Anybody who knew anything about films loved Philip Seymour Hoffman. The impact his passing will have will be just as huge as the news of his sudden death was shocking; nobody expected this, and it really is an incredibly sad moment for the world of cinema. He was an extraordinary performer. Easily one of the finest on screen talents of the past decade, he was a marvellous character actor, playing a wide range of roles with complete authority and conviction. He could have played anyone, anything, and he would have had you on the edge of your seat; he was a remarkable on-screen presence and his casting in a film would make many immediately want to see it. I expect everyone who is even slightly interested in the film industry will miss him deeply. I know I will.
From comic roles to horribly sad performances, Philip Seymour Hoffman could have done it all. There are so many of his performances that stand out for me personally, but one of his most under-appreciated roles that I remember as one of his best was as the butler Brandt in the Coen Brothers movie The Big Lebowski; although it really is a minor role, it is an exquisitely funny one. Every reaction to the Dude’s sloppiness, every little hand movement and every forced laugh is side-splittingly funny. I can watch that performance over a hundred times and it will always make me laugh out loud; he had the ability to steal every scene he was is in. My personal favourite role he played was in the 2006 masterpiece Synecdoche, New York, a breathtakingly beautiful film where he played a depressed theatre writer who when granted a genius grant creates a play the size of a city, with actors living out 24/7 performances of real people. It’s a wonderful movie, and Philip Seymour Hoffman produces the finest performance of his career in heartbreaking style, depicting the fall of a man who loses everything and pours it into a piece of work which may or may not just be a figment of his imagination. It’s hard to describe how good his performance really is in it; as he gets lost in the character, so does the audience. It is from watching this again that I will miss Philip Seymour Hoffman the most, his talent was unlimited and his relatively short career will be paraded for years to come.
As I type this, I realise how strange, and how sad it is that we will never see a new Philip Seymour Hoffman performance; there was always a thrill of seeing him tackle a new role, of him taking up another challenge and hitting one out of the park. He was a unique talent, a wonderful actor who never failed to light up a movie with a performance, whether it was incredibly powerful, or whether it was laugh out loud funny. He was a master of his profession, a genius on the screen and every film fan will greatly miss him.
Rest in Peace.