Remembering Pete Postlethwaite in The Usual Suspects

When Pete Postlethwaite passed away this weekend, I immediately thought of the role that first made an impact with me from his acting life -- Kobayashi, the right hand man of the mythically evil Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects.  Prior to that, he appeared in numerous theater productions and television series, with some film roles in Alien3, The Last of the Mohicans, and In the Name of the Father, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. 

But it was after The Usual Suspects that his career really kicked off with parts in James and The Giant Peach, DragonHeart, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Amistad, among others.  My other favorite role of his was probably his brilliant interpretation of the Friar in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, directed by Baz Luhrmann.  His cool, tattooed version of the priestly Laurence was original and truly memorable. 

The Usual Suspect was one of those movies that really struck a chord with me when I first saw it, reaffirming my love for cinema.  From the screenwriting of Christopher McQuarrie to the direction of Bryan Singer to the music of John Ottman to the cinematography of Newton Thomas Sigel, I dare say that the film was a modern masterpiece.  Postlethwaite was just one of many excellent actors who shined in the film, including Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio del Toro, Kevin Pollack, Chazz Palminteri, Dan Hedaya, and others.  It is the kind of movie that keeps you in suspense while watching and then thrills you even more as you watch it again, full of unforgettable lines and mesmerizing scenes that fans continue to quote and re-enact years later.

Even in crappy movies like Aeon Flux and the remakes of The Omen and Clash of the Titans, Postlethwaite knew how to give a stellar performance.  He continued to grace the screen with his talent in recent hits like Inception and The Town.  Who knows what other great performances he could have given  if death had not cut short his time with us.  But the glory of movies means that his work lives on and he hopefully will be remembered for generations to come. 

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