Seattle Cinema Survey – Brad Pitt

Turkey Time is here, as is, so it happens, is this week’s collection of film critics’ replies to my inane questions known as the Seattle Cinema Survey. As the latest movie featuring Brad Pitt is here in the form of Allied, I asked our troupe; What’s your favorite Brad Pitt performance?

Brad Pitt’s gone through some odd changes, in a manner all successful careers do. There were the early breakout years, followed by some bland starring turns and then finding that balance of charisma, cool and confident, along with all of the shaded to be played within that. For me, his best take on that is still as Tyler Durden in 1999’s Fight Club (previously discussed in a Was I Nuts?). There is definitely the charisma, as our narrator played by Edward Norton falls for the casual way Durden dismisses everyone else’s attempts at impressing people. The cool comes via swagger and spitting out random, seemingly useless knowledge, but in a non-showboat-y manner. Finally comes the confidence, as declarations of rules, from when to fight, how to follow and where to take society, seems like a natural set of marching orders when delivered with such gusto. That said orders tend to include blowing up lots of stuff, bloodshed and selling women’s own fat asses back to them; that’s just part of the Pitt magic.


Ooooh this one’s a particularly tough one given the semi varied plethora of odd ball characters Pitt has chosen throughout his career; how he’s always been able to find the curious balance between dashing lead and psychotic cult leader continues to amaze me. That being said, one of my all time favorites, and perhaps the one I love to quote the most is Mickey O’Neil from Guy Ritchie’s 2000 release, Snatch. The gypsie-esque bare knuckle boxer, a veritable one punch machine gun with a sense of humor and dark revenge just the same. Brilliant!

Brent McKnight of Cinema Blend/The Last Thing See @BrentMMcKnight

My favorite Brad Pitt performance, by miles and miles, is his supporting turn in Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys. Up until that point, I always thought of him as flat, bland, and handsome, but with little substance. It was around this time, thanks in large part to roles like this and his turn in Seven, where, for me at least, he started to prove he was more than that reductive set of character traits; where he started down the path that led to fantastic, varied turns in the likes of Fight Club, Inglorious Basterds, Moneyball and a slew of others that show his real range.

But rich kid mental patient Jeffrey Goines in 12 Monkeys is the performance where I started to see the possibilities. He’s so totally unhinged and chaotic and so damn much fun to watch. That was the moment where I sat back and said, “Okay, I think I get this whole Brad Pitt thing.”

Erik Samdahl of Film Jabber @filmjabber

That’s a tough one. Pitt has been so good in so many movies, but my mind immediately gravitates towards his zanier roles (i.e. Fight Club, 12 Monkeys, Inglorious Basterds). While there’s a part of me that wants to say Se7en, I’m going to go with his deliciously over-the-top performance in Inglorious Basterds.

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