Thursday 5 April 2012

Film's most unlikely heroes

What makes a leading man a hero?  Is it good looks, brains, someone who can win a fight or take down the bad guy, saving the day?  What if your leading man doesn’t possess those qualities, is he still considered the hero of the hour if he has his flaws whether they be his own making or not...

In Jo Nesbo’s HEADHUNTERS, the Nordic noir thriller based on the best-selling novel, the film’s leading man the charismatic Roger Brown played by Aksel Hennie is your typical anti-hero.  Standing at 5.5”, he is a successful corporate headhunter by day and a prolific art thief by night.  Brown himself has a ‘small man ‘chip on his shoulder as although he has a beautiful home and a stunning wife, his job does not quite stretch to cover the luxurious lifestyle he maintains meaning he has to steal paintings from his rich clients in order to get by. 

After stealing a painting from the wrong sort of man to steal things from Roger finds himself trapped in a dangerous game of cat and mouse where it becomes apparent that whatever dislike initially felt towards his character evaporates to be replaced with a sense of sympathy for him.  As he endures several rather degrading and torturous experiences during his battle for survival you suddenly find you’re rooting for him to get through it all unscathed.  This building tension throughout matched with the gripping action sequences and chase scenes between Roger and his manic hunter make you realise you do actually care what happens to him in the end!

To celebrate the release of Jo Nesbo’s HEADHUNTERS on April 6th we take a look at some of the other least likely heroes to ever triumph on film...

Driver from Drive (2011)

The elusive ‘Driver’, an unnamed and unlikely hero, played by Ryan Gosling, whose day job as a part-time Hollywood stuntman is an ironic contrast to his night time escapades as a getaway driver, aiding criminals in the execution of heist operations. Methodical and detached, he speaks to his clients only by telephone, telling them they have an allotted 5 minutes to do their business but ‘a minute either side of that, you’re on your own.’ However, despite his apparent cold nature, he falls for his lady neighbour Irene and his sole mission becomes to protect her and her son from harm, embroiling himself in a dangerous heist with her convict ex boyfriend in order to keep her safe with tragic consequences.

Professor Snape from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
Professor Snape, played by Alan Rickman in the Harry Potter series is the ultimate unlikely hero with his menacing looks and love for terrorising the students of Hogwarts.  His double agent role, spying for Headmaster Dumbledore and the Dark Lord and his apparent hate towards our series hero Harry kept fans guessing where his true loyalties lay until the very end.  However it wasn’t until the final battle and confrontation with the Dark Lord that his true nature was finally revealed and he was found to be the secret self-sacrificing hero who was on the side of the light all along.

Shrek from Shrek (2001)
The self-confessed big, fat, ugly ogre longs for a quiet life alone in away from all forms of civilisation until he is thrown into a quest to rescue a princess in order to save his beloved swamp. Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers)  finds himself becoming Far Far Away’s most unlikely hero much to his dismay and its fairytale citizens. His sidekick smart-ass annoying talking Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) also deserves a mention as the films second saviour, after all who doesn’t love a talking donkey?

Forrest Gump from Forrest Gump (1994)
Probably one of the rarest heroes possible, Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) is one of the luckiest yet most oblivious people out there, leading a difficult life that inspires all he meets, or those who have the privilege of hearing his story whilst waiting for the bus!  Without the wit, charm or intelligence of a typical leading hero Forrest still manages to capture a true hero spirit from his troubled childhood to his adult life innocently falling in love with his childhood friend, saving his comrades from certain death in Vietnam and running for 3 years, 2 months, 14 day and 6 hours across America just because he felt like it.

Edward Scissorhands from Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Disrupting a candy-coloured idealistic town would be difficult for anyone let alone man-made gothic protagonist, Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp,) whose very existence breaks all the rules of suburban conformity (created by director Tim Burton.) Factor in his non-existent social skills, his unusual appearance and the fact he has scissors for hands it’s a pleasant miracle that he manages to slowly win over the town with his enchanting ice sculptures and remarkable haircuts. Despite his tragic ending Edward still manages to save the day in his own way even if it means returning to an isolated life.

Charlie from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (1971)
Winning one of an elusive five tickets to a secretive chocolate factory would be a childhood dream for many but even more so for Charlie (Peter Ostrum, the likeable working class lad who by chance finds himself in possession of one of the coveted tickets. Facing a precocious TV addict, a spoilt daddy’s girl, a greedy overweight boy and a rude chewing gum obsessed champion; Charlie trumps all with his strong morals and good nature to win the ultimate prize for any child, the chocolate factory.

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