Barry Pepper may best be remembered for starring in the infamous Battlefield Earth, but he ought to get credit for his
work in Saving Private Ryan, Knockaround Guys, and 25th Hour. First let me give Pepper the credit for his work in 25th Hour.
His performance deserved a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and I would gladly give him the award if I had that kind
of power. He was terrific as Francis, high school chum of Monty Brogan (Edward Norton), entrusted with the task of entertaining
him on his last night of freedom. What gives this character depth is the loathing and contempt he at times shows for Monty
for the life he had chosen. Monty is his friend, but he hates the choices Monty made that he felt obligated to ignore at the
time he should have spoken up. He wants to comfort, but the doom that Monty has in his eyes is daunting. He wants to protect.
He longs to find the traitor who ratted Monty out. But perhaps the most touching scene of Peppers career comes when...!!!!Spoiler!!!!...Monty
begs Francis to ugly his face with a pummeling that will deter the boys in jail. He resists. Monty persists. It's heart wrenching
to witness. Francis cries as he throws his fist repeatedly into his friend's face. Impressive as well was Pepper's work
in Saving Private Ryan as the bible quoting sniper. He was eerie. He felt a justice was being carried out in his killings
of nazis. He slept soundly because of a clear conscience while others in his group lay awake with the horrors of war clouding
their thoughts. Plus, he was cool. He was even cooler in Knockaround Guys as the son of a mobster father trying to find his
place in the world, whether as a hood or as a pro in a business suit. He feels conflict between the life he wants and the
life he seems destined to live. He's a tough guy surrounded by half wits and wannabe thugs, who happen to ruin his one chance
to make it in the mob. He feels frustration and is stretched apart by the call of worlds that can never coexist. Pepper is
sure to have more great roles ahead, and I'll be watching for them as they come along.
recommended Barry Pepper performances:
Saving Private Ryan