Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Week 2 - Morgan Freeman

This man needs no introduction. One of the most accomplished actors of his generation, Morgan Freeman has captured the hearts of young and old alike by mixing award-winning performances (Million Dollar Baby) with just plain fun roles in "lower esteemed" movies (Lucky Number Slevin, Wanted).

Freeman has earned his stripes, appearing in over 53 films since 1980. His work spans genres, including westerns (Unforgiven), drama (Gone Baby Gone), thrillers (Sum of All Fears), and comic book films (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight). Freeman's voice is instantly recognizable, and it up there with James Earl Jones and Don LaFontaine among my "best movie related voices of all time" list.

My favorite performance is an easy decision. Even with his outstanding track record, in my opinion nothing comes close to Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption. The combination of narration and acting makes for a performance so moving it will nearly bring you to tears. The ending (which I won't ruin) is far and away my favorite ending of a movie, ever. But the whole thing would have been different if Freeman hadn't have played Red with such a mixture of reserved contentment and childlike anticipation.

After recovering from his recent car accident, he will be seen in a few high-profile projects. The Human Factor (directed by Eastwood), where he will be playing Nelson Mandela; and one that I've never heard of called Thick As Thieves, where he plays an old thief who calls Antonio Banderas in to help him with one last job should both be out before the end of 2009.

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