In Praise of Eva Green

After a long hiatus, I’m back and I want to talk about Eva Green. Frankly I don’t think she gets the credit she deserves for fearlessly playing to her dark side. Green is one of those actors like Robert Mitchum who always seemed a bit happier, a bit more alive when playing people you wouldn’t want to meet in real life.

From her debut role in Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers” to her latest, and much criticized turns in comic-book films like “3oo: Rise of an Empire” and “Sin City–a Dame to Kill For,” Green has never been afraid to throw herself into the fire. Her green-eyed gun-toting seductress in “Sin City,” her howling sword-swinging Artemesia in “300” work because Green holds nothing back. She’s not afraid to go over the top, risking that she may look ridiculous but aware that if she can pull it off the results will be spectacular.

As the youthful plumpness has left her face, Green looks more driven, more dangerous than ever, but even as Bertolucci’s gorgeous young cineaste, we could recognize a danger lurking beneath the surface. After all this is a girl who is prepared to kill herself, her brother and her lover to assuage her passion. As Queen Sybilla in the Director’s Cut “Kingdom of Heaven,” we see her agonize over the fate of her son–should he grow up to be a king and a leper, like her recently deceased brother, or should she spare him this agony by ending his life? In the Danish western “The Salvation,” her facially scarred mute steals her brother-in-law’s ill-gotten gains, only to be stalked by his men as she attempts to leave town with it. In “Casino Royale” she gave us the best Bond girl in years as the conflicted Vesper Lynd who choses suicide to free her lover Bond from falling into the hands of the Quantum crime organization. All of these parts with their operatic passions demand an actress who isn’t afraid to turn up the amp. Accuse Eva Green of over-acting all that you want, I say the movies would be a poorer place without her.

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