In film or on stage, performance is a strange thing. Sometimes, the audience values showmanship and wants to see the raw talent of a performer laid bare under the lights. Sometimes, we crave realism – some indefinable feeling that the thing we are seeing on screen is genuine and true, their soul laid bare instead. To achieve one of these is rare, the stuff of chilled spines and tears. What then when an actor pulls off both, simultaneously? And, what when both leads of a film do so? Well, that’s A Star is Born. That’s magic.
When was the last time you were legitimately excited about a Johnny Depp movie? Be honest. Maybe you thought he and Tim Burton would pay appropriate homage to Alice in Wonderland (and were wrong). Or, before that, perhaps you thought a more faithful take on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was warranted (also wrong). Mortdecai? The Lone Ranger? Dark Shadows? Holy shit, Depp probably hasn’t done anything worthwhile in this century, with the possible exception of the first Pirates of the Caribbean flick. So, it is a relief to see him put down the makeup and funny hats and return to a serious role with Black Mass, which released its first full-length trailer recently.
Go check out Alicia Vikander’s IMDB page. You’d be forgiven for not recognizing Vikander or much of her work at this point in time, but very soon that will no longer be the case. This young actress has established herself in smaller indie and foreign titles, and casting directors are starting to take notice. I’d like to draw your attention to a few particular items in her filmography, and then marvel at the films that she will appear in over the next 12 months.