Anybody that knows movies and studies film history surely knows that Christian Bale is the best actor of the 21st Century. Bale loses himself in every film role and takes his method acting to a whole new level. Bale doesn’t just play a film role, he becomes that role through extensive preparation.
Movie Monkey Shoot has compiled a list of the Top 10 Incredible Christian Bale films with an exclusive Trailer for his upcoming film The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
#10 Rescue Dawn (2006) Werner Herzog ****
Very underrated film where Bale plays Dieter Dengler a US Pilot who is shot down in Laos during the Vietnam War. Taken hostage and held as a prisoner of war, he must face physical and psychological torture and has to plan his escape with a fellow American inmate. Excellent film directed by German filmmaker Werner Herzog.
#9 3:10 To Yuma (2007) James Mangold ***
Bale plays Dan Evans a Civil War veteran opposite Russell Crowe, who must hold an outlaw awaiting his train to face court in Yuma, Arizona during a tense confrontation. Excellent western directed by James Mangold.
#8 Public Enemies (2009) Michael Mann ****
In Public Enemies, Bale plays FBI Agent Melvin Purvis who is pursuing notorious bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and his ruthless gang consisting of infamous gangsters Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Based on the true story and the early years of the FBI. Directed by master filmmaker Michael Mann.
#7 The Prestige (2006) Christopher Nolan ****
Christian Bale plays magician Alfred Borden opposite Hugh Jackman in this mystery thriller directed by Christopher Nolan about two rival magicians who engage in a series of competitions with tragic results. One of the best mysteries of recent years with an outstanding ending. This film definitely requires multiple viewings to grasp the complexity of the plot.
#6 The Dark Knight (2008) Christopher Nolan *****
In the amazing sequel to Batman Begins, Bale reunites with Christopher Nolan as Batman now faces his most ruthless adversary, The Joker (Heath Ledger) in the best Superhero film ever made.
#5 Harsh Times (2005) David Ayer *****
Bale’s gritty performance as ex-Army Ranger Jim Luther Davis was overshadowed by Batman Begins the same year. Bale plays a psychotic street thug suffering from post traumatic stress disorder who spends the days wasting his life and doing drugs with his loser best friend hoping for a job with Homeland Security. Great performance and one of his most underrated performances.
#4 Batman Begins (2005) Christopher Nolan*****
The film that gave a new life to Batman after the failed Batman & Robin. This film explores the origins of how Bruce Wayne (Bale) became Batman after studying extensively in far east Asia with Ra’s Al Gul in this outstanding reboot of the Batman legacy.
#3 The Machinist (2004) Brad Anderson *****
One of Bale’s best performances as insomniac factory worker Trevor Reznik who hasn’t slept in over a year becoming insanely frail and emaciated and having visions of a coworker who may or may not be real. Bale lost over 60 pounds and looks skeletal for his haunting performance.
#2 The Fighter (2010) David O. Russell *****
Bale gives a brutally raw performance as former Boxer and trainer Dicky Ecklund who is fiercely loyal to his younger brother and protegé Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) but is struggling with a serious crack addiction. One of Bale’s best performance and his 2011 Oscar Winning performance. A sequel is rumored but wouldn’t really add anything to the story since Dicky cleans himself up by the end of the film and everything they had to say was told in this film.
#1 American Psycho (2000) Mary Harron *****
Christian Bale’s best performance to date as New York City serial killing yuppie Patrick Bateman. He spends his days working out furiously, barely working on Wall Street, hooking up and torturing hookers and killing random people while obsessing over his good looks, 80’s Pop music and his business cards.
Watch the Exclusive trailer to The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises (July 2012) Christopher Nolan
Ok I have to admit, I was utterly dismayed at the untimely death of the great Heath Ledger. His portrayal of the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight is one of the greatest performances ever captured on film. I was hoping, as I am sure most of you were that they were going to include unused footage from that film and bring him back to life at least for a few scenes for this film. Well no such luck. Regardless I am still looking forward to the conclusion to the trilogy The Dark Knight Rises (July 2012) and the return of the amazing characters you and I both love.
Christian Bale is of course returning as Bruce Wayne/Batman. (Who else could play Batman now?) Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are all set to return as allies of Bruce Wayne.
The casting of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman strikes me as a bit odd but I remember thinking the same thing back in 2007 when I heard Heath Ledger was signed to play the Joker. Well we all know how that performance turned out so you can never be quite sure anymore. She may do an amazing job as the Catwoman far surpassing the great Michelle Pfeiffer from 1992’s Batman Returns and she will definitely do better than Halle Berry in that horrendous 2004 Catwoman movie. I have 100% faith in Christopher Nolan that he knows what he is doing when he casts a specific actor for a role. This may very well turn out to be even bigger than the previous installment.
Or you never know it could go the Spider-Man 3 route and completely ruin the Batman legacy. Highly unlikely but still a possibility.
Watch the trailer below and leave comments with your thoughts.