Spotlight – Pete Postlethwaite (RIP)

There will be spoilers ahead…

Peter William Postlethwaite (07.02.1946 – 02.01.2011) An incredible actor who never really got billed as the star of any movie but stole the show whenever he was involved.

After years of bit parts in TV productions, his talent was spotted, while getting longer roles he then began getting posted into movies and his career bloomed from there, his international reputation was solidified when he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for In the Name of the Father.

I’m the first to say that I don’t get all fan girl crazy over actors but there are a handful that I find interesting. It’s easy to assume that someone has a certain manner or temperament until the news gets out that they beat their wife or are a sexual predator (not that Pete has ever had any accusations) then the perception changes and everyone gets bummed out. After all we don’t know these people who act for us everyday, and assumptions are the mother of all fuck ups, but when the do wonderful things with us, like marching for Climate Change as Postelthwaite did in London on several occasions and even offering to return his OBE if dodgy power options were sought by a coalition government, and he marched and spoke out against the Iraq War, there’s a brilliant testament that his heart was in the right place.

Sadly this British Gem passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in 2011. But before he left us, he

Usual Suspects (1995)

Possibly the role in which he’s more easily recognised, as the devilish lawyer/gangster Mr. Kobayashi, who works for a legendary hood known as Keyser Soze, Kobayashi is a perfect Right Hand man, he’s professional and totally fearless.The name is Japanese which means Small Forest but the character has a British/Indian accent, but with the fabric of Usual Suspects is that truth and reality are blended with fantasy so while we believe him to be real in all honesty we don’t really know who the man is at all. Pete was perfect in his role which he won National Board of Review Award for Best Cast, he could cast fear and doubt with his little wry smile and while everyone feared the Keyser, to be honest the give no fucks face Kobayashi has on his face even with a gun to his head, I would fear him just as much.. he’s one bad ass character.

In the Name of the Father (1993)

Pete’s biggest award came with acting alongside one of the most impressive actors of all time, and in my opinion the two are very similar, in this biographical drama he plays the father of an innocent man arrested under suspicion of being the Guildford Four. Due to the severity of the crime his association lead to him also being convicted where he wastes away and dies in prison. There’s nothing uplifting about the movie and Pete’s emotive approach to the role where his character is literally going through hell is outstanding and will never be forgotten.

Brassed Off (1996)

Back to another British cult classic, Pete plays Danny Ormondroyd the Conductor of a coal mining brass band. As the miners deal with the harshness of becoming redundant the band manages to keep their hearts beating while the gear up for a national competition. Danny struggles with illness, loss and fear as much as any of the other men but his moving speech at the end really tugs at the heartstrings every time I watch it, a breath of life which sums up the movies message and narrative in a few minutes, delivered with so much poise and compassion.

ALIEN³ (1992)

For me, this is the best of the Alien Franchise, yep I’m one of those people. Ripley finds herself trapped in on Fiorina “Fury” 161 Prison/Workhouse, with a group of double Y men who have found God, who can’t generally be trusted but they know a lot about smelting. Postlethwaite plays David, from what I can gather from the fandom sites and follow on comics, David was sentenced to 20 years for rape but generally his time with Ripley as eye candy he comes across as a generally “nice-guy” he engages with Ripley as an equal, and shows a high level of intelligence, he does engage in called Aaron by the nickname 85 but it seems more out of habit than out of malice. But David Vs the Xenomorph doesn’t go very well as he plays the part of `bait”.

The Omen AKA The Omen : 666 (2006)

Usually I’m not all that interested in remakes, especially when it’s a remake of one of my all time favourite movies, but when I decided to get the Omen Box Set it came with it and I made some effort to check it out, and it’s not bad at all. Pete plays Father Brennan, originally acted by Patrick Troughton, both men played the role really well, I really do love the character the most out of the whole cast, a frightened man who’s seen the void staring back, trying his best to protect himself from the devil by surrounding himself with his bible and crosses, only to die in such a dramatically fantastically way..


Thank you for reading and what films would you class as 5 stand out projects for the great actor, I know a lot of you really loved his hunter role in Jurassic Park but… who knows there might be another list.

One thought on “Spotlight – Pete Postlethwaite (RIP)”

  1. Terrific look at a great character Actor…I interviewed him at the Cannes Film Festival for “The Usual Suspects” and he was gracious and charming – a very nice person and great Actor!

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