Top Five: Bradley Cooper performances

After shining in The Hangover, Bradley Cooper is now one of Hollywood’s most famous leading men. To coincide with the release of his latest film Burnt, Jordan Hindson takes a look back at his five best performances.

5) American Hustle

In this critically acclaimed 2013 movie, Bradley Cooper plays Richard DiMaso, an FBI agent who enlists con-artists to help him set up sting operations designed to bring down corrupt politicians. The stylish journey back into 1970s America shows a bit of Cooper’s range and versatility; after all, just putting up with that hairstyle everyday must surely have been worth a few awards?

4) The Place Beyond the Pines

This is a surprisingly little known film, given that it stars Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes. Cooper plays Avery Cross, a police officer who battles his conscience when confronted by the grisly culture of corruption at the police station. The film itself is uneven, but this relatively low-key movie shows that Cooper is not only interested in the big, flashy Hollywood roles, but is a serious actor determined to one day be counted among the greats.

3) The Hangover

The first Hangover movie is easily the best in the trilogy, and was above all the film that catapulted Cooper into the limelight. A bachelor party in Vegas may sound like a good idea, but the “wolf pack” end up having too good of a night. Hilarity ensues. It is slightly ironic that an actor as serious and committed to his profession as Bradley Cooper should rise to fame largely due to a light and ‘unserious’ comedy.  

2) American Sniper

In what turned out to be quite a controversial movie, Clint Eastwood’s flawed biopic of the U.S. Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle saw Bradley Cooper play the leading role. Eastwood’s political opinions infringe too much on the movie for it to become a classic, but Cooper’s performance as Kyle shines brighter than anything else in the film. His, at times, delicately subtle and, at others, frighteningly explicit depiction of the torments of living with PTSD makes this one of Cooper’s most complicated and accomplished roles to date. A perfectly serviceable Texas drawl and the fact that he put on a lot of weight in order to play the part says something about Cooper’s dedication to his craft.

1) Silver Linings Playbook

While I believe this to be Bradley Cooper’s greatest performance to date, I am slightly biased; Silver Linings Playbook is one of my favourite films of all time. Cooper plays Pat, a manic depressive who struggles to get his life back on track after his release from a psychiatric hospital. Jennifer Lawrence is superb and affecting as Tiffany, and Robert De Niro plays Pat’s superstitious, football-loving father. Praised by Stephen Fry for its brutal and shattering honesty about mental illness, the film helped to get people talking about bipolar disorder and other related conditions.

What’s your favourite Bradley Cooper film? Let us know in the comments!