Total Recall: Guy Pearce's Best Movies

We count down the best-reviewed work of the Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark star.

Guy Pearce

By the time he turned 20, Guy Pearce had already been an award-winning amateur bodybuilder, fencing student, and Australian soap star -- the kind of career path that not only must make for great conversation at cocktail parties, but set the tone for an eclectic filmography that has seen Pearce go on to take roles in period dramas, Disney comedies, and neo-noir classics. This week, he returns to theaters with Katie Holmes and a house full of creepy-crawlies in the Guillermo del Toro-produced Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, and we're celebrating by taking a look back at his critical highlights. It's time for Total Recall!


58%

10. First Snow

A thriller starring Guy Pearce as a man with a haunted past who's told by a fortune teller that he may not have long to live, First Snow should have been a slam dunk with critics -- especially considering that the fortune teller was played by consummate character actor J.K. Simmons, and that the supporting cast was rounded out by dependable faces such as William Fichtner and Adam Scott. Alas, a sizable percentage of writers felt the finished product was too slow, and didn't do enough with its intriguing premise -- although for Stephen Holden of the New York Times, it was pretty strong stuff. Calling it "a pointed little thriller with metaphysical pretensions," Holden argued that "First Snow is shrewd enough to approach basic philosophical questions in sneaky, offhand ways."

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63%

9. Traitor

It's hard to decide which is more surprising about Traitor -- that it presented a sympathetic view of a Muslim terrorist (or is he?) in 2008, or that the story was cooked up by none other than Steve Martin. Either way, Traitor represented a nice opportunity for star Don Cheadle to show off his dramatic chops, along with a terrific supporting cast that included Pearce as an FBI agent whose relentless pursuit of Cheadle helps frame the final act of the movie. It didn't do much at the box office, but for critics like Salon's Stephanie Zacharek, Traitor was "an earnest, efficient, serviceable thriller that makes a valiant effort to untangle some of the moral complexities of the post-9/11 world."

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73%

8. The Count of Monte Cristo

For its tenth adaptation, Alexandre Dumas' classic novel received a bit of a facelift -- and, as is their wont, a number of critics were fairly cheesed about the storyline alterations and beefed-up action that director Kevin Reynolds and screenwriter Jay Wolpert brought to the tale. For most, however, the most crucial elements of the story remained intact -- namely, the struggle for vengeance of a French sailor (James Cavizel) who is betrayed and sent to prison by his supposed friend (Pearce). As Peter Bradshaw put it in his review for the Guardian, "Dumas's classic tale is such a rattling good yarn, there's nothing you can do to derail it as it hurtles down the track."


78%

7. Two Brothers

The two brothers of the title are a pair of tigers that viewers meet as adorable cubs in the opening act, but this isn't the syrupy cuddlefest it might look like. Really, although Two Brothers doesn't lack for coo-inducing shots of the fuzzy protagonists, it's also a darker and altogether more intense animal movie than American audiences have grown accustomed to -- the tale of a tiger family torn asunder by an unscrupulous hunter (played by Pearce) who wreaks havoc in the brothers' lives. Does it all end on a heartwarming note? Of course. But as the Arizona Republic's Randy Cordova argued, "Anyone older than 12 can figure out what's going to happen, but the movie still packs an emotional punch that will keep adults entertained as much as the young ones."

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87%

6. The Proposition

With John Hillcoat behind the cameras and a script by Australian musical icon Nick Cave, The Proposition is a modern Western with offscreen credentials that fairly ooze cool -- and the same could be said of its cast, a lineup that included Pearce, John Hurt, Emily Watson, Ray Winstone, and Danny Huston. They all came together to help dramatize the tale of the Burns brothers gang, a notorious group of 19th century Australian outlaws who weren't above raping and/or murdering anyone who got in their way. Not exactly a family film, in other words -- but one whose finely tuned sense of violent dread mesmerized critics like Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who wrote, "Hillcoat creates a vision as nihilistic as any horror film ever put on a screen, but so well acted and carefully conceived that it transcends exploitation."

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Comments

PlaystFreak

CJ Lowery

Guy Pearces?

Aug 24 - 04:39 PM

Jordan P.

Jordan Paree

I know! That movie was great!

Aug 24 - 05:47 PM

Phil W.

Phil Welsh

Where is The Hurt Locker?! This should be #1 on the list!

Aug 24 - 04:53 PM

filmfanatic

Chris Stanton

Pearce was in hurt locker for all of thirty seconds so I doubt they'd count that.

Aug 24 - 06:37 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

Sorry but L.A. Confidential is indeed his best movie, even if he had been more than 1 minute in Hurt Locker.

Aug 24 - 07:55 PM

John D.

John Doe

LA Confidential is stupid. Scary Movie is funny. Blah blah blah.

Aug 24 - 11:37 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

ugh, The Hurt Locker . . . I'm so deeply upset about the Iraq War that I hate The Hurt Locker as well . . . we invaded Iraq qithout provocation and now over 6 thousand solders are dead. I always remember standing over a grave of a soldier who dieed in Iraq and the signatures of his two daughters writing "we miss you" on his tombstone (in Chesterfield, Virginia). I HATE the Iraq War and (as a consequence) HATE The Hurt Locker--I can't seem to get around it.

