10 Most Magnificent Bast*rds In Cinema

You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan, designed and directed by his red right hand.

The €˜magnificent bast*rd€™ is a long-running and incredibly popular archetype in all kinds of narratives and genres: essentially, he or she is a Machiavellian planner, often ruthlessly, always audaciously so. Sometimes the protagonist, usually the antagonist by default, the magnificent bast*rd will often walk the line between the two, as well as between hero and villain. Their motivation will vary, but one thing will remain constant €“ always more than two or three steps ahead, the magnificent bast*rd will have planned for everything you€™re thinking of, and then some. Even if something goes horribly wrong with their scheme, they€™ll have a back-up that will achieve the same outcome, or will have an escape route set up to try again later. Mostly though, what distinguishes a magnificent bast*rd from your common or garden supervillain is their panache, the bold, show stealing nature of their plans. Lateral thinking is where they live. They€™re not prone to grandstanding€ it€™s more that the magnificent bast*rd simply doesn€™t have any truck with caution or fear, and can therefore do things with impunity that others might not ever consider. Here are the ten most magnificent€ and, of course, here be spoilers. Don€™t say we didn€™t warn you.

Honourable Mention: Jigsaw - The Saw Franchise (2004-2010)

On the face of it, John Kramer €“ called the Jigsaw Killer, or simply Jigsaw €“ is the epitome of the magnificent bast*rd archetype. He takes planning and ruthless, cruel cunning to new levels in his attempts to inspire people into a new appreciation of their lives€ by holding those lives in his hands. The problem is the law of diminishing returns involved in the seven-movie franchise. With each film layering another intricate addition onto the puzzle of the narrative, the narrative itself becomes bogged down in plot. The more involved it is, the less involving it becomes, and with that, it becomes harder to invoke a suspension of disbelief. Jigsaw stops being a Grand Guignol genius around halfway into the franchise with his own death at the end of Saw III, and his impact is further diluted by the apprentices that try (and fail) to become like him throughout the remainder of the films in the series. Had the filmmakers stuck to the axiom that less is always more, they might have created a true magnificent bast*rd for the ages.

Professional writer, punk werewolf and nesting place for starfish. Obsessed with squid, spirals and story. I publish short weird fiction online at desincarne.com, and tweet nonsense under the name Jack The Bodiless. You can follow me all you like, just don't touch my stuff.