8. Geoffrey Rush in Quills
Geoffrey Rush is nuts. Like really. No seriously. Not that I’ve met the man, but just look into his eyes. Those aren’t the eyes of your run-of-the-mill actor who studied mime, even in Australia. There’s a madness. A charismatic, bizarre madness which made him perfect to play a fictionalized Marquis de Sade locked away in an insane asylum in Quills, a performance exuding his exquisite brand of off-hinge.
As De Sade, Rush jumps, leaps, and bounds. He spurts lascivious language, caressing you with each curled consonant. He makes over-the-top exaggerated gestures, that you follow like a spurned pup, only to be rivaled the character’s innate undercurrent of human frailty. Beneath his bombast, the Marquis is a troubled soul looking for respite, whether that be through lust or writing, and to disrupt a system that cruelly tossed him aside for his admittedly unsavoury tastes. He is passion embodied; however outwardly seedy, there is a core of basic bordering on transcendental yearning. And Rush captures all of this with a flicker of his eye, a wave of his arm and a jaunty step to and fro.