Aug 25 - 07:44 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed.

Aug 25 - 11:49 AM

Dave J

Dave J

People said the same sh-t about Vietnam, and as soon it was over, some of the films coming from their are hailed as masterpieces eg Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, and you can bet that as soon as this Iraq war is over too- they're going to say the same thing!

Aug 25 - 12:14 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I didn't find the Hurt Locker good enough to rank with the Vietnam war movies you mentioned. Good movie, yes but not in that class.

Aug 26 - 03:27 PM

Dave J

Dave J

The reason it may be is that because it's still kind of going on- it's hard to accept it as being great for the time being- the war in Iraq has to be completely over and done with, until the last troop is gone from there! You also made me realize that war in the jungle is kind of a different war, than war in the desert!

Aug 26 - 04:24 PM

Chubby Movie Goer

Chubby Movie Goer

I hate all war movies because I'm anti-war and I'm not gay.

Aug 27 - 12:05 PM

Dave J

Dave J

This includes World War II which was 100% justified! I hate Nazis!

Aug 31 - 12:28 PM

Dave J

Dave J

And if you hated the fact that our troops are fighting in Iraq in the first place to please lobbiests for going after their oil, than blame the people who voted for George Bush- the guys a pro-war mongering idiot!

Aug 25 - 02:02 PM

quietus28

jj l

Indeed. Ain't the soldiers' fault they're there.

Aug 26 - 08:44 AM

Movie Guy

Movie Guy

What a terrible reason to hate a movie, I mean you're not even fairly judging it, especially since it's a movie that's against the war, i.e. on your side.

Aug 26 - 09:14 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Memento, Count of MC, and Ravenous are all great movies.

But his best movie is LA Confidential. Friggin' love that movie. If that movie and I were in a rain storm, we would run for shelter in an old barn. Then I would help that movie out of its wet clothes, lay it down on some soft hay, whisper sweet nothings, then make sweet love to it. That movie is the shit!

Aug 24 - 04:54 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

My personal favorite is Ravenous, an overlooked but tasty little gem.

Aug 24 - 09:45 PM

Dave J

Dave J

A little too grotesque for my tastes!

Aug 25 - 12:15 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Actually the director exercised good restraint in that film. It was gory, yes but it could have been just a typical horror splatterfest. Instead it was something more unique.

Aug 26 - 03:30 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I don't think it works with repeated viewings, though( if one were to judge it by boxoffice). And I agree about the restraints, but it consists of the same kind of tensions as "Alive" and other cannibalistic films which they're so many I can probably live without!

Aug 26 - 03:47 PM

Reza T.

Reza Trikurnia

one of my favorite actor....
my favorite is l.a. confidential, memento, and animal kingdom...
unfortunately he was never able academy awards nomination.....

Aug 24 - 04:56 PM

Maxamillion

Richard Dempsey

The Hurt Locker? I love that movie.

Aug 24 - 04:58 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree- that's a very good 'a soldier's journal' type of film!

Aug 26 - 01:40 PM

thisguyjones

Chris Jones

Have you seen 'The Hurt Locker'? If you recall, Guy Pearce is barely in it for 5 minutes. Hardly enough to be considered a "Guy Pearce Movie", I know he chooses a lot of supporting roles, but c'mon, that is hardly even a cameo.

Aug 24 - 05:11 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Your point is valid. But these lists have included animated films where the featured actor has like 10 lines of dialogue so.....

Maybe RT is trying to gear away from that in their Best Movie Lists, as they should.

Aug 24 - 05:20 PM

thisguyjones

Chris Jones

True, if they aren't moving away from that trend, they should be. An actor doesn't have to be top bill, but it should be a prominent role. Or at least an important role for the movie. Guy in 'The Hurt Locker' wasn't really either.

Aug 24 - 08:47 PM

MileZing

Dre M.

If you can recall, RT had a Total Recall with Ralph Fiennes' best movies and they left him out of Hurt Locker as well. I may be wrong, but I think RT is trying to distinguish roles from cameos, so I agree with their assessment of leaving him out of The Hurt Locker and The Road.

BTW, I think Guy Pearce is an amazing actor. I think one of his strengths as an actor is that he's very convincing whether he's a cop, a drag queen, an amnesiac, a king, etc. LA Confidential is one of my favorites and as close to a perfect movie as you can get. I love the interaction between him and Crowe during that film (the brain and the muscle) - total hatred at first toward one another, but then form an incredible bond and partnership toward the end. Actually, he was great in every scene and I think really helped bring out the best in everyone.

I haven't seen Animal Kingdom yet, but I know I'll be Netflixing that one ASAP. Really happy to see RT choose Guy Pearce for this Total Recall; he knows his craft and really is one of the best and most convincing actors alive today.

