When discussing great American actors, Denzel Washington must be mentioned. Since making the transition from St. Elsewhere to feature films in the mid-’80s, Washington has been a dominant figure in the industry, boasting successful collaborations with directors such as Spike Lee, Norman Jewison, Tony, and Ridley Scott, and eventually himself once he started directing.
With two Oscars under his belt and a new period of his career beginning with his current picture, The Tragedy of Macbeth, which marks his return to cinematic Shakespeare following 1993’s Much Ado About Nothing, Washington is still an industry powerhouse who deserves to be honored.
1. The Tragedy of Macbeth
- Year: 2021
- Filmmaker Joel Coen
- Featuring the talents of Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Moses Ingram, Kathryn Hunter, Bertie Carvel, and Harry Melling
- Classification: R
- The 105-minute running time
In The Tragedy of Macbeth, Joel Coen displays his directorial chops with an unmistakable emphasis on stark minimalism. Coen directs his famous group of performers with ease and finesse, and the resulting black-and-white film is replete with creative resolve but devoid of hysteria.
As a result of the film’s highly stylized look and the understated performances, Macbeth becomes an all-too-tedious tragedy. Macbeth, a cruel Scottish general played by Denzel Washington, and his Lady, played by Frances McDormand, are the focus of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, which scarcely needs a recapitulation since it chronicles the characters’ actions after a disturbing prophecy. The contrast between the milky white and deep black in Coen’s Macbeth helps to emphasize the otherwise desolate setting, while Washington and McDormand play roles traditionally played by younger performers.
Apart from the visually adaptable soundstage and the seasoned cast, Macbeth does not stand out in any way. The film’s inflexible visuals and the principal actors’ drably subdued performances show that it fails to convey the escalation into madness that SSRIs are designed to avoid.
Although she means well, McDormand’s portrayal of Lady Macbeth as macabrely subdued is too rigid. And while Washington’s Macbeth shows more believable fear, the part still feels miscast because the text so succinctly paints the Scottish king as a villain.
A good adaption, The Tragedy of Macbeth still holds up well. The picture is expertly directed by one of the most influential filmmakers in Hollywood today, and it features brilliant and engaging staging and photography as well as unquestionably outstanding actors.
All these positive aspects are irrelevant, however, because of the lofty standard set by past Coen works. Risk, originality, and, most importantly, payoff are all missing from Joel Coen’s Macbeth. This newest production of the compact Shakespearean tragedy should be more than enough to please those looking for such a safe, pleasing interpretation. Written by: Natalia Keogan
2. Déjà Vu
- Year: 2006
- Cinematographer: Tony Scott
- Participating actors and actresses include Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam Goldberg, and Jim Caviezel.
- Assigning a PG-13 rating
- It lasts for 126 minutes.
It’s one of many times that Denzel Washington and Tony Scott have worked together, but Déjà Vu is arguably their best film together. Like every good officer, Washington’s character, Doug Carlin, the ATF agent he portrays in the film, spends his entire career trying to apprehend criminals after the fact but secretly wishes he could do so before.
Let the government save some money, right?! Carlin gets entangled with the “Snow White” program, which is more than it looks at first glance because it allows people in the “now” to view 4 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds, and 14.5 nanoseconds into the past and so stop a bomber.
From H.G. Wells comes a jumble of timelines, a mean-mugging Jim Caviezel, and a madcap car chase. Déjà Vu, inspired by H.G. Wells’s soggy daydreams, does what any good time travel film must: it throws caution to the wind and lets its characters play in a cosmic sandbox without regard for the laws of physics. Copy/Paste Staff.
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3. The Mighty Quinn
- Poster for “The Mighty Quinn” from 1989.
- Carl Schenkel, Director
- Denzel Washington, James Fox, Mimi Rogers, M. Emmet Walsh, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Robert Townsend star in this.
- Classification: R
- Time of running: 98 min.
Despite popular belief, Denzel Washington wasn’t always a beloved Hollywood icon. The Mighty Quinn, one of his earliest big performances, is often credited with establishing Washington as a major Hollywood player. The film is a screenplay adaptation of A. by Hampton Fancher, directed by the Swiss filmmaker Carl Schenkel.
Discovering Maubee is a crime story written by H. Z. Carr and published in 1971. In The Mighty Quinn, Denzel Washington portrays Xavier Quinn, the charismatic police chief of a small tropical island who is on a journey to clear the name of his childhood buddy, Maubee (Robert Townsend), who has been accused of murder.
Things don’t go quite as planned, though, and the movie that begins as a police procedural ends up becoming a spy thriller, a philosophical exercise, and a comedy that will make you laugh out loud. Yet he carries this with a performance that is nuanced, seamless, and wise beyond his years; that is Washington.
No one who saw this film when it first came out could have failed to predict that Denzel Washington would go on to become one of the most famous actors of his time, to quote Aurora Amidon.
4. Mo’ Better Blues
- Mo Better Blues Poster – 1990
- Filmmaker: Spike Lee
- Featuring the talents of Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes, Giancarlo Esposito, Robin Harris, Joie Lee, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Dick Anthony Williams, and Cynda Williams.
- Classification: R
- The 129-minute running time
Lee’s inability to effectively convey his thoughts in a single film is on full display in Mo’ Better Blues. Bleek (Denzel Washington), a trumpeter in a jazz club, considers music to be his religion.
However, he wonders how much longer he can put off the pleasures of his personal life in pursuit of musical perfection, especially after witnessing his bandmate (Wesley Snipes) have fun with his craft while capturing a different but also legitimate soul for jazz.
Lee complicates the straightforward idea with a love triangle and a subplot involving Bleek’s manager (Spike Lee) and his debt to local thugs. Apart from the enjoyable jazz performance scenes, the film suffers from a cluttered narrative that distracts from the film’s otherwise straightforward message. How much of one’s life should an artist give up for their art? is a question posed in the film’s opening and closing scenes? OKTAY EGE KOZAK
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5. The Hurricane
- The year 1999 on the storm poster.jpg
- In charge: Norman Jewison
- Denzel Washington, John Hannah, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber, Vicellous Reon Shannon, David Paymer, Dan Hedaya, Harris Yulin, and Rod Steiger star in this.
- Classification: R
- Length of Show: 146 mins.
Bob Dylan’s hit song of the same name is about the notorious criminal Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, whose life and imprisonment were the subject of Norman Jewison’s investigation. A promising middleweight in the 1960s, Carter’s career was cut short by a racially motivated arrest and false imprisonment for a robbery/homicide that never happened.
There had been massive ongoing protests in his name for years before the film’s release in 1999 after he had been acquitted after nearly 20 years in prison.
A dramatic subject that seems tailor-made for the film is rendered oddly inert by Jewison, who bookends the plot with too much exposition and complicates matters with extended flashback sequences. Denzel Washington’s magnetic performance as the lead helps the film tremendously.