Heath Ledger



lords_of_dogtown_185x270The inspiration for this post came after re watching my favorite movie in high school, Lords of Dogtown. A fast paced surfer movie about the birth of skateboarding and a skate culture that would rule the Californian coast for decades to come. In Lords of Dogtown Ledger plays a strung out beach bum turned store owner/ skate team manager. He plays a character that the audience doesn’t like but his role compliments the movie so well. This is why I value his work so much, even as the villain i find myself rooting for him. It’s not very often that one comes out of a movie and compliments the villain. In Lords of Dogtown Ledgers physicalization is immaculate down to the bone. His every movement complimented and helped develop his character as Skip. Through his body language he made  his character emotionally felt by the audience. In one scene he is drunk hanging off the side of his shop building and his whole demeanor in this scene was controlled but in that moment it’s as if he was a better version of the shop owner from the original story they were recreating . Ledger is the type of actor that you forget is acting, and that is one of the most magical skills an actor can have. Another great example of Ledgers on screen finesse is his role as the Joker in the Dark Knight. The Joker and Skip are similar roles yet Ledgers plays them independently with great success. According to Tim Teeman of The Times Ledger “delivers a career-defining performance” as the Joker. Ledgers acting in The Dark Night is superb to say the least. He was connected to his role as the joker, and his physicality defined his character. From head to toe his posture was that of a “deranged lord of chaos”-Marc Lee, The Daily Telegraph. He carried himself in a contradicting manner, he was lackadaisically with his arms and posture but would straighten up and be direct when scaring someone. Code switching along the way. He mislead the audience a lot, from the illusion of choice with Harvey Dent to the manipulation of the Gotham city police force and government. His voice was too pristine. In a defining scene, Ledger is in a car running away form batman and he sticks his head out of the window and rolls his eyes while letting out a sadistic laugh that just sends chills up your spine. It was minor uses of voice like this that made Ledgers performance as the Joker so great. Ledgers internal work is difficult to articulate with his role as the Joker because his character is so misleading and devious. His tactics were beyond inventive and know one could anticipate the Jokers next move, yet his choices where consistent with his psychology. He was consistent with his inconsistencies, if you will. Ledger had everyone at the edge of their seats with this performance. The entire movie is one big game and the Joker in a way ends up winning.gkvyil

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