Favorite Thespians #5 – Chiwetel Ejiofor

Ejiofor Thespians

As always Favorite Thespians contains three separate sections: one section on the first film I saw the thespian in (“On My Radar”), another section on 5 films you need to see to know the thespian (“Homework”), and a section on my favorite performance from him/her. This month I’m focusing on a guy who might be the most underappreciated actor working today: Chiwetel Ejifor.

ON MY RADAR:
John Singleton’s Four Brothers (2005)

Four Brothers isn’t a great film, but it was the first time that I noticed Ejiofor. I feel like I’ve watched this film a thousand times. The thing is that my sister loved this film. She’s a big fan of Garrett Hedlund, who plays the youngest brother in this film, so she played it on a loop back then. Ejiofor is a pretty good antagonist, and this film showed me that. As the years would go on, he would prove that even though he’s a pretty cool villain, he’s a much better protagonist.

HOMEWORK:
John Singleton’s Four Brothers (2005)
Joss Whedon’s Serenity (2005)
Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men (2006)
Ridley Scott’s American Gangster (2007)
Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave (2013)

I haven’t seen the first four films in years, but I do think these are the most important Ejiofor films at the time of writing. Four Brothers and Serenity came out the same year, and in both of the films Ejiofor plays the villain. I actually saw Serenity prior to watching the show. It’s pretty great.

I haven’t seen American Gangster since it came out, and 12 Years a Slave contains my favorite performances of Ejiofor’s, so I won’t be going into those films here. But Children of Men, which a lot of people adore, isn’t one of my favorite films. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like it it may be a tad overrated. Or maybe I just need to watch it again.

FAVORITE PERFORMANCE:
Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave (2013)

Normally, you would say that 12 Years A Slave is a movie that you never want to rewatch, but I don’t feel that way. It’s tough to see what people went through back then. But here’s the thing, Ejiofor is absolutely fantastic in this film. He gives you a perfectly inspired and raw performance that will stand the test of time. It is because of him, Nyong’o, and Fassbender that I return to this film. It isn’t just brutal, it gives you top-notch acting performances, and Ejiofor is second to none.

Favorite Thespians will return next month.

I’m Jeffrey Rex

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