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Robert Pattinson: Bad Actor, or Just the Wrong Roles?

June 28, 2010

By John C.

With the release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse this coming Wednesday, (and from what I hear, it may just be the best of the series), and the popularity of Stephanie Meyer’s vampire saga only going up, the film’s central star, Robert Pattinson, has been a trending topic of interest amongst fans and non-fans.  The question debated amongst critics is, can he actually act?  He hasn’t impressed me in most of his roles, but I’ve still managed to keep some faith that he just hasn’t found the right one yet.

Robert Pattinon’s carreer goes back to 2004, with a fine role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (perhaps the best movie attached to his name), but he only shot to super-stardom in 2008 when he was cast as vampire Edward.  Since then, some of his smaller indies picked up distribution, and were released to capitalize on his name.

I am familiar with most of Pattinson’s work.  The ones I haven’t seen, nor really desire to, are the three listed on IMDb as made-for-TV productions.  Including the 3-hour film based on the Nordic legends that inspired Tolkien, titled Curse of the Ring, the horror film The Haunted Airmen, or the mommy-issues drama The Bad Mother’s Handbook – which I’ve been told is available on YouTube.

Out of the one’s I have seen, the only ones I kind of liked were the Twilight pictures.  How to Be was a dreary, depressing and obnoxious pseudo-comedy, Little Ashes was a laugh-out-loud hilarious bio-pic of Salvador Dali – the only problem was, everyone involved was taking themselves dead-serious.  And the recent Remember Me was a sloppy melodrama, with a somewhat brilliant, bordering on exploitative ending.

The problem with his dramatic roles is that he tends to overact.  It’s hard to give a subtle performance, when your voice is raised to add dramatic tension.  If dramas are his thing, then why not one where he is able to give a subdued performance?  One where characters talk about their problems, not yell at each other in a board room.  Remember Me’s infamous “Riveted” scene between Pattinson and co-star Pierce Brosnan, was almost laughable, it was so overdone.  In Twilight, his emotions are allowed to not be entirely human, as he’s portraying someone from the land of the un-dead.

In such roles as these, Pattinson is always seen brooding.  He always plays a depressed young man, with the same expression on his face.  I’d love to see how he would handle the role of someone super-confident.  Someone who doesn’t yell, drink, smoke, abuse people, or contemplate suicide.  Someone who is actually a cool, slick role model.  At least a character that shows an ounce of happiness.

I think he is a better actor than the roles he’s been given.  To be fair, would those movies have been any better with a different actor?  But before I can know for sure, I have to see him in a completely different kind of role.  How would he handle playing the suave leading man?  How about being the straight man in a comedy?  What about a straight comedic role?  How would he handle playing a psychopathic villain?  Maybe he’d fail miserably, but I would like to see him switch it up a bit.

There may well be a good actor in Pattinson, fingers crossed for his upcoming period-drama Water for Elephants, but he’s never had a role different enough from the last one to prove it.  And when your resume lists such films as How to Be, Little Ashes, and Remember Me, you’re going to need a lot more than Twilight to prove yourself as part of the a-list.  So to answer the attention-grabbing question of my headline, he hasn’t impressed me in a lot of his work, but I think he’s just yet to find the right leading role, in a truly good movie.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. susan permalink
    December 18, 2010 2:18 pm

    I totally agree with this. I have always been a good fan. I buy things with his face on it! like all the time! but seriously.. he hasn’t impressed us with his acting.
    as much as I love him, I would definitely love to see him in a good movie. something where we see real acting.
    I really don’t want to be convinced that he is a bad actor. coz he is gorgeous!
    but if u think about it. if Leonardo Dicaprio or Tom hank (obviously awhile ago) they would have been able to make a mark.
    they would have sold themselves as a good actor AND NOT a seductive beautiful bad actor. in every role he is the same. the faces he make is like he want to flirt with the audience and not show good acting skills.

    but I have to say he acted better before he became gorgeous, like in Harry potter.


    • December 18, 2010 2:40 pm

      I think we’ll have a better idea of whether or not he can prove himself as an actor after all the hype of the Twilight movies eventually dies down. Fingers crossed for the upcoming Water for Elephants, (April 2011), where he is joined by an excellent cast.

      Thanks for commenting!

      -John C.


  2. February 23, 2015 9:01 pm

    Oh no pattinson blew chunks in like h2o for elephants. And reese was miscaste, being much, much too old .
    Pattinson survived and made millions in twilight etc. But how unfair is the world? It goes way beyond this silliness, but just to say. There are so many incredibly talented actors that get ZERO become horney Kirsten Stewart got all hot for this clown in the audition for the vampire deal. Good thing she was hit to.trot, cuz he’d be a struggling extra.
    Good for him and his amazing luck! He bites as
    I kind of thought he pulled off that romantic flick remember me though


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