Keanu Reeves has been the object of much mockery in recent years. We've all heard the jokes about his wooden performances (The Day My Face Stood Still and all the rest), and he has frequently chosen roles which unintentionally pander to those expectations. Besides Hayden Christiansen, he is perhaps unrivalled among actors in the level of popular derision he attracts.
But in spite of this, Reeves is capable of turning in a fine performance when he is given the right materials and a director who understands him. Like Nicolas Cage, he will go many performances of phoning it in and then deliver something a lot more interesting to remind us of why we made him a star in the first place. Long before he was immortalised in The Matrix, Reeves turned in a number of very fine performances in efforts both indie and mainstream, and for all the derision, he continues to enjoy a certain level of success.
Nowhere is this more apparent than his latest film, John Wick, a stylish, self-aware thriller that reveals a respectful criminal subculture to modern New York. Although it looks like another of Reeves' "for the money" project, there's a real charm to his main character and adrenaline to the action. To celebrate, we're taking a look back at the highs and lows of one of Canada's most popular exports. And in time-honoured fashion, we begin with five performances which truly demonstrate his acting chops...
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.