Thursday, January 24, 2008

Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

The news broke, and I'm deeply saddened. When I heard the news yesterday afternoon, I couldn't believe it at all, and shortly after the story was confirmed, I passed by a poster of The Dark Knight and nearly broke out into tears. It's sad because because Heath Ledger was just starting to break out as an actor, and was starting to become really freaking good. His best performance will always go down as Ennis del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, but it's such a spectacular one. Every stuttering murmer of dialouge he spoke was a thing of beauty-- hardly ever has an actor made mumbling so graceful or poetic. The performance was put on par with the best of Brando when first released, and will probably always hold. It will always be his glory, which makes the tragedy of his untimely passing all the more depressing. This past year he wowed again in Todd Haynes' trippy Bob Dylan movie I'm Not There, giving a complete performance in a fractured film. But then again he was always surprising as an actor-- he made the most of more modest films like Monster's Ball, Lords of Dogtown, and Casanova by his pure effervesent charm and ability to go all weird. I still remember when I was 15 and saw Heath Ledger for the first time in the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, the movie itself I don't really remember, but I will never forget Ledger's character (a modern take on Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew) serenading Julia Stiles with a doopy rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." It was goofy but held with me. This is a true loss for the cinema, for his talent was undeniable, and I had always hoped to be watching him, and getting lost in his charisma for years, and decades to come. In the words of Jack Twist, "I don't know how to quit you."

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