Not many actors could say they starred in a critically acclaimed film last year, Domhnall Gleeson on the other hand, has bragging rights. In 2015 alone, he had a major role in Ex Machina, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and The Revenant. His performances were no joke in these films as well. Since The Revenant and The Force Awakens are still in theaters, I figured it was a good time to analyze his performance in each of the three films I mentioned.
After watching The Revenant for the second time last night, I came out of the theater confident that Domhnall Gleeson will be a mainstay in Hollywood for years to come. In The Revenant, Gleeson plays Captain Andrew Henry, boy does he take the role and blow it out of the water. Weirdly through the first half of The Revenant, Gleeson seemed miscast. However in the second half, Gleeson totally proved himself. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that after an important reveal, Gleeson takes over the screen and commands your attention.
I liked Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but Gleeson was largely forgettable as General Hux. I don’t think there was any possible way for Gleeson to stand out in this film, but J.J Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan didn’t do him any favors. My main problem with this performance is more about the lines Gleeson was given(and how many). It’s very difficult for an actor to make their mark on a film as big as The Force Awakens, but I feel Gleeson played a by the books villain. Scenes with Hux are few and far between, but I guess the speech to the soldiers of the first order was decent.
Ex Machina was an intense, mind-bending film with great performances across the board. Oscar Isaac was great as usual, but Alicia Vikander stole the show as Ava, the artificially intelligent almost human. Vikander played the mysterious a.i perfectly, she had just the right amount of human-like expressions to keep me from questioning whether or not she actually was a robot. However good Vikander’s performance was in Ex Machina, Gleeson deserves praise for his part as well. Gleeson played Caleb, the lucky recipient of a prize given by Nathan(Oscar Isaac). Nathan brought Caleb over to his isolated mansion for one purpose, to interact with Ava. Gleeson perfectly portrayed a socially awkward character, and his ability to show his character’s neediness was a key aspect in Ex Machina.
Overall, Gleeson was perfect in two out of the three major roles he played in 2015. If directors give Gleeson the chance to shine like he did last year, we will all benefit because he’s a very talented actor.
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