Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Django Unchained is set for release on Dec. 25th. It boasts an all-star cast of regular Tarantino players (Christoph Waltz, Samuel L Jackson) and new faces to the Tarantino universe (Jamie Foxx, Leonardo Dicaprio). Actors relish working with Tarantino, and he has on several occasions allowed an otherwise faltering star the opportunity to shine in a tailor made role. (John Travolta, Robert Forster, Pam Grier). Celebrating 20 years of film-making since his stunning debut with 1992′s Reservoir Dogs, we look back at the 10 performances we feel knocked our socks off from his filmography as a director. Here’s hoping Django Unchained is as good as it looks and we can add a few more names to this list.

Don’t forget to catch Django Unchained, opening December 25th.



10. Kirk Baltz – Reservoir Dogs

To be bound to a chair for the majority of a film is not an easy task, neither is being beaten, tortured, doused in gasoline and having your ear sliced off. For character actor Kirk Baltz that is exactly what he had to endure. As unlucky cop Marvin Nash, Baltz plays the lone hostage snatched by Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) after a jewel heist gone wrong. While strapped to a chair at the gang’s safe house he is devilishly tortured by Mr. Blonde right up to the point where he has his ear cut off by Blonde’s straight razor.

Baltz plays the role with desperation in his voice as he pleads for Mr. Blonde not to burn him alive, and shows anger and frustration when he becomes aware the police are only a few blocks away from the gang’s hideout. Although he appeared in a handful of small film roles afterwards (including 1994′s Natural Born Killers as a cameraman) Baltz will always be remembered for his gutsy performance in Tarantino’s directorial debut. He currently runs an acting school in LA.

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This article was first posted on November 16, 2012