This Monday, the 23rd of March, sees the home video release of The Homesman. Triple threat Tommy Lee Jones wrote, directed and starred in the western, his second theatrical directorial effort.
It sees Jones as low-life drifter George Briggs, who is roped into helping Hilary Swank’s Mary Bee Cuddy as she transports a trio of women across country. This may only be Tommy Lee Jones’ second cinematic release as director, but as an actor, he has appeared in nearly a hundred movies.
With a filmography like that, it can sometimes be difficult to sort the good from the bad. So here we are to help you, as we take a look at six of the best Tommy Lee Jones performances.
In the Valley of Elah
Paul Haggis’s 2007 drama takes a swipe at the US military, as Jones plays retired military-police officer Hank Deerfield, whose soldier son is killed in mysterious circumstances. Deerfield begins investigating the incident, eventually teaming up with investigating detective Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron). As they begin to get closer to the truth, it appears there may be a military cover-up, related to events that transpired during Deerfield’s son’s final tour.
Whilst the part of an ex-military man doesn’t sound like a stretch for Jones, who has made a career of playing cowboys, cops, and soldiers, In the Valley of Elah allows the actor to stretch his full range of acting muscles. With an aura of melancholy throughout, Jones successfully internalises and externalises his rage, frustration and sorrow. Known for a rapid-fire delivery, Jones’ performance is quiet and restrained, but with a believable confidence in his abilities and instincts. It resulted in Tommy Lee Jones’ first Lead Actor Academy Award nomination.