Blockbusters to hidden gems: a look back at Tommy Lee Jones' extensive career
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Tommy Lee Jones is one of the most revered figures on the Hollywood landscape, embodying the old wild west figure of the authentic loner, endowed with a deeply-rooted moral compass and a dark intensity that permeates all of his roles. In celebration of the actor and filmmaker’s 71st birthday and his long, illustrious career, here is a collection of some of Tommy Lee Jones’ best films, both ones widely-acclaimed and lesser-known gems. 1) The Fugitive (1993) The film that won Jones’ first and so far only Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor, The Fugitive tells the story of Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), who, after being wrongfully convicted for his wife’s murder, escapes custody in a heart-pumping quest to prove his innocence and find the true murderer. A team of US. Marshals, headed by Deputy Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) is tasked with his capture. His performance is mesmerising, and his portrayal is relentlessly powerful, comic, unstoppable. Incredibly, he succeeds even in stealing the show from Ford, which leaves no questions as to why he won the Academy Award nomination. 2) US Marshalls (1998) Tommy Lee Jones reprises his role as Deputy Marshal Gerard in this spin-off of The Fugitive, which this time revolves around the pursuit of another fugitive, Mark Warren (Wesley Snipes), who is running from the government following an international conspiracy scandal. Though some critics considered the film to be a little lack-lustre in comparison to its prequel, Jones’ performance remains as commanding as ever. Further, the fact that a sequel was made without the original star is a testament to the power of Jones’ presence as a supporting actor, and then as the lead. 3) Lincoln (2012) With another of Tommy Lee Jones’ astounding supporting performances, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is an epic historical drama film about the presidency of Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis), and particularly his proposed Thirteenth Amendment. Jones’ performance as Radical Republicans leader and ardent abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens earned him yet another nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. It was a truly standout performance for the actor, and in the end allowed him to nuance his portrayal of Stevens with a softness uncustomary to his usual roles. 4) In the Electric Mist (2009) Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, Jones plays a detective tracking a serial killer, whose investigation becomes more complicated by the appearance of a Hollywood star, and a merciless mobster. Detective Dave Robicheaux attempts to solve the murders whilst gradually falling prey to the unexpected, surreal elements of the story. Tommy Lee Jones, as always, does a fantastic work of playing his usual, sturdy performance of the downtrodden country law enforcer, but nuanced with unexpected depth as a philosopher, whose ruminations turn to the poetic.
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