Ledger: The Light and the Dark
AO Scott finds more than a troubled soul in Ledger's work
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 8:09 PM CST
In this photo provided by Columbia/TriStar Pictures', Heath Ledger stars as Skip Engblom in "Lords of Dogtown. (AP Photo/Columbia/TriStar Pictures, Jaimie Trueblood)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In the frenzy surrounding actor Heath Ledger’s sudden death, it's tempting to conflate the “troubled, brooding, self-destructive” qualities he portrayed so stunningly—in Brokeback Mountain’s Ennis Del Mar, the heroin addict in Candy, the unhappy film star in I’m Not There—with some hidden anguish of his own. But to do so is to do a disservice to Ledger’s acting talents, writes New York Times critic AO Scott in an appreciation.

More than “expressions of inner torment,” Scott writes, Ledger’s melancholic characters should be seen as “evidence of resourcefulness, creative restlessness and wit,” qualities that were also showcased in the actor’s less-discussed roles. Scott cites Ledger’s performances in Lords of Dogtown, Casanova and Brothers Grimm, which “complement and complicate” the too-easy vision of Ledger as a cinematic Kurt Cobain.