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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ledger's Legacy


As I wrote earlier and I'm sure most people have heard that Heath Ledger is dead. 28 years old and lost forever. This is disappointing on a multitude of levels. For one his age. For another, he had a two year old daughter with ex-fiance Michelle Williams. And, also for the simple fact that he was a talented actor. He was nominated for an Oscar back in 2005.

For me, Heath will be remembered for two roles right now (one more if Dark Knight lives up to the hype).

How can anyone who grew up in the late 1990s forget the surge of teen comedies? One of the best was 10 Things I Hate About You. It became Ledger's breakthrough and was a well done modern day twist of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Ledger had the tough task of taming Julia Stiles in that film and they had good chemistry. He played this tough, mysterious guy. Of course, there's that memorable scene when he sings to her in the stands "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You" while being chased by security. It's a scene that has been parodied since.

For the next couple years he made some films that were okay. The Patriot and Monster's Ball are a couple that come to mind. Although, it was his work in the 2005 film about two cowboys that showed his potential.

"Heath Ledger surprised me and many of his peers with his performance. By far, the best of his career and probably the best shot to defeat Hoffman." - California Chronicles, March 4, 2006

Well, he didn't beat Philip Seymour Hoffman, but I still think Heath's performance was the second best of 2005. I also still think that Brokeback Mountain was the best film of 2005 (it won over 20 Best Picture awards far surpassing any other film that year) and Ledger was leader of that charge. His portrayal of Ennis Del Mar was amazing. It was subtle and reserved. A man of few words and you could just feel the pain in his character. At the time, you had to question whether he could ever do better. Of course now we know that he won't.

I do still believe that 50 years from now, if you have to choose five films that defined the decade, Brokeback Mountain would be on that list. And if that's his legacy, then so be it. If I've learned anything about John Lennon, James Dean, or Elvis Presley, it's that in death you're 10 times more popular. It brings you to another level. It's not something that should be desired, but it's the truth. Heath Ledger will be forever 28.

How did he die? Well, there are reports of a possible suicide. Pills were found near his body. He did break up with his fiance, Michelle Williams. He might have possibly been depressed for some time about it and had enough. Although, I hope it's an accidental overdose. That probably won't be determined for a couple weeks.

I will say thing about Heath Ledger. He was one of those that had the rare gift of not only good looks, but also talent. At 28, he had a lot left in the tank. Who knows where he would have gone? There's a line in the last film I saw him in, I'm Not There, which I find interesting. I'll leave this post at that, but I'm sure I'll have more to say in the future.

Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg): I would like to know what is at the center of your world?
Robbie Clark (Ledger): Well, I'm 22, I guess I would say me.

Heath Ledger 1979-2008

Clip from I'm Not There

1 comment:

Dicking Your Dragon said...

How good was 10 things I Hate about you. Fucking love that shit. Sad day that he passed. I was actually quite saddened by this news. I feel awful for his kids and Michelle.

I'm sure he rocked the role of the Joker and he had the talent to be around for a very long time.