Neeson gives an Oscar-nominated turn in Steven Spielberg’s sweeping WWII blockbuster based on the heroic true to story of Oskar Schindler who saved the lives of more than a thousand Jews during the Holocaust by employing them. As Schinlder, Neeson gives an unforgettable performance as an everyday man forced to rethink his beliefs and ethics during a horrific period in world history. His breakout role, Neeson manages to paint a character that is just as human as you or I, but goes to extraordinary measures (at great risk to himself and his family) to do the right thing.
Kinsey (2004) In my opinion, Neeson’s best performance. He plays the infamous professor Alfred Kinsey who’s research on sex and sexual behaviour has helped influence social and cultural values worldwide for decades. Neeson throws himself into this fascinating look into Kinsey’s research and personal life. His immersive performance makes you just as inquisitive as the doctor and Neeson holds nothing back in this complex, hilarious, emotional and exposing role as a man who took sex from being taboo to talkable.
Michael Collins (1996) It seems only fitting that arguably one of Ireland’s greatest actors plays Ireland’s greatest revolutionary; Michael Collins. Working with experienced director Neil Jordan, Neeson gives an explosive performance as Collins – superbly showing his humanity and at the same time immortality as the face of a rebellion. Together with Julia Roberts and Alan Rickman, Neeson leads a trio of strong performances that saw him nominated for a Golden Globe. The fact he didn’t even nab an Oscar nomination is not only unbelievable, but incredibly unfair.
Five Minutes To Heaven (2010) Neeson stars in another iconic Irish story, this time as former UVF member Alistair Little. Twenty-five years after Little killed Joe Griffen's (James Nesbitt) brother, the media arrange an auspicious meeting between the two. Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel weaves a loaded tale that triumphs thanks to the powerful and heart-wrenching performances of Neeson and Nesbitt. It’s hard to say who actually proves the superior actor, but that’s not the point. Neeson gives one of his most calculated, building and lasting performances as a man trying to rewrite his past.
Batman Begins (2005) The opportunity to play a villain is a rare one for Neeson and he leapt at it; immersing himself in the role of Ra's Al Ghul/Henri Ducard/The Phantom Of The Opera. Just kidding about the last character, but Neeson crafted a complex, multi-layered villain who lost sight of the true meaning of justice. It was a suave turn and a great way to kick of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series alongside his co-star of 2005 Cillian Murphy.
Breakfast On Pluto (2005) Neeson re-teams with Michael Collins director Neil Jordan for a scene-stealing supporting turn in this little-seen charmer. Now, if you have only watched five minutes of Cillian Murphy’s portrayal as transgender Irsih lad/lass Kitten, then you know just how much of a compliment it is to say Neeson’s moments as Father Liam were, indeed, scene-stealing
. . . .and The Worst
The Chronicles Of Narnia franchise Sure, he’s only a voice actor in Thinly Veiled Christianity: The Franchise so at least Neeson is spared having to show his face. But the Narnia series, which has always been a poor man’s Lord Of The Rings meets Harry Potter, seemed to use Neeson's voicing of the Aslan character in such a way that when you watched that CGI lion speak nobly about bravery and faith, you couldn’t help but stifle a giggle at the ridiculousness.
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