Sunday, February 02, 2014

On The Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

What a shock and surprise to read and hear about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

While final word on cause of death is unconfirmed, it sounds as though at this time that this was likely the cause of a drug overdose. This type of thing is truly tragic. I think not only of what a great actor Hoffman was, but also the way that celebrity culture is glamorized in a way that for Hoffman in a position of seemingly wide-opportunity and success might pursue destructive behavior of this nature.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was definitely one of the most intriguing actors of the past 15 years. I definitely remember the first films where I became aware of Hoffman as a performer. It was 1999, a year when I definitely beginning a wider interest in contemporary films and very much enjoyed his roles as Phil Parma in Magnolia and Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Already busy before that point in 1999, his film roles seemed to really pick up pace from that point forward. Of course he would get his first Oscar nomination (and win) a half-decade later for Capote, but by that time he had already played some intriguing characters.

It was always interesting to me that Hoffman's characters often were spiritual leaders/teachers such as Reverend Veasey in Cold Mountain, Father Flynn in Doubt, or Lancaster Dodd in The Master. In some ways Lester Bangs in Almost Famous is a leader in this similar capacity to young William Miller.

His characters tend to be powerful and influential, yet at the same time troubled or troubling. There's a secret depth or a sense of a misguided or lonely soul.

It shocking news to hear of his death, sad to think of those he has left behind, and disappointing to think of the roles and performances that he will never play.

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