I don’t envy the PR folk and actors like Christian Bale who will have to spend the next six months advertising a movie under the gargantuan shadow of Heath Ledger’s death . That said film is about a psychotic killer clown and the man dressed as a bat who stops him doesn’t help any.
Ten Things I Hate About You was probably the first movie I saw Heath Ledger in. Not the greatest bit of modernized Shakespeare around but an entertaining movie. The highly underrated but entertaining A Knight’s Tale was probably his first standout performance. Of course Brokeback Mountain , will be what we remember as his finest work. Look for mention of it at the Oscars, if there are Oscars, this year.
There’s no noble way to confront the harsh realities of existence. Money, fame and talent don’t necessarily ease the pain of having to confront your personal demons and while every one of us has stared down the idea of death before, most of us find something to believe in that makes going on worth it, at least for a little while. It’s unfortunate that his work as an actor, which was well regarded, or his young daughter were not enough to ease the pain. But then, none of us can know what pressures he really faced and who can say in the same circumstances we wouldn’t choose the same route? Drugs don’t make the pain go away, they just keep them at arm’s length long enough for a moment of respite. But if you get in the habit of keeping your fears that close at hand and not confronting them, they’ll just sit on your chest like the nightmare imp in a Fuseli painting, staring at you until you cave in just a little more.
If there’s some pain that haunts you, find someone to talk to about it. Your wife, boy friend, sibling, friend. Anyone who cares. They’ll listen and maybe talking about it will be just enough to go on.