Happy Birthday, Gary Oldman! The consummate and immensely talented British actor celebrates his 60th birthday on March 21. While Oldman certainly starred in understated supporting roles in colossal movie franchises like “Harry Potter” and Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, he can electrify the screen with edgy, highly kinetic performances, when the character calls for it, beginning with his turn as Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious in “Sid & Nancy” (1986). Known for diving into diverse roles, Oldman – of course – won the Best Actor Oscar for Sid Vicious’s complete opposite: Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” (2017).
To help celebrate Oldman’s birthday, here are two films to catch on Amazon.com, and both pictures – and performances – will not offer soft and puffy clouds of comfort, but they will deliver memorable movie experiences!
“Romeo Is Bleeding” (1993) – Police sergeant Jack Grimaldi (Oldman) steps into an urban netherworld of noir, blurred boundaries between the New York City underworld and law enforcement. For years, an intimidating crime boss, Don Falcone (Roy Scheider), has handsomely paid Jack for inside information, but they both meet their match with the gorgeous and ferocious criminal mastermind, Mona Demarkov (Lena Olin). Oldman and director Peter Medak purposely craft Jack as an unlikable lead, but it is impossible to not root for his hopeful salvation in the hands of Ms. Demarkov, one of the most sinister villainesses to ever appear on-screen. Olin chews up and spits out screen time with sex appeal and danger, while the terribly flawed Jack attempts to make sense of this female tornado. Yes, Romeo definitely bleeds, physically and emotionally. (Available to stream on Amazon.com)
⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Immortal Beloved” (1994) – “My angel, my all, my other self.”
Ludwig van Beethoven (Oldman) addressed these words to an unknown woman, his immortal beloved, in a letter found after his death. Beethoven’s wish was to bequeath his estate to this mystery lady, and the famous composer’s best friend Anton Felix Schindler (Jeoren Krabbe) attempts to discover her identity. Writer/director Bernard Rose’s film – which travels in beautiful rooms and outdoor settings throughout Vienna – also leads the audience on a journey to Ludwig’s past, that is littered with conflict and angst. Oldman’s Beethoven has moments of warm generosity, but he is mostly simmering or bursting with frustration, fueled by some known and other unknown motives. At times, the pacing and caustic content can discourage viewers, but patience will be rewarded in the film’s third act. (Available to stream on Amazon.com)
⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Image credits: IMDB.com, Getty Images, Gramercy Pictures, Columbia Pictures
Trailer credits: Movieclips and Moviedinho (YouTube)