Keanu Reeves has been acting for nearly four decades. In addition to being involved in three trilogies, the actor has had a vast and varied career. From a soulful young heartthrob to a goofy brother and one of the most bankable action stars more than once.
It’s no wonder many of Keanu Reeves’ movies are far from great, as he’s often criticized for being stiff and genuinely lacking in emotion. It is the actor’s great irony that his gift for zen stillness can so easily turn into dull, disconnected performances. That said, when used correctly, it’s hard to argue with the unique movie star charisma of the man who drew audiences to Theodore Logan, Johnny Utah and Neo.
With the ever-present Keanussance following the surprising success of the “John Wick” franchise, it’s worth taking a look at the one-of-a-kind actor’s filmography. And on the day he turns 58, on rock radio we rescued the 10 best Keanu Reeves movies.
The Matrix (1999)
Even if you somehow haven’t seen “The Matrix,” close your eyes, think of Keanu Reeves, and Neo will show up. Simply put, the Wachowskis’ masterpiece is one of the most innovative, bold, enduring and iconic pieces of cinematography of the past 30 years, a stellar fusion of dystopian sci-fi, film noir and Asian martial arts action flicks. While Will Smith was initially considered for the lead role, it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone else donning the sunglasses and black trench coat other than Keanu, whose mix of androgynous beauty and aloof impenetrability is a wonderful fit for the hero chosen to save the world. world. This actor has given us a career full of hits and misses, action heroes and lovable goofballs, but at the end of the day there is only one.
John Wick (2014)
Keanu Reeves never really left, he was just waiting for someone to kill his dog. Just like that, the star of “The Matrix” so often criticized for being stiff and wooden flashed blindingly back to life, and the Keanussance was in full effect. Playing the retired assassin who has gone too far when mobster thugs kill his wife and pup, Keanu is surprisingly believable as a man capable of killing everyone who gets in his way, and insanely grounded as a person the audience wants to see you do just that.
Point Break (1991)
Kathryn Bigelow remains the only woman to win the Oscar for Best Director, a prestigious achievement that can make one forget how incredibly capable an action director she is. “Point Break” has a reputation for cheesy, testosterone-fueled entertainment, but at its heart it speaks to the director’s innate understanding of male frailty. Keanu Reeves plays the melodrama of federal agent Johnny Utah deftly, bringing dynamite chemistry to his relationship with Patrick Swayze’s rush-addled thief Bodhi. It’s all an outrageously funny thrill ride that also capitalizes on Bigelow’s stellar knack for bringing intimacy to cinema’s most action-packed tropes.
The concept is simple: a bus must stay faster than 50 miles per hour or it will explode. Absolutely ridiculous stuff, but with Keanu giving such an engaged and serious performance, the whole thing transcends into insanely insane fun. This is the kind of thing that Keanu Reeves can do that few others can, bet on something so absolutely absurd while still having a knowing smile that it’s all just a movie. Needless to say, the real fireworks come from his explosive chemistry with Sandra Bullock.
Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
This 1991 sequel is often seen as a marked step down from the highs of the original, but that’s not necessarily fair. While “Face the Music” largely follows the same plan as “Excellent Adventure,” “Bogus Journey” forges its own path, sending an evil dictator from the future to kill Bill and Ted and replace them with robots. Twenty minutes into the film, our heroes are thrown off a cliff and spend the rest of the runtime trying to escape the afterlife in an Ingmar Bergman-esque purgatory. It’s refreshingly ambitious for a comedy, with a quirky cinematic sensibility and a scene-stealing performance from William Sadler as Death.
My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Before “Call Me By Your Name” and “Brokeback Mountain,” there was “My Own Private Idaho.” Gus Van Sant’s loose and charming adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. It is a film best remembered for River Phoenix’s stunning portrayal of gay narcoleptic street hustler Mike Waters. Made more disturbing by his tragic death two years after the film’s release. However, he has been matched beat for beat by Keanu Reeves, who transforms his aloof, impenetrable presence into a heartbreaking inaccessibility as the object of Mike’s desires.
The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
After an early career of masterfully muted performances in movies like “The Godfather” and “Dog Day Afternoon,” Al Pacino has welcomed the allure of the theatrical storm with open arms. Nowhere is that more evident than in this movie, where he literally plays Satan. While he’s having the most fun, Keanu Reeves is the real star here, the new lawyer for the devil-run Manhattan firm. While his Southern dialect is questionable, he certainly agrees with Pacino warmly and it all adds up to a pretty fun, albeit mild, time.
This schlocky-horror fantasy hybrid about a demon hunter was decently maligned upon its initial release. Mainly due to unfair and ungenerous comparisons with “The Matrix”. No, “Constantine” never reaches any of that series’ heights, but that’s not to say there isn’t plenty to enjoy. Director Francis Lawrence brings a vision and flair to everything that’s a retrospective breath of fresh air compared to the cookie-cutter vibe of modern comic book movies, and the prospect of Keanu Reeves doing a few more of these wouldn’t have. been the worst thing in the world.
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
One of director Richard Linklater’s most underrated efforts, “A Scanner Darkly” is a paranoid adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel about a narcotics cop who becomes addicted when he infiltrates a futuristic society. The use of a rotoscopic technique nicely complements Keanu Reeves’s often cartoonish acting style. And his blank nonchalance adds an unsettling quality to the film’s portrayal of police state surveillance.
River’s Edge (1986)
Keanu Reeves gives his most disturbing performance here as one of a group of teenagers who remain silent when a friend brutally murders a young woman. This tense and dark study of teenage morality uses the young actor’s gift of quiet stillness to much more disturbing effect. It’s hypnotic and unsettling, as hard as it is to watch.