As many people know, one of my all-time favorite films is Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”. Amongst the myriad of actors in the film is Spanish-German actor Daniel Brühl, who portrays Nazi war hero Fredrick Zoller, who, in true Tarantino style, ends up playing himself in a film about his success in killing over 200 Jews while stuck at the top of a tower, to the disgust of Shoshana Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), the French-Jew he is trying to seduce. Brühl played the sociopath with confidence and a subtle aggression that made my skin crawl…
It wasn’t the first time that Brühl caught my eye, he also had a part in the Academy Award nominated “Joyeux Noël” where he played a German WW1 officer who, along with his French and Scottish colleagues, call a peace truce and fraternize on Christmas Eve. And I finally listened to everyone who told me that I should watch “Good Bye Lenin!”, Brühl’s breakout role, which I finally had the pleasure to see last year. Bruhl was thoroughly enjoyable as the good natured son of a coma-surviving Socialist mother who does not know that her beloved East Germany has become one with the West…
Now why would 2013 be the year of Daniel Brühl? After all, he’s been active for so many years, and he’s had quite a few forays into American but also international cinema. What makes me think that this year will also be HIS year is because of the number of lead roles in English language Hollywood studio releases and their potential for awards season recognition. In other words, this could translate in increased attention towards the 34 year old actor and, perhaps, make him a household name! Case in point:
“Rush” (September 12, 2013): directed by Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”, “Apollo 13”), the film centers around F1 driver Niki Lauda (Bruhl), the crash that almost took his life and how he came back, mere weeks after the accident, to race against his rival James Hunt (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth).
My thoughts: It goes without saying that any Ron Howard film will attract attention. Howard’s a respected film director, having won the DGA and an Academy Award; his last “serious” effort, 2008’s “Frost/Nixon” brought in major awards season attention. To top it off, Academy Award nominee Peter Morgan, who scripted “Frost/Nixon”, also wrote “Rush”, and now you’re pretty much assured awards season attention. PS With a mid-September release date, I wouldn’t be surprised if the film had its world premiere at TIFF! Now, wasn’t that the launch pad of the latest Best Picture winner, “Argo”? Yes, yes it was! 😉
“The Fifth Estate” (November 15, 2013): directed by Bill Condon (“Gods and Monsters”… and the last 2 “Twilight” films!), this movie is about the relationship between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his early supporter/collaborator Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Bruhl) and how the website’s growth and influence led to a rift between the two.
My thoughts: Scheduled in the midst of Awards season, and directed by Oscar winner Condon (Original Screenplay – “Gods and Monsters”), mixed in with a very current yet controversial topic, the movie could play well in the awards circuit like 2012’s “Zero Dark Thirty”, but will it come home empty handed, as was (almost) the case of “ZDT”? (A tie in the Best Sound Editing category ensured a sole award to that amazing film.)
“A Most Wanted Man” (November 2013): directed by Anton Corbijn (“The American”). According to IMDb: “A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught up in the international war on terror”.
My thoughts: With a description like that, I am not expecting high box office grosses or much awards attention, but former photographer Corbjin has steadily been making a name for himself as a film director, and the film is based on a John LeCarré book so… you never know! The last LeCarré film adaptation, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, finally got Gary Oldman and the writers of the film, an Oscar nomination!
Obviously, my analysis is based on the pedigree of the team behind the film. Once a film is released, it may end up not being as good as it sounded on paper (or blog!), but considering the smart choice of films Daniel Brühl has made in his career, I trust that we will be hearing about these films this fall and all the way to the 2014 Oscars… and perhaps a first nomination for Brühl ?!? Now that would be the icing on the cake 😉