With such outstanding and unique roles such as Paul Maclean in Robert Redford’s, A River Runs Through It, Tristan in the beautifully timeless Legends of the Fall or Detective David Mills in the David Fincher classic Se7en, one could have only imagined what was on the horizon for such a talented actor. The parts of Jeffery Goines in Twelve Monkey’s and of course the iconic Tyler Durden in Fight Club were career makers and some of the coolest that had been put on screen. So it begs the question, What happened to Brad Pitt?
It would seem to one that he had shaken off some of the more laughable moments one has in an acting career. I believe we’d all like to forget Cool World. When did he lose his cool aspect? While he was as good as anyone in the Soderbergh trilogy of Ocean’s movies, did that make us look at him different? Did he try too hard to be in great movies and some how had it become a job or a need to be in something special instead of letting it happen or come to him?
I don’t like the thought of an actor TRYING to win an Oscar but Im sure it weighs on some actors as they try to build a lasting legacy. Hopefully this isn’t what he was trying to do. Hi body of work is impressive and the film makers he’s had the pleasure of working with is hall of fame. Does that mean he was right for those roles? It is true that sometimes big names are cast in parts simply to draw a larger audience to the movie. Was this happening to him?
Let’s examine what movie may have been the turning point, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Not to knock this movie because, for what it is, it’s an entertaining action movie thats a fun ride, it did something else, it brought Angelina Jolie into his life and made him a bigger tabloid target than ever before in his life. I don’t like the thought of the Yoko Ono syndrome but just ask Ben Affleck what it was like being with such a high profile personality (Jennifer Lopez). His chosen parts weren’t exactly top notch films, i.e. Gili, Paycheck, Surviving Christmas etc. etc. etc. Post Lopez saw him in State of Play and directing Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Monster changes in a career timeline.
Brad has seemed to almost be trying to hard. He was the dull spot in a Coen brothers movie who are notorious for great acting in their movies. He then tried re-teaming with David Fincher in the F. Scott Fitzgerald story, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Although Benjamin garnered him an Oscar nomination and the movie received high praise, it felt flat and a tad over acted. He then had the privilege of working with this generations visionary in Quentin Tarantino on Inglorious Basterds which turned out to be one of the more weak Tarantino movies and Pitt seemed almost cartoonish rather than the terrifying force against the Nazi’s he should have been. That brings us to Terrance Mallick’s Tree of Life. A very art house feeling of a overly thought movie that comes across as pretentious and overly philosophical instead of telling what feels like a good story but get’s lost in the directors self indulgence.
For the first time in about 7 years I thoroughly enjoyed a Brad Pitt movie and more importantly HIM in the sports movie, Moneyball. Pitt seemed to judge his instincts and it felt like he was being genuine. What most intrigues me is that Ms. Jolie couldn’t seem to care any less about him and this movie when asked about. She says the right things and is very cliche in her answers. This makes me think he may be on the right track.
Bear in mind that I’m not dismissing all his movies during this time period. He has had some good movies such as Babel and The Assassination of Jesse James and the brilliant Guy Ritchie movie, Snatch, which I hold in high regard, it just seems that the bad out weighed the good.
I hope that Brad is on the way back to being one of, if not the coolest man in Hollywood and maybe we will all be better entertained in the future.