Actor of Range: Christopher Walken
He sings and dances, is a boon to celebrity impersonators and exudes menace like no other theater and film actor. Christopher Walken’s 40-year movie career is marked by violent shocks and comic surprises, and his two Twilight Time titles are prime examples of his chameleonlike ability to be both charismatic and efficiently evil at the same time. Last September, TT released The Dogs of War (1980), a brutally effective study of mercenaries facilitating a third-world coup. Pauline Kael wrote that, as the commandos’ leader Jamie Shannon, “Walken, with his pale, flat-faced mask of pain, his glaring eyes and lithe movements, suggests a restless anger. We aren’t asked to like the mercenaries, and Shannon kills a spy…in such a horrifying way that we really couldn’t like him. But we do want to watch him.” Similarly, in this September’s release of At Close Range (1986), based on a true story, Walken plays Bradford Whitewood, another leader from the dark side, this time murderously heading a gang of thieves in rural Pennsylvania. “When he is given the right role (as he is here…),” Roger Ebert wrote, “there is nobody to touch him for his chilling ability to move between easy charm and pure evil.” Sean Penn also stars as his idolizing son and the coiled-spring dynamic between the two actors is a spellbinding wonder to behold. The Dogs of War, containing both the Original U.S. Theatrical Release and the Unedited International Version, is now available. Featuring a newly recorded commentary with director James Foley and Nick Redman, At Close Range comes to hi-def Blu-ray from Twilight Time on September 8; pre-orders open this Wednesday August 26.