. This is another solid outing for DiCaprio, one that is a true standout. While Blood Diamond is a pretty predictable movie, it is highly elevated by DiCaprio's excellent performance.
4. Django Unchained I love this role for two reasons. One, Calvin Candy is perhaps one of the slimiest, disgusting characters in film history. And two, you can barely tell that it's DiCaprio who's playing him. Diabolically evil, DiCaprio is a Southern psychopath only interested in money and his cruel intentions. Christoph Waltz played a great part, but DiCaprio was really robbed of his Oscar here.
3. What's Eating Gilbert Grape One of his earliest movies, Leonardo plays a Arnie, a mentally handicapped child who's constantly finding his way into trouble. Another actor could have made this role offensive and unbearable, but DiCaprio really does bring a realistic vibe to the movie, and he was damn young while doing it.
2. The Basketball Diaries The movie will make you feel like you got punched right in the stomach when the credits roll, and its due to a large part to DiCaprio's brilliant performance. Here the actor shows the horrible realistic side of drug addiction in Jim Carroll. Powerful stuff.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street Is this performance hammed up? Sure. Is it eccentric and bombastic? Yup. Is it depraved and glorified? You bet your ass it is. Scorsese's adaption about the deplorable actions of Jordan Belford gives DiCaprio what I believe to be the best performance of his career. Sadistic, funny and surprisingly dramatic, this encapsulates what makes Leo one of the finest actors around today.
Honorable mentions: Catch Me if You Can, J. Edgar, The Quick and the Dead
What's your favorite performance by the actor?
Do you have a list of movies that you want to recommend? Now you have a place to do it.
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