An icon along the lines of James Dean, I mean. The association is inevitable, and already Heath Ledger is being raised to the pantheon of celebrities who tragically die young and full of apparent promise, and whose iconic image is forever frozen in time. More than a half century after his death, James Dean is still one of the most recognized 20th century images of youthful rebellion “without a cause”, a concept from a more innocent age.
In many ways, the comparison is unfair to Mr. Ledger. I have the impression that he was more sensitive, intelligent and artistically courageous than Dean, although they both played brooding young men. Ledger seemed to have a wider range than Dean’s pouty, cigarette-dangling-from-the-lip juvenile delinquents, which has since become a cliché.
I only saw one of Ledger’s movies in full, the breakthrough film “Brokeback Mountain”. I caught snatches of the breezy “A Knight’s Tale”, the formulaic “The Patriot” and “Casanova” (I think he did “Casanova” to dispel any gay vibes that might cling to him after “Brokeback”) on cable, and “Monsters’ Ball” was not really his movie but Halle Berry’s. Read the rest of this entry »