George Clooney, who turns 57 today, is an actor who is more known for his looks (especially among the ladies) than his acting. Clooney was indeed known as a handsome but wooden actor for a long time. He changed this wholly unfounded perception with his performance in Michael Crichton’s long-running TV show ER. But the tag has stayed with him like a barnacle. Granted, he is not the best artiste in business, but he can act and has given some truly good performances over the course of his career. These days his name appears as the producer in the credits and he rarely acts. But he will be back. In the meantime, let us take a look at the best movies of his career.
1. Ocean’s Eleven: Arguably Clooney’s best film, Ocean’s Eleven is also one of Steven Soderbergh’s best movies. A simple heist story is transformed into a gripping and very rewatchable film by its brilliant cast, most of all the phenomenon that is George Clooney who delivers one of his best performances. There is an all-female film coming next month, and it would be great if Clooney turns up in a cameo.
2. The Descendants: If you still think Clooney cannot act, you have to watch The Descendants. This is the definitive Clooney film. His character’s wife meets with an accident and goes into a coma. He subsequently discovers that she was having an affair. He has to deal with the double whammy of his wife’s betrayal and her death. The range of emotions on Clooney’s face is astounding in this film. Oh, and the movie is really good too.
3. Up in the Air: Clooney can do some good comedy too. In Up in the Air, Clooney’s character is a man who fires people for a living. He begins a causal relationship with Vera Farmiga’s character on his frequent flights. Up in the Air is often poignant but laced with humour throughout.
4. Michael Clayton: A legal thriller, Michael Clayton is a film about the corruption and darkness that characterises the shady entity we call “system”. Clooney’s character is a fixer, somebody like Jonathan Banks’s Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad, in the film who works for a law firm.
5. The American: George Clooney plays a ruthless assassin in this movie. By ruthless, I do mean ruthless. He shoots his lover at the beginning of the film after they are ambushed by a sniper. He does that to protect his identity. Yes, that ruthless.