His fervent method of working has become synonymous with his on-screen roles; whether portraying a Wall Street yuppie; a young prisoner of war; a charming, overweight con-artist, a magician, or the aforementioned comic-book hero, Bale is one of this generation’s greats.
With his latest bravura performance in Out of the Furnace released in UK cinemas this week, we look back at some of Bale’s most memorable performances.
1. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho
Bret Easton-Ellis’s opus was released to a furore of critical acclaim and damnation; it was never expected to be a book that would lend itself easily to a film adaptation. Its dense narrative put many people off until director Mary Harron found a way to capture Ellis’s brutal wit and madness and bring it to screen. A tangle with a young Leonardo DiCaprio notwithstanding, Bale was always her first choice for the fractured Patrick Bateman.
An unknown in the US at the time, Bale wrestled the part to the ground and immersed himself into the role, something which would become a trademark for the actor. As Bateman, Bale had arrived. His chiseled body, inscrutable demeanour, coupled with the particular madness of the character were a match made in heaven. Harron’s film managed to collect all that was good about Easton Ellis’s wild book into a funny, taut and scathing film about the indulgences and excess that so many bowed down to in Wall Street, circa 1985.
Devastating, violent, funny, this is the performance that truly defines the actor, and was seen by many as a precursor to what would become his most well known role.