In the romantic thriller L'Appartement, Vincent Cassel's character Max describes the girl he has fallen for to a friend. "She's dark, very dark ... something special about her. I don't know, a sort of sadness, a tragic aspect ... " Actress Monica Bellucci plays the object of Cassel's affections and I can't think of a more perfect way to describe her. Her stunning visage is widely admired (she was once exclusively a fashion model), but the Italian actress shouldn't be desired solely for her sex appeal. She's also a talented performer.
Belluci's had a strange career. She's more recognized in Europe, where she's been nominated for awards for her work in films like L'Appartment and the romantic drama Malèna. American audiences mostly know her from her performances in movies like The Matrix Reloaded and Shoot Em Up, primarily because Hollywood seems intent on only allowing her to play the femme fatale or sexy love interest based on her appearance -- despite career achievements like winning the 2009 Women's World Award. Bellucci did team up with director Gaspar Noé and her husband Vincent Cassel in 2002's Irréversible for a role that showed real depth in terms of character and stands out for portraying the actress in a slightly different light than her previous work.