best film: The Dark Knight as his best film is an easier answer than “best performance” for Ledger. I’m an admirer of Brokeback Mountain and it’s an excellent film—but the answer is Nolan’s 2008 masterpiece and genre landmark. It’s very rarely in cinema’s history that a top-notch auteur met with the action genre. We have that here. It’s epic in scope—ballsy really- and features a perfect narrative. It also has… Ledger.

best performance:  The Dark Knight . I’m a strong believer in the auteur theory and I happen to believe that Nolan is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) auteur of the 21st century. However, I’m a little afraid of what this masterpiece would look like without Ledger. Ledger is that dynamic. He’s hypnotic really- incredibly terrifying. The statement on method with his drug use and tragic subsequent death is not something I want to dig into here but Ledger puts his genius on display- it’s up there with the best single acting performances of the 00’s. Right behind Ledger’s work in The Dark Knight on that list of the best performances of the 00’s might be his work in Brokeback. They’re both that good.

stylistic innovations/traits: Tragically Ledger died at age 28 with only four movies in the archives. He’d be easier to write-off with just one masterful performance but his 1-2 punch makes it impossible. He was going to be one of the great ones—you could argue he is already just doesn’t have a large body of work. When you start talking about actors that gave the single greatest performance of a year (in an art form with approximately 100 years of history) twice—you’re in rare company and that’s what Ledger did in 2005 and 2008.

directors worked with:   nobody twice—Nolan, Ang Lee and Todd Haynes once

Top 5 Performances:

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Brokeback Mountain
  3. Monster’s Ball
  4. I’m Not There

Archiveable films

2001- Monster’s Ball
2005- Brokeback Mountain
2007- I’m Not There
2008- The Dark Knight