George Clooney has been around since the eighties, but came to prominence in the nineties, thanks to his role on ER. His film career flourished from there and he has starred in a number of great films and has become one of the most prolific actors of modern cinema.
I have selected ten of his best films below:
- Three Kings (1999) – One of his earliest leading roles, this film about a group of soldiers hunting for buried treasure in Iraq. This film taught the world that Clooney was a man to watch and his detached sarcasm made him an up-and-coming actor with an impressive career ahead of him.
- O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) – Easily one of his funniest roles and probably a ton of fun to film. Clooney plays the role of a southern gentleman on the run from the law quite well and though he may be lip-syncing his musical numbers, his trademark humor is ever-present.
- Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – Some movies are just fun to watch and fun to make; in this case a bunch of actors got together and had a blast robbing a casino. Clooney is the ringleader of this gang of thieves and his charisma is the thread that unites the crew and without his charm the film wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining.
- Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) – Relegating himself to the background in a film focused on the work of Edward Murrow, Clooney brings Fred Friendly to life. He also took over behind the camera and his future ability as a director began to show here as well as his ability to still shine as second fiddle.
- Michael Clayton (2007) – A character who is both completely devoid of compassion and so enamored with the better nature of people that he can’t find a place for himself. Clooney plays the calculating Clayton extremely well and his dark nature comes out as he tries to find his place in a world coated in darkness.
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – Voice work is hard work, it requires a gifted actor to portray all of the complicated emotions and expressions with only a voice. Clooney does a great job here and his distinctive voice breathes a lot of new life into a classic story remade by the always quirky Wes Anderson.
- Up in the Air (2009) – This film uses Clooney’s signature sardonic wit as a man whose entire job revolves around traveling across the country firing people. Clooney portrays inner conflict well as he fights to maintain his way of life while finding the draw of staying in one place more and more appealing.
- The Ides of March (2011) – George Clooney as the President of the United States might seem like a bizarre idea, but here he’s trying his best to achieve that dream. He takes a back seat here, since he’s also directing this film, but his behind the scenes role on and off the camera makes him the most powerful force in the film.
- The Descendants – (2011) Loss is difficult and all people deal with it differently, and here a man finds out that his dying wife had been cheating on him and he tries hard to handle it. Clooney delivers laughs in a film that should probably be devoid of humor and he works hard to conceal a pain that resonates throughout him.
- Gravity – (2013) Again playing second fiddle to another actor, Clooney takes his role as wise man very seriously as he guides a fellow astronaut to rescue. Filmed almost entirely on a green screen, the talent of Clooney seeps beyond the restriction of a spacesuit and his wisdom as an actor helps the film transcend the ordinary.
I also wan to comment on his one biggest mistake:
- Batman & Robin (1997) – Any actor given the chance to play the most famous superhero of all time, would be foolish to turn it down, but he might look back on this one and wish he hadn’t taken this role. The film suffers from a lot of miscast roles, including Clooney himself, who shines better when not concealed under a mask.