Alright. You don’t have to reach too far back in the memory bank to recall a time when Matthew McConaughey was synonymous with male bimbo. It’s a testament to the quality of work he’s been churning out for the past couple of years that most people who have been following his recent career shift are rethinking that earlier characterization. It’s never entirely clear whether an actor is getting crappy roles because those are the ones they think they’re most suited to, the casting folks think they’re most suited to, or because they’re bad at discerning what’s going to be a non-terrible project or whether it’s impossible to actually determine something that’s going to be good before it’s ever made.
What we know is this: for a while, all Matthew McConaughey seemed to be appearing in were one of two things—courtroom dramas in which he played a suave but flawed southern lawyer type, because he went to law school you know, or else the impossibly handsome surfer dude with the laid back demeanor and hair and beach body who just taunted you with his looks. Then, since 2011, he started doing kind of amazing work, and working with talented directors like Jeff Nichols, William Friedkin, Steven Soderbergh, and coming up, Martin Scorsese. I won’t venture into speculative territory as to how this happened; all I can say is that he has all of a sudden become one of the most interesting and exciting actors today, making surprising choices almost constantly and seamlessly inhabited characters that in lesser hands would seem cartoonish.
If there were only one or two recent examples of tremendous performances I would hesitate to identify it as a trend, but it seems to be the new normal. Here are 6 recent Matthew McConaughey performances that make me think he is on the biggest cinematic hot streak of anybody right now.
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