Ralph Fiennes is one of Britain’s leading actors – and, as witnessed in The Invisible Woman, acclaimed filmmakers. With strong beginnings in the world of theatre, resulting in what is evidently an illustrious career on the big screen, Fiennes shows no signs of keeping us from performances which can emote, dazzle and delight. With The Invisible Woman released on Blu-ray and DVD on 16th June 2014 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, we recount the most memorable Ralph Fiennes films to date.
Schindler’s List (1994)
Despite acting in theatre – most famously, the Royal Shakespeare Company – for some time before his film debut (an adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, opposite Juliette Binoche in 1992), Ralph Fiennes drew international acclaim for his role as Amon Goeth in Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Portraying a Nazi concentration camp officer set the tone for a career that would see Fiennes delve into dark material to depict challenging, amoral roles. Although he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar (losing out to Tommy Lee Jones’s performance from The Fugitive), Fiennes has spoken candidly about the disturbing effect the character had on him.
The English Patient (1996)
Fiennes bothered the Academy mere years later for his role as Count László Almásy in WWII epic The English Patient. His character is a Hungarian cartographer who is mapping the Sahara on an expedition, with a similar look to that of Indiana Jones (tanned skin, khaki clothing, and a suspiciously similar hat), however the story is retold by Almásy, critically burned and treated by Hana, a nurse played by Juliette Binoche. The film may have scooped Best Picture, but Fiennes lost out this time to Geoffrey Rush for his role in Shine.
Red Dragon (2002)
Turning in a memorably chilling performance, Fiennes plays Francis Dolarhyde, otherwise known as The Tooth Fairy, a psychotic serial killer who murders innocents at the behest of a ‘Great Red Dragon’. A film within the canon of the Hannibal Lecter series, and a direct remake of Thomas Harris’ novel, this is one of many roles – including a lead role alongside Jennifer Lopez in rom-com Maid in Manhattan – in which the actor starred in. Call it the calm before the Voldemort storm, if you will.
The Constant Gardener (2005)
Fernando Meirelles’ adaptation of John le Carré’s novel of the same name stars Fiennes in the central role of British diplomat Justin Quayle, a British diplomat who goes to Kenya in an attempt to solve the murder of his wife, Tessa (Rachel Weisz), an Amnesty activist. Filmed on-location in Kenyan slum villages Kibera and Loiyangalani, such was the effect on Fiennes that he later became patron of a charity (Constant Gardener Trust) founded by the cast and crew of the film.
Harry Potter (2005-2011)
With the Harry Potter franchise long since a sensation, talk turned to who would be filling the shoes of a character often mentioned, but not yet witnessed: Lord Voldemort. Fiennes was the natural choice, starring alongside the cream of British cinema in a performance cited as ‘sublime villainy.’ First appearing in fourth outing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he also appeared in Order of the Phoenix, as well as Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2.
In Bruges (2008)
Although In Bruges is largely remembered – if not for its picaresque on-screen depiction of the Belgian city then the dynamite on-screen – the pairing of Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, spouting Martin McDonagh’s words better than most actors could, Ralph Fiennes’ head-rearing performance in the film’s middle is deliciously foul-mouthed, hilarious and memorable as hell (“YOU’RE an inanimate fu*king object!”). He plays Harry Waters, the employer of the two lead’s respective hitmen who is forced to head to Bruges to finish a job the two of them cannot.
Fiennes turned his hand to directing for Coriolanus, his modern day envisioning of the Shakespeare play, in which the actor also starred alongside an impressive cast consisting of Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain. A former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, this was a project close to the filmmaker’s heart and one that wholly succeeds.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Wes Anderson whipped together an overwhelming cast for his critically-lauded latest, ranging from Willem Dafoe and Harvey Keitel right through to Saoirse Ronan and Jude Law, but his stroke move was heading the talented bunch up by Ralph Fiennes on potential career-best form. Playing concierge M. Gustav, who must teams up with his lobby boy to prove his innocence when framed for murder, Fiennes delivers on all levels as the quick-witted, dialogue-heavy moustachioed character.
The Invisible Woman (2014)
Having very recently displayed an interest in the works of Charles Dickens as Magwitch in the latest adaptation of Great Expectations, Fiennes opted to skip over any other adaptation for his second directorial effort in order to play the man himself. Not just another biopic, The Invisible Woman tells the story of the author’s affair with a happily married mother (Felicity Jones), haunted by a past built upon the remorse and guilt of her scandalous affair.
The Invisible Woman is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 16th June 2014 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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