Aug 25 - 07:33 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

It's their house, they make the rules. For example, the Toy Story series was included in Tom Hank's best films. However, to me, voice acting really doesn't count as a starring role - more like a separate category. I already know some disagree with this, but I'm gonna stick to my guns here. Getting to the point, Guy Pierce's 5-6 minutes or so in The Hurt Locker does indeed qualify as a starring role in the film, thus it should be included in this list. In my semi-expert opinion, anyway.

Aug 26 - 03:43 PM

dudemeister

dude meister

Great films there. Pearce is a super-underrated actor who needs more roles, and for those of you asking about The Hurt Locker, he really was only in there for the first 5 minutes. BTW anyone here pick up Deus Ex: Human Revolution? I've just started it, and its already got its augmented hooks into me, I think its brilliant, what about you fine users? And how are you playing it? I'm taking the guns-blazing route, mainly because I suck ass at stealth.

Aug 24 - 05:12 PM

David Tanny

David Tanny

That's looking like a must-play for me. I've been looking forward to that game for months. But unfortunately I'm currently broke. No way can I dish out $60 right now...

Aug 24 - 06:58 PM

dudemeister

dude meister

I feel you man, You should rent it or something. Hell, all the great games coming out this year are killing my wallet.

Aug 24 - 08:06 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

Yeah I am gonna give it a rent and if it is as awesome as they say, I will buy it. Too many duds have made me cautious to just go buy a game.

Aug 25 - 10:06 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Picked it up yesterday and I have put way too much time in it already. I spent nearly two hours just poking around the police station in Detroit, trying to get everything I could and find out all the secrets and ways to complete things. One of the best campaign based games of this generation of gaming. I'm going mainly combat on my first playthrough, with a little stealth when it is the more viable option. I'm also scoping out all of the environments so I can do a stealth only, kill nobody playthrough the second time.

Aug 24 - 08:34 PM

dudemeister

dude meister

Haha I did the exact same thing. It's the only game where I think I've even bothered to take the side-quests.

Aug 24 - 09:16 PM

DrJimbo32

Aaron Thomas

Deus Ex is awesome. The soundtrack fits so perfect too. The Boss fights are a pain though

Aug 25 - 02:46 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Your point is valid. But these lists have included animated films where the featured actor has like 10 lines of dialogue so.....

Maybe RT is trying to gear away from that in their Best Movie Lists, as they should.

Aug 24 - 05:20 PM

thisguyjones

Chris Jones

True, if they aren't moving away from that trend, they should be. An actor doesn't have to be top bill, but it should be a prominent role. Or at least an important role for the movie. Guy in 'The Hurt Locker' wasn't really either.

Aug 24 - 08:47 PM

Myron

Myron Kinsey

Guy Pearce has been in really some great films: Memento,A Proposition ( a personal favorite of mine), and the magnificent L.A. Confidential, all masterful films. I hope he gets better leading roles in the future, shame Are you Afraid of the Dark is starting to get a low score and it now now rotten (but that will probably change) but I'll still see it anyway just because of some of the talent behind it.

Aug 24 - 05:23 PM

BLBnow

Brad Barfoot

Havnt see "The Proposition", yet, but it looks pretty bad ass.

Aug 24 - 05:24 PM

David Tanny

David Tanny

It's a great movie. One of the best westerns out there.

Aug 24 - 06:56 PM

meep

Melinda Smith

Guy in a John Hillcoat film, written and scored by Nick Cave and co-starring Ray Winstone. What more could you want?

Aug 26 - 08:32 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

A plausible story that wasn't quite as dull to watch, perhaps.

Aug 26 - 03:34 PM

meep

Melinda Smith

Your score of 100 for Avatar and 50 for Animal Kingdom tells me we might often disagree.

Aug 26 - 06:26 PM

rocknblues81

Brian Hurley

If you like believable stories then who come you liked Avatar?

Aug 27 - 02:54 AM

Myron

Myron Kinsey

I liked Avatar.

Aug 31 - 03:45 PM

Steve R.

Jared Ashkenaz

So he's been in the Oscar best picture winners for two years in a row, cool.

Aug 24 - 05:32 PM

Jordan P.

Jordan Paree

I know! That movie was great!

Aug 24 - 05:47 PM

Justin D.

Justin D.

I guess I'm the only person who liked The Time Machine.

Aug 24 - 05:47 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Watch Bad Movie Beatdowns review and you'll know why.

Aug 24 - 06:02 PM

BLaCKWoLF

BLaCKWoLF .

You are not alone, Justin

Aug 24 - 11:27 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Watch Bad Movie Beatdowns review and you'll know why.

Aug 24 - 06:02 PM

Rodschach

Rod Guzman

I gotta say MEMENTO, Guy was awesome playing a brave man looking for revenge without any recent memories. You feel sorry for him at the same time you expect more from him.

Aug 24 - 06:02 PM

filmfanatic

Chris Stanton

Pearce was in hurt locker for all of thirty seconds so I doubt they'd count that.

Aug 24 - 06:37 PM

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