Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead today at the unfairly-young age of 46. My blood has run cold. A truly volcanic force onscreen and one of the most gifted shape-shifters who film acting has ever seen, he is one of my absolute favorite modern-day performers and I am in total shock this afternoon. Yet my emotions are trivial compared to those who knew and needed him; he leaves behind three children, a family and many friends. May our thoughts and prayers be with them now.
As a means of tribute, here is David Thomson writing about Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2002, followed by a photo gallery of as many pictures as I can find from every film I have seen and marveled at him in. Even in still frames, without benefit of sound and motion, you can see the breadth of his remarkable abilities.
“Where do we begin, where will he end? Philip Seymour Hoffman does not — he must have been told this often enough — seem like a movie star. He’s boyish but untidy, a little overweight, hopelessly immature. He’s all of those things as Freddie, the prep-school thug in THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999, Anthony Minghella). Yet I’m not sure there’s been a better performance in recent years — so nasty yet so vulnerable, such a cross of Mussolini and Billy Bunter.
Freddie is on screen not much more than twenty minutes, and it’s easy to foresee Hoffman as a brilliant supporting actor. But in the year after RIPLEY, he alternated lead roles in Sam Shepard’s TRUE WEST with John C. Reilly on Broadway; and he played the flamboyant drag queen in FLAWLESS (2000, Joel Schumacher), a film that had little purpose but to showcase a great actor.
That’s further proof, if anyone still needs it, of the gap between working for a Minghella and a Schumacher. Hoffman could be turned into an institution — but never properly tested. He is so good that only the best material is going to help build our sense of him. Meanwhile, search him out, as you might Kevin Spacey. There is the same very dangerous talent at work — astounding, yet so pronounced it could help make its own prison.”
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Tags: Philip Seymour Hoffman