They came, they saw, they conquered, and they vanish leaving the audience feeling like a deer in the headlights at what they just witnessed. They are the men who appear at just the right (or wrong) times and monumentally change the lives of the other characters in the films. Some nameless, some with vague origin, and some you just can’t put your finger on, these are just a few of cinema’s greatest mysterious strangers.
What makes the lack of an origin so appealing to viewers? Does it make it easier for the audience to connect with these otherwise caricatures of their respected genre? Maybe the screenwriters are just saving us time, knowing that a back story only distracts from what’s happening and what needs to happen. Whatever the reasoning, we salute you, oh shadows of celluloid, and only ask that if you can’t stay with us long, that you do show up more often.
7. “Driver” from Get the Gringo (2012)
Mel Gibson’s rogue, piss-off performance is enough to take you back to the glory days of old when he donned an 80s mullet and shot off charm and insanity as much as he did bullets, but there’s something wonderfully pleasing about the character only known as “Driver” throughout the movie (he gives a pseudonym as hid identity to other characters). And while we’re eager to take back a wily role from the Braveheart star, the fact that it’s never divulged into as more than a wise-cracking, on-the-toes swashbuckler just makes Driver’s presence all the more delectable. Churn out more of these films, Mel, and we’ll come crawling back!
“Well, boys and girls. To the untrained eye it looks as if crime pays, doesn’t it? But bear in mind, for guys with my particular set of karmic could-be’s, there was bound to be a bump or two down the road.”
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