Mads Mikkelsen is one of our great performers. Whether he’s playing a cannibal serial killer on TV or a James Bond villain, he puts everything he has into his performances, and each one of them feels sincere and true.
This year at the Vancouver International Film Festival, he starred in Another Round, a film about a man who breaks himself out of complacency by way of a heightened blood alcohol content. It is, to date, one of my favourite performances of the year. So, inspired by this, and by the fact that going to the movies is still a bad idea in most places globally, here are four more great performances from Mads Mikkelsen.
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Casino Royale (2006)
Ok, this might be a cheat because you’ve almost definitely seen Casino Royale, which is not just the best Daniel Craig led James Bond film; it’s one of the best James Bond films. It wouldn’t be, though, without an iconic villain.
Mikkelsen’s intensity and perfect poker face made him nearly a perfect counterpoint to Bond, which is exactly what an iconic Bond villain needs to be. I’d be willing to bet that he goes down in history as one of the best Bond villains of them all.
Valhalla Rising (2009)
Here’s a film you probably didn’t see. Valhalla Rising tells the story of One-eye, a Norse adventurer who a mission to the holy land that goes terribly, terribly wrong. Nicolas Winding Refn made this film, so it is incredibly stylized. For long stretches, it features almost no dialogue. Mikkelsen barely has a line for the entire first act but manages to create a compelling character with his face and body language.
A Royal Affair (2012)
A Royal Affair tells the story of Johann Friedrich Struensee, a Danish doctor who was hired as the personal physician of the king, Christian VII of Denmark, and eventually rose to become the de facto ruler of the country. His affair with Queen Catherine –played by Alicia Vikander in one of the roles that helped her become a star– caused a huge scandal.
A story filled with intrigue and romance, and Mikkelsen playing the lone reformer in a court full of conservatives, A Royal Affair was the first of two of his films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in a row.
The Hunt (2012)
The Hunt was the second Mads Mikkelsen led film in a row nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It follows a pre-school teacher falsely accused of molesting one of his students and the collapse of his life following that accusation.
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (who Mikkelsen collaborated with again on Another Round) and unafraid to take on such delicate subject matter directly, Mikkelsen took home the best actor award at Cannes and the Robert Awards (the Danish equivalent of the Oscars), and the film took home awards at The Roberts, Cannes, The Danish Bodil Awards, and even the People’s Choice Awards here at the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival, among nominations at the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and more.
The Hunt is probably one of the best films of the 2010s, and if you haven’t seen it, what better time than now?