While trimming my beard, I've been thinking about Brad Pitt. Not the whole gossip crap, but more about the important stuff, his movies.
What I've been thinking about is whether or not there might actually be a level of typecasting or at least some form of trend when it comes to his best/most memorable performances.
I'm not just talking about him playing Hollywood hero parts generally, I'm talking about the way the characters he plays best are framed in the context of their stories.
What's Pitt's best role? Tyler from "Fight Club" obviously. Now he is not the protagonist in the film, that's Edward Norton's character, but as you'll know, a supporting player can be the most memorable part of a story. And "Fight Club" is a story. Norton narrates ABOUT Tyler throughout. The story's structure is based around a kind of distance and possible veneration of the good/evil of that man.
Another great role from Brad is in "A River Runs Through It". This film has an old man recollect about his relationship with his little brother. The little brother is Pitt. We don't see HIS perspective. We once again watch him from a distance.
Same goes for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" where (for all the film's flaws) the story is told through the eyes of Cate Blanchett. "Tree of Life" does something similar.
There is always a distance when it comes to Brad. Even in films like "Inglorious Bastards", "Fury" and "12 Years A Slave" there is always a mythic distancing between us and Mr Pitt.
We have to see the world through the protagonist's eyes and sometimes that involves surprising us by having the guy that takes up most of the poster NOT be that protagonist.
"The Lord of the Rings" follows Frodo, surely, but Sam is the protagonist. He is always the one through whose eyes we witness the drama. He gets the last line.
So while the perception of Brad Pitt is such that he is a Hollywood leading man in the vain of Clooney, Willis, DiCaprio, Stewart and Bogart, the actor seems to use that charm he has to go against that very thing, as the best illusionists do. We venerate Brad for various superficial reasons in the real world so we transfer that reverence into a film.
That is not to disparage the man's clear talent. His very nature is that of a myth and I feel like he knows that. He utilises his own image to craft his film persona into a perversion and throw the light back at us.
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" follows the latter man and his obsession with the former leading to both their downfalls.
Perhaps this is the greatest testament to the Brad Pitt affect. This celebrity mirage which does more harm than good.
Well done, Brad Pitt. You might have just taught us a valuable lesson.