The other day, I chatted with some work colleagues about Leonardo DiCaprio. Our discussion mirrored the general worldly debate about him—some people think he is a talented actor while others don’t think he could act himself out of a paper bag. I have a family member in the latter camp who mockingly refers to him as Leonardo DiCRAPio.
I am much more impressed by the work of Leonardo DiCaprio. In fact, I would count him as one of my favorite actors. I would even go as far to say that if a movie comes out and he is in it, chances are that I will go out of my way to watch it. I thought it is only appropriate that I countdown my five favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movies.
5. “Don’t Look Up” – I know this recent satire film has a lot of critics, but out of the star-studded cast, Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance rises to the top. He nailed the role of a brilliant but awkward academic who understands advanced astronomy but not basic social cues. The way he developed his speaking style for the film was impressive and convincing. Also, watching his character react to the spotlight thrust upon him throughout the film was very entertaining.
4. “The Departed” – This gangster movie casts DiCaprio as a blue-collar Boston cop forced into an undercover role with more twists and turns than any viewer could bargain for. Leo has vulnerabilities but is also tough with an authentic northeastern accent to match. Perhaps this film made the list because he was opposite Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon, two legendary actors who played their villain roles well. Not all the movies on my list make it easy to cheer for Leo but “The Departed’ does.
3. “Blood Diamond” – Another movie, another accent, right? Leonardo DiCaprio developed a South African accent for this film as I learned about a conflict and war tactics (children armies) that I knew nothing about prior to watching it. The movie is intense and bloody as DiCaprio gives a gritty performance as a diamond smuggler. I really enjoyed it.
2. Django Unchained” – Leonardo DiCaprio outdid himself when he appeared in “Django Unchained.” Although he depicted the worst type of person you could ever imagine in a plantation owner, the brutality, flamboyance, and charm he did it with was shocking and yet convincing. There is a scene in this film that truly shows the type of actor that DiCaprio is. In his inner chamber at a climatic part of the movie, DiCaprio slams his hand down on the table—only he slammed it down on glass too. His hand was ripped open as blood streamed but he didn’t stop acting. Never breaking character he continued to finish the scene despite his injury that would require stitches.
1. “The Wolf of Wall Street” – Turn the absurdity and passion of the character that DiCaprio plays up to a “10” in this one. From his office pep talks to his dialogues with Jonah Hill to his narration, Leonardo DiCaprio turned in an epic performance for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” His portrayal of someone who started off honest enough but then became a money-hungry, ethics-be-damned executive couldn’t have been done better than anyone else. My favorite scene just based on acting, suspense, and awkwardness is when Kyle Chandler (who plays an FBI agent) talks with Leo’s character on his yacht when it is obvious that the agent is hot on his trail. This movie is a must-see.
I don’t like all of DiCaprio’s movies—“The Reverant” is one example—but 8 times out of 10 I am find myself impressed. No CRAP for me when it comes to Leonardo DiCaprio. Don’t Blink.