Only his name would suffice to sum up the whole history of contemporary cinema. First the theater stage, then the silver screen which he started off with the young film student Martin Scorcese, a career of thirtyeight years. Mean Streets or Taking Sides, dark nights, souls struggling to break free, hoping to be saved, bad guys trying to do good deeds, ordinary people trapped in the dead-ends of morality, and obligatorily the naked truth, considering his long filmography. An actor who achieves to portray the weaknesses and insolvencies of his characters as "attractive" with his extraordinary performances. Even impressive "bad cops" like in Bad Lieutenant or Cop Land are not enough to categorize him; he is open to every kind of role. He is most selective with no the scripts, but the directors he is going to work with. Apart from American independents like Paul Auster's stories "Smoke" and "Blue in the Face", we should not overlook Thelma and Louise and The Duellists of the British Ridley Scott, or the Greek master Theo Angelopoulos' Ulysses' Gaze. Carrying his characters over the border of two dimensions, he draws us into his depths, leaves us perplexed, crumbles clichés to roam us between the notions of good and evil. It is not his style to be a "hero"; even if he tries to do "heroic" stuff, he is beaten by his principles, he wriggles about his paradoxes just like "Mr. White" in Reservoir Dogs, he drags in the viewer while combating his inner demons. With his astonishing performance in the unforgettable The Piano, he makes us "savor" that acting is an endless discovery. It is our privilege to watch him on screen as the audience.
- Esin Küçüktepepınar