Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Not surprisingly, there was an immediate, overwhelming groundswell of shock, emotion and genuine affection following the announcment of Heath Ledger's untimely, premature death today.
His is an uncommon celebrity death that stops the world in its tracks and forces people to take stock and actually consider the loss that's at hand.
Ordinarily, reactions to the death of a public person fall in one of two camps: There's the creepily ghoulish (Anna Nicole Smith) or the respectfully sad (Suzanne Pleshette). But Ledger's passing has engendered something more personal and urgent and frustrating.
We don't want to believe it.
That's because Ledger was so young, so alive, so talented and so charismatic - an approachable icon about whom one feels very proprietary and protective, but who will now remain gnawingly unknowable.
And so it's easy to understand the comparisons to James Dean - and the need for this generation to have the same ritualistic love affair with a handsome, shadowy figure upon whom we can project all kinds of ideas, ideals and unfulfilled promise.
Sleep well, sweet prince. You've left more than a handful of fine film performances behind you.
You made people care again.
Now let's remember him at his best -- in the closing scene from "Brokeback Mountain."
(Artwork: The late Heath Ledger, the young prince in his prime)
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Anyone interested in perusing some 2060 of my film reviews, dating back to 1994, can do so by simply going to RottenTomatoes.Com
Posted by joe baltake at 3:10 PM