The Top 5 Viggo Mortensen Performances Since 2000–Top 5 Tuesday
It’s not Viggo’s fault.
Greetings, hello, hi and hey! Welcome to another installment of Top 5 Tuesday, a weekly series where I give my top five picks in something that has to do with cinema. This week I’m tackling the best Viggo Mortensen performances since 2000 because his new film Falling is going to hit streaming services and theatres on February 5th.
Why only since 2000, you ask? Honestly, I’m just not an expert on the guy and when I was glancing over his filmography I realized that most of the movies that he has starred in that I’ve seen have been from the last couple decades. I believe I have a solid list but I would not have had I not implemented this parameter. As always, let me know if you agree or disagree and give me your list in the comments below.
5: Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings
To kick this off I’m giving respect to the man as Aragorn over the course of multiple movies. The twist here is that I don’t like The Lord of the Rings–and while we’re on the subject I detest The Hobbit–but that’s not Viggo’s fault (ah, now the subheader starts to make sense).
Despite my qualms regarding the Peter Jackson/Tolkien fantasy franchise, I got nothing but love for Mortensen and believe that he is arguably the best part of the trilogy. Well, the first two anyway since I disliked the movies so much I never finished the fight. Oops.
4: Tony Lip in Green Book
People have issues with the film–whether warranted or not–but again, that’s not Viggo’s fault. Regardless of how you feel about the subject matter or the success that it ordained, he brought Tony Lip to life in an incredibly convincing matter. He hit the emotional beats without overplaying it.
3: Man in The Road
No adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece could ever be as good as the source material but again, that’s not Viggo’s fault. A film like this can certainly excel in atmosphere and tone–which this does–but it’s equally dependent on the relationship between the man and his child.
Fortunately both are superb, but since this article is about Mortensen I’ll just say that he manages to be both a powerful and vulnerable father, showcasing a realism and love for his kid that was necessary to survive in this world. His interactions with Kodi Smit-McPhee are the obvious highlight in this flick.
2: Nikolai in Eastern Promises
The world was not ready to see his wang as he murdered people in the shower but again, that’s not Viggo’s fault. If this was a list about the best movies that Mortensen has starred in then this would be number one, in part because I love this direction for David Cronenberg and I am enamoured by Naomi Watts in general.
Everybody remembers him crushin’ dudes in the shower but there’s a lot to his performance as Nikolai, a hardened cleaner who has to do a lot of dirty stuff in his career. In my opinion Mortensen has graced us with his presence in order to play roles like this. As I write this I wonder if I’ve made the correct choice in how I ordered this–that’s how good he was here.
1: Tom Stall in A History of Violence
Turns out that Cronenberg and Mortensen were meant for each other. A History of Violence isn’t as good a movie as Eastern Promises, but again, that’s not Viggo’s fault. I think I like his performance more in this one even though I adore his work in Eastern Promises. Don’t get it twisted: this is a great movie too.
I just think there’s something very endearing about the way he brings Stall to life. He’s a family man who is consistently threatened with the idea that his past is coming back to haunt him, and that menace of both the situation and who he is trying not to be is constantly bubbling underneath the surface. Mortensen plays that to perfection. When the revelation happens it’s a masterclass of both storytelling and performance.
He isn’t a cleaner/fix like Nikolai. He’s a pooper.