I’ve always had a strange fascination for masks, something that originated during my childhood. The normal human face is not what you would call vivid, and even after amassing all the different races, there aren’t a lot of colors, just a few that differ in tone. And most people have the same round eyes, triangular nose, elliptical mouths and tunneling ears, which reminds me of the last scene from my favorite Korean movie, Memories of Murder. The girl when asked to describe how the serial killer looked like, replies that he looked “just…. ordinary”, and which proves unless you have some contextual information regarding a person there’s nothing significant that can be extracted from a face. This is where masks fit in and how they can be optimized for effective symbolism apart from the unusuality brought to the appearance or concealment.
Visual arts have used the concept of masking since its inception to enhance the dramatic appeal as well as to transform a physical body into a metaphysical image, like the geisha culture that emerged during 600’s in Japan. Movies being a product of stage theatrics, continued to adopt this “visage de la mystique” for the same intention, to captivate the viewer’s attention and make their minds skirt around the character’s motives. After going through a hundred different masked characters and unfortunately dropping out some of my favorites, I’ve compiled a list of 15 that I believe are the greatest. I’ll be differentiating between masks and masked characters, and hence would be excluding remarkable choices like The Rite, Point Break, Silence of the Lambs and Eyes Wide Shut. I have also excluded superheroes from this list. Here are the 15 greatest movie characters with masks.
15. Frank (Frank)
In my favorite performance from Michael Fassbender, he is The Third Revelation. No, seriously, he is. His character, Frank is considered to be an enigma by a group of musicians whose spirituality is a byproduct of fossilized nonconformism and the fading gothic culture, basically people in search for nothing but pleasure through music. He sports a fake head and weird quirkiness, inspired by the legendary musician Frank Sidebottom. The character has a shocking backstory which lies buried underneath his Freddie Mercury-esque experimental vocals and dressing, a peculiar appreciation of seemingly irrelevant objects and especially an aura that radiates warmth. It’s just bloody difficult to dislike a character who sings about “screeching frequencies”, “pulsating infinities” and “galactic siren sounds”.