French actor Vincent Cassel is the man. In a perfect world, I could start and end this article with that one sentence. Alas, I need to convince all of you as well, so that is just what I am here to do. When people think amazing actors, it seems there are a handful of performers that most people seem to agree on. Even if some of his recent choices have not been up to snuff, Brad Pitt seems to be an actor most seem to enjoy and appreciate. Very few would argue that Daniel Day-Lewis is not a genius of modern film. Robert Downey Jr. is the underdog who fought his way back from the very edge of the abyss to become even MORE popular then he was before his descent. Kevin Spacey may seem to be vanishing from the limelight, but in the late 90’s, very few actors could touch what he was doing. Hell, even unkempt guys like Sam Rockwell seem like they rarely fail.
But what about those great actors who seem to fall between the cracks? The actors whose names and faces seem to always be forgotten, no matter how consistently amazing their performances are? We all have a handful of actors and actresses who we greatly admire, but feel like the rest of the world doesn’t for some reason. And I think the best of us want to change that. We want to make sure that attention gets a little more evenly distributed, if you catch my drift.
While there are a great many under-appreciated actors in modern film, (Michael Pitt to name just one more), few are as under-appreciated as Vincent Cassel. Though the reason for him being under-appreciated on American shores makes total sense (he is a French actor), and even though he has tasted a bit of a cross over success here, his American films have gotten him very little attention (outside of one I will mention shortly, that involves a dark water fowl). I am here to let you know that if you are avoiding his French films because you don’t like subtitles or don’t think the movies will hold your interest, you are missing out on one of the greatest actors alive right now, regardless of culture or nationality.
The best actors can be all things at any given time, and that is just how I see Vincent Cassel. In one film, he can be a foaming madman, hinting at deriving joys from incestuous relations, yet in another film, he can be the dashing lead, causing woman to swoon at his steely eyes and distinct accent. He can be the hero chasing the bad guy, and a second later, he can be the bad guy. He has shown a cinematic rage few actors could touch, and I think it’s time for all the world to familiarize themselves with this amazing actor.