The cultural moment of Benedict Cumberbatch

In its cover article this week (October 28, 2013), Benedict Cumberbatch featured in Time magazine.  As readers of this blog may have noted, I am a fan of “cultural moments”, and Cumberbatch may well be the current man who captures the moment.

(In fact, my PhD thesis at Macquarie University, is entitled The Making of a Cultural Moment: Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’ Goes to the Movies.)

The Time article author Jesse Dorris has a neat paragraph capturing both Cumberbatch’s “moment” and defining the nature of what a “cultural moment” means in film:

Sometimes an actor captures a cultural moment in a film.  Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, for example, embodied the fever dreams of the feminist backlash in a single sociopath, a woman whose sexual power threatened to destroy all it touched.  and sometimes an actor’s body of work provides a kind of historical shorthand:  Dennis Hopper’s shift from Easy Rider‘s wide-eyed radical to the shell-shocked journalist in Apocalypse Now to the suburban, Reagan-era rot of Blue Velvet captures almost 20 years in under seven hours.

In a single year’s clutch of performances, Cumberbatch has channeled half a dozen shades of zeitgeist.

His latest is playing Julian Assange in the film The Fifth Estate… as well as Star Trek Into Darkness, August: Osage County (with Meryl Streep) and 12 Years a Slave. Can’t wait.

Benedict Cumberbatch Time cover

 

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