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Heath Ledger Filmography: 1999-2003

Two Hands (1999)
Heath’s first proper movie after various bits and pieces, mainly on Australian television. Extremely black Australian comedy-drama, set in Sydney’s notorious King’s Cross district. Heath does a fine job playing bouncer and petty criminal Jimmy, who gets in way above his head with the big boys and has to take desperate measures to save his own skin. Co-star Bryan Brown is brilliant as downmarket Sydney crime boss Pando.

Heath Ledger interview on Two Hands

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Heath’s first big international role, in a cool and very funny modern reworking of The Taming of the Shrew. Heath stars at bad boy Patrick Verona, who runs his corny seduction lines on Katarina Stratford (Julia Stiles) in the expectation of instant success, but she brushes him off in no uncertain terms until he can prove himself worthy. Heath’s performance of Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, racing up and down the stands of the sports stadium with a huge grin on his face, waving his legs in the air like a goofy giant stick insect as he successfully evades the security guards, is one of the funniest things I have seen in cinema. Just as good as it was in 1999. 

The Patriot (2000)
American Revolution saga where Heath got his next big break, cast as Mel Gibson’s son. Did very well at the box office and generally rated highly, but not even Heath looking gorgeous in period costume could prevent me from losing interest in the plot and falling sound asleep. The first of several movies in which Heath appears on horseback.

A Knight’s Tale (2001)
Heath plays William Thatcher aka Sir Ulrich von Lichenstein in an entertaining medieval  action movie-cum-love story with a bit of rock music thrown in. Heath smoulders in leading man mode, falls in love with the beautiful maiden, shows us his dance moves, and gets to jump on another horse.  His support actors also give brilliant comic performances. A lot of fun, and definitely improves on subsequent viewings.

Monster’s Ball (2001)
A confronting prison movie starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry, with Heath’s short but intense role as guard Sonny Grotowski earning rave reviews from other actors. Cited by Daniel Day Lewis when accepting his recent Screen Actor’s Guild award, which he dedicated to Heath’s memory.

The Four Feathers (2002)
More horseback action, with Heath playing British army officer turned pacifist Harry Faversham, the newest of several movie versions of the 1902 novel by A.E.W. Mason.  Got very mixed reviews, and still on my list of Heath movies to see.

Ned Kelly (2003)
One of many dramatisations of the life of the Irish-Australian outlaw, with Heath on horseback yet again. Heath prepared meticulously, reading and re-reading Ned Kelly’s famous Jerilderee Letter and getting his Irish accent right in order to better play Ned. Canned by a lot of critics and not a commercial success,  but certainly  better than the farcical 1970 Kelly movie starring Mick Jagger, which was dogged by huge amounts of public controversy as well as mishaps on set.   

The Order (2003); alternate title The Sin Eater
Heath plays Alex Bernier, a Catholic priest who has lost his faith, again directed by Brian Helgeland, of A Knight’s Tale. Not a success.


February 8, 2008 Posted by | DVD, Movies | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment