Oddly best known as a deadly serious dramatic actor, a Tony Award winner for his Hamlet, Fiennes has done his best work lately in comedy, displaying a lovely grave and wacky presence that energizes the films he is in. For much of his film career he was known for his skill in drama, but in recent years has displayed remarkable depth and versatility, something that has been exciting to watch evolve.
Cast in Schindler’s List (1993) after Steven Spielberg saw him portray T. E. Lawrence on television, he came to fame as one of the most evil Nazis to have lived, Amon Goeth, earning an Academy Award nomination and winning both the National Society and New York Film Critics Awards for supporting actor. Overnight it seemed he was established furthering his reputation with Quiz Show (1994) and the wildly over praised The English Patient (1996) for which he was nominated as Best Actor but does not crack my ten best performance list.
What I admire about the actor is his careful balancing of big studio productions including the Harry Potter franchise with small indies that offer the actor the chance to cut loose and take great risks with his art. Through these smaller films he has proven to be despite matinee idol good looks a gifted character actor.
One last note, that being his delightful comedic turn in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) was among the happiest surprises of that movie year, it just came out of nowhere! I remember laughing out loud when he is being questioned by the police and suddenly realizing he is a suspect he simply turns and runs! Comedy perfection! Here is the list of top Ralph Fiennes movies, selected from his vast filmography. You can watch some of these best Ralph Fiennes movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. The Hurt Locker (2009)
Cast in what is essentially a cameo, perhaps eight minutes of screen time, the actor portrays a Brit in Iraq, caught in a crossfire, the target of snipers when their truck has a flat. Incredibly without the proper jack they are left to fend for themselves. Matter of fact about one of his men being gunned down, the character is tuned to fight, to survive, to focus and find the enemy and fire his weapon. They seek the target, they take aim and fire their weapons as they were taught to do. Fiennes is perfect, tanned from the desert sun, intense, tired of being a target, and though he never knows it, doomed.