Routinely Brilliant, Occasionally Wry: Surprising Anthony Hopkins Movies

Routinely Brilliant, Occasionally Wry: Surprising Anthony Hopkins Movies

The year 2020 was a strange one for cinema and the entire entertainment industry. But the show must go on, and nothing illustrated it better than the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021. The Academy also served up a bit of a surprise when it pushed the Best Picture award, usually considered the crescendo of the award ceremony to third-last, saving the crucial main event for Best Actor. After his untimely passing, Chadwick Boseman was nominated for his role in Da 5 Bloods. The change in line-up indicated that he was about to be appropriately honored…and then he didn’t win. Who did? Sir Anthony Hopkins, the five-time Oscar nominee, who last won it for his spine-chilling portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. However, despite such a distinguished career, Hopkins’ career has had its fair share of stinkers and mishits. Here are just some Anthony Hopkins movies you’ll not only be surprised to know he starred in but may actually wonder why he agreed to do them in the first place.

Surviving Picasso

Pablo Picasso changed the way artists create art, and perhaps more importantly, changed how we see art, too, thanks to cubism. Anthony Hopkins is just one of the several thespians that have tried to bring the suave nature of artists from Malaga to the big screen. However, this one undoubtedly belongs to the lesser successful ones. Anthony Hopkins himself is as brilliant as he is in just about any role. However, it’s the plot and the sheer blandness of it that lets this movie down.

There’s nothing unique in the story, no emphasis on exploring Picasso the man rather than the artist, while the supporting cast seems wildly sidelined as Picasso continues about his womanizing ways, treating all the women in his life as objects.

Bad Company

If there was ever an argument in favor of comedians being atrociously bad actors, it’s Bad Company, starring Chris Rock with Anthony Hopkins. Bad Company is a buddy action comedy that relies on Anthony Hopkins carrying the movie’s heart forward, with Chris Rock providing little more than flickering moments of humor. However, the gulf in class between them both is apparent, and for all of his talents, even Hopkins can’t save this deeply flawed concept. A CIA agent gets killed, and the agency decides to recruit his twin brother to finish the crucial mission he was working on.

Naturally, the plot is less than stellar, not helped by the fact that the movie has barely any moments of action or comedy, for that matter. Nothing about this movie makes sense until you learn the director is Joel Schumacher, the creative mind behind Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. After that, everything about the movie’s absurd costume designs, ludicrous plot, and lackluster attempts at stunts makes perfect sense.

August

August is a loose adaptation of Uncle Vanya, a Russian novel written by Anton Chekhov…with the film placing the characters and stories in Wales. Anthony Hopkins plays the role of Ieuan Davies, a caretaker of a large country estate. Ieuan leads a relatively comfortable life but continues to lament that he’s never achieved anything significant in his life. His wife left him years ago, and his children are strangers to him. This feeling of regret is further exacerbated when the estate’s owner and his boss, Alexander Blathwaite, comes to stay at the estate for the summer with an American wife.

Coincidentally, he and his boss’ wife were lovers decades ago, and the visit now gives him somewhat a renewed passion for life. Hopkins plays the role brilliantly, as does the rest of the cast. However, the very soul of Chekhov’s novel is based on the Russian society that surrounds the characters. The substitution of the Russian dacha for a Welsh summer house clearly diminishes the allure of the story itself. 

Young Winston

Anthony Hopkins is no stranger to playing characters that were larger than life, so to speak. He brings the same range of emotions when playing a young Winston Churchill. However, that is where the problem itself lies. The young Winston Churchill was far more mildly mannered, verbose, and uninteresting than he was during the latter years of life. In other words, you’d have a hard time telling a compelling story about that phase of the great man’s life.

However, Hopkins tries his best to portray Churchill as a young man still trying to gain some experience in India while trying his luck at oratory and reading every bit of literature he can get his hands on. All in all, it’s a dreary tale about the unremarkably generic rise of a man who went on to become “The Greatest Brit of All Time.”

Noah

The three great Abrahamic religions don’t agree on a lot, but Noah and the story of his ark is one of the few exceptions. 2014’s Noah stars Russell Crowe as the prophet as he receives a vision from God telling him to prepare for a calamity. Confused and unable to process his visions, he seeks out Methuselah, played by Hopkins, to help him make sense of it all. The rest of the story is almost the same as it’s always been told, with a global flood wiping out all existence, except for the ones that somehow made it to Noah’s ark.

The movie received mostly favorable reviews from critics, even though it did not perform as well as many would have expected it to at the box office. One reason may have been the fact that Hopkins’ role was reduced substantially in the final cut.

Yasir Nawaz
Yasir Nawaz

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