I was greatly saddened to read about the death of one of my favorite Character actor’s Pete Postlethwaithe.
Postlethwaithe was one of those guys who immediately took command of any scene he was in. I first noticed him at fourteen in The Usual Suspects were he plays the right hand man of the mythical super criminal Keyser Soze. In the scene, and if you’ve seen the movie you know the one I’m talking about, Postlethwaithe is cornered with a gun to his head by a roomful of dangerous men who have every reason to kill him.
At the time, my concept of villainy was basically the guy who tried to beat up the hero. If you couldn’t fight well what good were you? That is until I watched Postlethwaithe demolish a room full of armed men with nothing but the clipped sound of his pronounced diction. Revealing that he was so far ahead of them that he was actually staring at the back of their heads, and he had his finger on each of their weak spots.
He proved the biggest badass in the room without raising so much as his voice. Let alone his fist.
Like most character actors, his appeal was cyclical. There were times you could hardly go to the theater without catching him in something (I’ve always been fond of his appearance in Henry Selick’s James And The Giant Peach) and years that were rather lean (I remember perking up very briefly when he turned up in the otherwise dire Aeon Flux).
He had just appeared twice to great effect this year (Clash of the what now?). First in Inception were he knocked the small but crucial role of the enigmatic Maurice Fisher out of the park, and even more impressively in The Town, were he embodied a figure of profound moral rot in one of the most imposing performances of the year. I was in short, greatly looking forward to him becoming unavoidable again.
But whether or not the movies he appeared in were worthy of his talents Postlethwaithe was one of those rare actors who made every single movie he appeared in better, and I am very sorry to see him go.
My thoughts go out to his friends and family.