Viggo Mortensen is an actor who has enjoyed a career that has spanned over thirty years and seen him star in one of cinema's biggest franchises.

Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic

Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic

He returns to the big screen this week with new indie film Captain Fantastic, which sees him team up with filmmaker Matt Ross for the first time.

To celebrate the release of the film, we take a look at some of the actors best movies and roles.

- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

Mortensen may have been acting since 1984, but it was his role as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings that made his a global star - it will be the role that will forever be synonymous with.

You can't really imagine another actor in the role of Aragorn, but Mortensen was actually a very late replacement for Stuart Townsend and was pushed to take on the role by his young son.

But the actor made the role his own as the swashbuckling and heroic Aragorn, who sets out on a quest to protect a Hobbit that puts him on a path to face his own destiny.

The Fellowship of the Ring hit the big screen in 2001 and was followed by The Two Towers and Return of the King in 2002 and 2003. Each film surpassed the one before it and became the big movie event of the year.

Met with critical acclaim and huge box office success, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most successful film series of all time; grossing over $2.9 billion at the global box office.

The Return of the King was the most successful film in the series and the only film in the trilogy to gross over $1 billion worldwide. The film also went on to scoop eleven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson.

Some believed that J. R. R. Tolkien's trilogy was unfilmable but Jackson and co made it one of the biggest movie events of all time. These movies remain some of my best cinema experiences.

- A History of Violence (2005)

Mortensen teamed up with director David Cronenberg for the first time in 2005 as he starred in crime thriller A History of Violence.

A History of Violence was based on the 1997 graphic novel of the same name by John Wagner and Vince Locke and was adapted for the big screen by Josh Olson. This was the first film for Cronenberg since Spider in 2002 and kicked off a partnership between the director and actor.

Mortensen takes on the role of Tom Stall, a mild-mannered man who becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core as secrets and his past catch up with him.

A History of Violence is an engrossing film from start to finish as Cronenberg notches up the tension and the suspense frame by frame and moment by moment. This is a wonderful study of violence, heroism, and trying to leave your past behind.

Mortensen gives one of the best performances of his career as he showed off a gritty and dark side to himself as an actor. Together, Mortensen and Cronenberg crafted a wonderfully layered and complex character that you never feel you know or trust.

The movie was met with acclaim upon release with performances from Mortensen and William Hurt receiving widespread praise.

A History of Violence grossed $60.7 million at the box office - easily making back its $32 million budget. The film went on to pick up two Oscar nominations; Best Adapted Screenplay for Olson and Best Supporting Actor for Hurt.

- Eastern Promises (2007)

Two years later, Mortensen reunited with Cronenberg for Eastern Promises, which was written by screenwriter Steven Knight.

For me, Eastern Promises sees Mortensen deliver and even better performance than in History of Violence, as the actor and director explored the violent world of the Russian Mafia in London.

The mysterious yet ruthless Nikolai (Mortensen) is a driver for one of London's most notorious organised crime families. The family itself is part of the Vory V Zakone criminal brotherhood. Headed by Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl). The family owns a restaurant to hide their brutal core. But their fortune is being pushed to the limit by Semyon's violent son Kirill (Vincent Cassel).

His carefully maintained existence is put in jeopardy when he meets midwife Anna (Naomi Watts) who is searching for the identity and family of a young girl who died during childbirth on Christmas Eve, by using a diary that survives her. By delving into the diary she unleashes the full fury of the Vory. Her search leads her to an underground sex trafficking business run by London's Russian crime community.

Once again, the movie sees Mortensen take on a role of a man who is not all that he seems. Anna and the audience make assumptions about Nikolai when we first meet him - only for Mortensen and Cronenberg to turn that on its head.

It is a powerful performance from Mortensen and he dominates every scene that he is in - even if he is just stood saying nothing. He is both a captivating and intimidating presence and you just cannot take your eyes off him.

Eastern Promises is a dark, gritty, and violent movie that shares a lot of very similar themes and ideas with A History of Violence.

Eastern Promises was an even bigger critical hit and Mortensen went on to receive his first Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance - losing out to Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood.

- The Road (2009)

In 2009, Mortensen teamed up with filmmaker John Hillcoat for the first time for The Road, which was a big screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy.

The movie has been adapted by Joe Penhall and was the first film for Hillcoat since The Proposition back in 2005.

Starring Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee in the central roles, the movie follows an ailing father who defends his son as they travel through a post-apocalyptic world towards the sea.

The Road is a movie that could well be a little too bleak for some, but that does not stop it from being a truly haunting watch. It is set to such a desolate backdrop, it is hard to believe that this movie was set on location.

This is a powerful ad emotional movie and the images that Hillcoat create of this post-apocalyptic world and how far the human race has fallen, will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

It is another memorable performance from Mortensen, who is trying to do all he can to ensure the survival of his young son. It is the central relationship between Mortensen and Smit-McPhee that really is the emotional core of the film and packs the greatest punch.

The Road was another critical success for Mortensen and, for many, the movie was one of the best to hit the big screen in 2009. Sadly, it was a film that did struggle to find an audience upon release.

- The Two Faces of January (2014)

Mortensen returned to the big screen in 2014 as he starred in The Two Face of January, which was an adaptation of the 1964 book of the same name by Patricia Highsmith.

The Two Faces of January marked the feature film directorial debut of Hossein Amini, who is best known for his work as a screenwriter on the likes of Drive. As well as being in the director's chair, Amini also penned the film's screenplay.

Intrigue begins at the Parthenon when wealthy American tourists Chester MacFarland (Mortensen) and his young wife Collete (Kirsten Dunst) meet American expat Rydal (Oscar Isaac), a scammer working as a tour guide. Instead of becoming his latest marks, the two befriend him, but a murder at the couple's hotel puts all three on the run together and creates a precarious bond between them as the trio's allegiance is put to the test.

The Two Faces of January is an assured directorial debut from Amini who delivers secrets, lies, and intrigue with every twist and turn - creating tension and atmosphere along the way.

Mortensen and Isaac deliver wonderful performances as the pair try to outmanoeuvre one another as the law starts to catch up with them. It becomes a wonderful game of cat and mouse as they struggle trusting one another.

From start to finish, The Two Faces of January is tense, gripping, and intriguing and was one of the best thrillers to hit the big screen in 2014. This remains Armini's only directorial effort to date but I hope we do see him in the director's chair again sooner rather than later.

- Captain Fantastic (2016)

Mortensen is back this week with his latest film Captain Fantastic, which sees him return to an indie project.

The movie is directed and written by Matt Ross as he returns to the director's chair for his first movie since28 Hotel Rooms back in 2012. This is only the second feature film of his career.

Mortensen leads a terrific cast as George MacKay, Steve Zahn, Frank Langella, Missi Pyle, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, and Nicholas Hamilton are all on board.

Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, isolated from society, a devoted father (Mortensen) dedicates his life to transforming his six young children into extraordinary adults.

But when a tragedy strikes the family, they are forced to leave this self created paradise and begin a journey into the outside world that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent and brings into question everything he's taught them.

Captain Fantastic is a movie that has played well on the festival circuit this year - screening at Sundance and Cannes - and it is set to be a film not to miss this weekend.

Captain Fantastic is released 9th September.


by for v5.femalefirst.co.uk
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