Angelina Jolie: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked
4. Kate 'Acid Burn' Libby - Hackers (1995)
Iain Softley is one of the most underrated and underappreciated directors working today. He's directed a handful of good or very good films (Backbeat, The Wings of a Dove, K-PAX, Inkheart), none of which have ever got the mainstream success that they deserved. Back in the 1990s, when the internet was still very much in its infancy, he produced a surefire cult hit in the form of Hackers, and in doing so helped to give Jolie's career a vital boost. Hackers is a cyperpunk thriller which follows a group of young computer hackers who become caught up in a corporate extortion conspiracy. The film centres around the relationship between Kate 'Acid Burn' Libby and Dade 'Zero Cool' Murphy (Jolie's first husband Johnny Lee Miller), who are eventually revealed to be rival hackers. Following a series of pranks culminating in an online duel, Kate and Dade have to join forces when they learn of another hacker's plan to sabotage a fleet of oil tankers using infected software. In a lesser pair of hands, Hackers could have been an incoherent mess of under-developed ideas, bad dialogue and rubbish CGI - it could, in other words, have been The Lawnmower Man (see my article on Pierce Brosnan). Instead, Softley directs masterfully, using rotoscoping to create the digital words of the hackers and shooting the real-life scenes with a welcome sense of naturalism. Jolie is on really fine form here, being independent and having a big attitude without overplaying either aspect. She makes Kate a cool, smart, immensely appealing character - and we could always do with more of those.
Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast (http://www.lionheartradio.com/ and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter (http://www.phonic.fm/). Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.