Watching the 2004’s Punisher, starring Thomas Jane, I began recalling how much I loved this movie when I was a kid. But as time went on, as much as I hate to admit it, the taste of the punisher has kind of faded away for me. But if there’s one thing from the whole film that stood the test of time then it’s most definitely the incredibly powerful performance by Thomas Jane as Frank Castle AKA the Punisher.
Thomas Jane’s Punisher is mysteriously subtle, silent and intriguing in every scene. The way he carries himself throughout the film makes you wanna watch it till the end because you can genuinely feel the pain that this character bears in the story and you can’t help but know how the arc of this character will play out.
Now more than a decade later, we got another great performance by John Bernthal as the punisher in Netflix’s hit series Daredevil and even though John Bernthal hit all the right chords of brilliant acting, it never really became as memorable as the performance by Thomas Jane.
The handling of the characters and storytelling revolving around John Bernthal’s punisher was way more compelling than Thomas Jane’s punisher, but Thomas Jane clearly gave a performance that transcended above the mediocre storytelling and became an element of the film that would stick in our minds for an eternity.
Now in all honesty, I don’t think the film is as bad as the critics labeled it. Of course it has some tonal issues, over the top gross violence and some of the plot points along with the characters could have been handled in a much better way, but if you cut it some slack, you will bring your attention to some of the really good character psychology like the one at 1:50 in the video.
But the point is not to bring emphasis on moments like these, the point is to bring the light on the way that Thomas Jane portrays moments like these at 2:10 in the video.
It’s an absolute joy to listen to him speak these lines in the voice tone that he carries which is amplified by the look in his eyes. With all this brilliance, I couldn’t help but dig a little deeper into Thomas Jane’s career and find out why was the punisher the role that sticks out the most in his resume and how come he never really got the opportunity to create characters the same way that maybe Christian Bale got to create after his brilliant performance as Bruce Wayne and Batman.
Thomas Jane got his start as an actor in a Telugu romantic comedy where his performance never really showed the signs of an actor who would go on to give a classic performance like the punisher. But later on he starred in some critically admired content like the HBO series Hung and movies like the thin red line, Magnolia and the Mist.
Soon, he caught the attention of the punisher’s producer, Avi Arad, who said that Thomas Jane was the only actor to be approached to play the punisher. But much to his shock, Thomas Jane turned down the role twice as he wasn’t really aware about who the punisher was and believed him to be just another run of the mill comic book character.
But once he was introduced to the comics, he became intrigued with the character’s psychology and his persona of an anit-hero which finally convinced Jane to take on the role of the punisher.
And even though the film lets you down as you grow older, Jane’s performance stays relevant throughout the timeline.
Now much to our displeasure, we never got the sequel to the punisher, so we didn’t get the pleasure of watching Thomas Jane bring the character to life once again on the big screen. But in 2012, Thomas Jane independently financed a short film called Dirty Laundry where he finally reprised his role as the punisher much to the fans delight.
He later went on to test his directorial chops with the psychological thriller called Dark Country. Critics praised the incredible nourish style, Jane’s direction and his performance in the film. This had us convinced that Jane finally might have found the path to launch him into super stardom as a filmmaker, but he never followed up on that. Instead he went on to appear in the critically approved syfy series called the Expanse.
Now even though the Expanse is a plausible series, Jane’s brilliant acting doesn’t really reach the evergreen feeling of his performance as the punisher.
Now for his future projects, he’s reprising his role from the Expanse for season 2 and in 2018, he’s slated to star in the next installment of the Predator franchise.
Now if you take a step back and look at his project choices, they sort of turned out just fine. But what I don’t completely understand is that even though we know that Thomas is a brilliant actor in front of the camera and potentially a great director behind the camera, why are we not seeing him launch his career the way Ben Affleck was able to do after his first directorial effort?
Why does it feel like Thomas Jane for some reason is holding back? Is he deliberately avoiding the spotlight or is the universe just playing silly mind games with him or is the universe and Thomas Jane together are playing mind games with us.
Whatever the big mystery is, I’m desperate to know the answer. But in my opinion, if Jane begins to write his own series or movies and regularly follows up on that, then he can finally take Hollywood by the storm and cement his legacy as a great actor that he truly is.
But until then, every time I’ll think about Thomas Jane, I will think about the moment at 6:05 in the video.
Thomas Jane is one of those actors who will blow your mind everytime he appears on the screen, but like I mentioned a dozen times in the video, none of his performances became evergreen as his performance as the Punisher. But in my opinion, if he begins writing and directing his own projects like Woody Allen, then perhaps he can transit into the Hollywood star that he deserves to be.
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