Kevin Spacey: Oscar winner, theater director -- corporate shark? You might not have pegged the actor as someone who represents white-collar greed, but he -- or more specifically, the characters he plays -- certainly have a habit of exhibiting the type of maniacal behavior many Americans have become angry with over the last few years. In this weekend's New York Times Magazine, film critic A.O. Scott does a convincing job of comparing Spacey's recent roles -- along with his career as a whole -- to the nature of today's economy (which, if you haven't heard, sucks) and the villains who caused it.
As our fascination with money and power shows signs of curdling into resentment, we need both plausible targets and sympathetic alter egos. Spacey manages to be both. In 'Horrible Bosses' last summer, he was a creature of pure, compulsive sadism. In 'Margin Call,' he is an upper-middle-level executive at a large investment bank on the brink of 2008-style chaos, whose ruthlessly realistic assessment puts him at the ethical center of the storm.
Scott doesn't just keep this comparison to Spacey's recent films. His roles as the "postmodern sociopath" Keyzer Soze in 'The Usual Suspects' and the "diabolical movie producer" in 'Swimming With the Sharks' also get the white-collar comparison. However, the most important piece of info to gather from the piece is this:
We can read [Spacey's] history in his face: the front-office fixture; the boss from hell; the drifting salaryman; the master criminal. He has been all of those guys and has now settled in, not quite at the top but close enough to it to have acquired a relish for real power. We know him. We know what he is capable of. And because of this...he's the only one we can trust.
If that's the case, could we maybe send Spacey to Occupy Wall Street to help diffuse the tension between police and protesters?

[via NYT Magazine]

[Photo: Getty]

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categories Movies