Sunday, February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman - RIP

On a day suited to celebrate American football and American commercialism, a tragedy has unfolded. Philip Seymour Hoffman has died from an apparent overdose of heroin. Hoffman has been battling the drug all of his life, relapsing just last year in May and now recently sadly. He was 46 years old.

Hoffman started off his career playing weaselly villains who enjoyed tormenting the young pretty male lead, in movies like Scent of a Woman and My Boyfriend's Back. His breakthrough in film came with the one-two punch of Twister and Boogie Nights. Though a cheesy popcorn flick, Twister gave Hoffman a flashy comical role that reached general audiences, always played up in the adverts, while Boogie Nights, his second teaming with director Paul Thomas Anderson after a small role in his debut feature Hard Eight, had the actor shine with a supporting role as a repressed gay crew member.

From there, his significance to the world of cinema continued to grow. He had spectacular turns in a multitude of films: The Big Lebowski, Happiness, Magnolia, Almost Famous, Punch-Drunk Love, 25th Hour, etc. He even was the sole highlight in sour projects, such as the pathetic rom-com Along Came Polly.

But from late 2005 to today, Hoffman reached the upper echelon of film acting. His magnificent lead performance in Capote earned multiple accolades, cumulating with an Oscar for Best Actor. Then came Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Savages, another Oscar nod for supporting Charlie Wilson's War, then a Best Actor nod for the adaptation of Doubt, Synecdoche, New York, Pirate Radio, Moneyball, A Late Quartet, and his widely acclaimed turn in the latest Anderson film The Master.

Despite his presence being more suited to art and dramatic driven works, he still had a high profile in Hollywood releases, such as his antagonistic rule over Mission: Impossible III and a prime role in last year's blockbuster The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He even started to go behind the camera with his first directing effort Jack Goes Boating in 2010.

His untimely death has brought another Paul Walker situation on to the film industry. He's supposed to figure heavily into the final chapter of The Hunger Games franchise, the two-picture stretching of Mockingjay, which are both still in production. Just to continue to show how important he was to cinema, especially in the indie scene, this year's Sundance Film Festival had two films where he was significant in: A Most Wanted Man and God's Pocket.

Hoffman didn't have the good looks and inescapable charm of people like Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks but you always knew that the man could deliver a great performance with seemingly no effort shown.

He will sorely be missed.

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