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The Edward Norton Bio

The Edward Norton Review –

by Nate Lee


The Illusionist

It's so completely different from everything else Norton has done, at least on the surface. This period piece, a romantic drama and historical mystery all rolled into one magic act. Whoever thought to cast the all-American Ed deserves the standing ovations and just plain awe that Norton gets as a magician far ahead of his time.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Primal Fear (an Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance as a sociopathic altar boy)
American History X (Oscar-nominated performance as a neo-Nazi skinhead)
Pride and Glory (a cop investigating his brother)
Death to Smoochy (a sweet children's programming rhino)
25th Hour (an ex-drug dealer on his last day before prison)
Fight Club (a psycho fighter)
Rounders (slimy poker player)
The Incredible Hulk (the Jekyll part)
The Italian Job (bad guy)
Red Dragon (FBI agent)
The Score
The Painted Veil
The Real Edward Norton:
The Illusionist

Intelligent. Educated. Dedicated to his craft and the fine details that seem to bother lesser talents. Bold enough to take on the powers that be and talented enough to get away with it. And, of course, dedicated to the illusion itself.
Acting Style:
The last guy you'd ever think would be as macho as he is. It's actually a tribute to Norton's insanely charismatic acting ability that he can pull off anything heavier than romantic comedies and/or musicals. This dichotomy – between his cherubic face and his psychotic, mean, or troubled characters – it works, though. Sometimes it helps by showing the characters' vulnerability, and sometimes it accentuates a dual nature that borders on (or is well past the border of) schizophrenia.
Bits and Quirks:
He pulls off the above dichotomy most often with facial hair, the goatee being the style of choice. The squinty eyes and the big smile. The squinty eyes and the big frown, or the psycho stare with the squinty eyes and the head forward. The cocked head, often with an askew torso. The nasally voice goes high usually in the comedies. The funny, jerky head nod.
Great Scenes:

> Scene in the bar with the mobster Nicolai
> Confessing his fears to his best friend
> The tirade on New Yorkers to the mirror
> The dream sequence narrated by dad Brian Cox
> Getting his best friend to beat him up

The Score

> Turning the tables on De Niro
> Faking the mentally handicapped character

Fight Club

> Beating himself up in his boss's office

Keeping the Faith

> The scene on the bridge
> Putting the moves on Jenna Elfman

The Illusionist

> The "hologram" scenes
> Meeting in the carriage
> The "sword in the stone" scene with the Crown Prince

The Italian Job

> Face-off between the chopper and the Minis.

Primal Fear

> Explosion in the courtroom
> Switching personalities in the interrogation room
> The revelation, with Richard Gere, at the end

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