Keanu Reeves is one of the ‘nice guys’ of Hollywood. He has humble beginnings and has worked his way to the top. He is also known to be one of the most charitable people in the industry. As a matter of fact, after the success of The Matrix Trilogy, he is reported to have given $80 million of his $114 million earnings to the special effects and makeup staff behind the film.
In addition to his wonderful personality, Reeves has been blessed with some fine talent. Here is the list of top Keanu Reeves movies that prove he is a great actor. You can watch some of these best Keanu Reeves movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
At first watch, ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ plays out like some sort of creepy fan-fiction you’d find on some thread hidden deep in a corner of Reddit. It almost feels ridiculous at times, the supernatural elements this story packs seem oddly out of place in what seems to be a courtroom thriller. When you look behind its surface, however, what you find is a shocking and inspiring thriller. The Devil has been portrayed in many forms in different mediums throughout the years. More often than not, he is shown as an ugly monster with red eyes. What this film makes you realise and effectively so, is how the ‘Devil’ exists in the world: He presents human choices, attempts to lead people astray with tempting lures that prey upon our competitiveness, lust, greed, ego, jealousy and dishonesty. The film has a deep symbolic value which most of the audience fail to grasp while watching it for the first time. Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino and Charlize Theron make up the all-star ensemble this film boasts.
11. River’s Edge (1986)
‘River’s Edge’ is credited with being one of the breakout films for Keanu Reeves. It is also one of the saddest, most shocking and most realistic films you will ever see. The movie captures suburban inertia in a way which most other films fail to do. Consider this film a case study in interactive psychology. It is a study of the way people act in different settings. The most striking feature of the film seems to be its universally apathetic characters. There is no clear message, the story just plays out, with characters who seem over-the-top but depicted with just enough realism that you take what is going on seriously. A highly underrated film, seemingly inspired by true events.
10. Parenthood (1989)
One of the best films of Steve Martin’s illustrious career happens to star Keanu Reeves. ‘Parenthood’ is an excellent mixture of comedy and drama. It handles delicate subjects but puts a lighter spin on them. Virtually every aspect of parenting is examined in a manner that causes you to think and feel, every bit as much as it makes you laugh. Characters solve their dilemmas by growing within their characters. There are no miraculous revelations or character transformations which are common in movies of the similar genre. This film has withstood the test of time really well and one can even relate to it after all these years. A sweet, subtle and warm-hearted comedy.
9. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Although a vast majority of fans of ‘The Matrix’ will not acknowledge the next two installments in The Matrix Trilogy. It is pretty understandable, there was a noticeably large drop in quality from the first film. However, the first film was on a different level altogether. It was among the all time greats of cinema. Even though the next two films were pretty solid and decent, it was hard for fans of the first film to come to terms with this sudden drop in quality. The film pretty much picks up from where the first film left off, with Neo and the rebels still carrying out missions against the machines, attempting to take back control of the planet. After the first film, the hype for this one around the time of its release had reached almost feverish levels and even though the movie did contain the rich cinematography and the brilliant action sequences that were vital to the success of the original, it failed to live up to the hype. Nevertheless, ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ is still a great film to watch.
8. Constantine (2005)
Keanu Reeves first and only venture into the world of DC comics. The film is dark, yet dazzling with a terrific story backed up by spectacular special effects and great cinematography which pull you into a dangerous world of mythology. Keanu Reeves excels as the famous John Constantine, infusing him with a sense of purpose and dark humour. Although a few critics did slate Reeves’ performance at the time of release of this film, I believe he did achieve what he set out to do. He correctly plays Constantine as an angry and distant character with limited emotions. ‘Constantine’ achieves what all great movies always do: It takes you into a different world, a fantasy world, making you forget about everything in your own world for its entire duration of 2 hours.
7. The Gift (2000)
While Cate Blanchett completely stands out in this film as she so often does, Keanu Reeves also produces a solid performance. ESP or extra-sensory perception is the subject matter of this film. The film plays out as a mystery thriller, without cheaply going for shock value. The audience are taken on an emotional journey through the mind of the protagonist Annie. (Blanchett) She is drawn in to help investigate the disappearance of a girl using her supernatural gift. The story is easy-to-follow but makes for a haunting and deliciously involving film. ‘The Gift’ can be called an atmospheric movie, it is also a highly original film and the story sticks to you long after the credits roll.
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6. Point Break (1991)
The recent ‘remake’ of this film failed so badly that it made us appreciate the original film starring Keanu Reeves much more. ‘Point Break’ is one of those films that everybody loves but nobody actually talks about. With Kathryn Bigelow (Of ‘The Hurt Locker’ fame) at the helm, the action and suspense scenes are exciting and riveting. The plot is multi-layered and has an original relationship between the hero and the villain. ‘Point Break’ is a credible well-paced action thriller which packs an adrenaline rush. The movie also shows the lifestyle of the 90s in many ways and is almost a spiritual study of society in that period. A great example of modern action entertainment done without any computer generated special effects.
5. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
‘A Scanner Darkly’ scores a perfect 10/10 for uniqueness. An animated film, using the rotoscoping technique, where the image is transferred from a live action film to the animated state. The film does a great job of capturing the feel and tone of the novel it is based on (Of the same name) as well as the paranoia, perceptual distortions and the effects of hallucinogenic overindulgence. Despite the overall dark nature of the film, the dialogue is hilarious at times, which makes for some much welcome lighter moments. Woody Harrelson, Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr. play esoteric characters in this intelligent, dream-like film which portrays the ravages of drugs on the society. If you’re looking for something which stands out from other films, watch this one.
4. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
It is a really rare phenomenon when a brilliant action film produces an equally good sequel. The recently released ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ garnered both critical and public acclaim, with many even claiming it to be ‘better than the first film’. The sequel was more plot-driven than the first film was, while maintaining the adrenaline packed intensity. The mythology expands and the story becomes multi-layered, the whole secret society of assassins is irresistible, luxurious, sexy and lethal. I did, however, dislike the fact that almost every assassin was masquerading as a street urchin, this did feel unrealistic at times. That said, it definitely added to the ‘awe’ factor when literally anyone could launch at John Wick out of nowhere at any time. The third film in the series has been announced and after the climax of this one, there is a lot to look forward to.
3. Speed (1994)
Largely credited with being the film that plummeted Sandra Bullock into stardom, ‘Speed’ was the runaway success of 1994. This Oscar winning film’s brilliance lies in the fact that it never tries to be more than it is. There is elegance in simplicity. This film proves this very statement. A revenge-driven extortionist plants a bomb on a bus which will explode if driven under 50 miles an hour. The script races along with non-stop action and surprise twists, without ever giving the audience time to stop for breath. A taut and suspenseful thriller that keeps you riveted with excellent effects and gripping suspense. The film also has a tinge of humanity to it which can be credited to Annie, (Played by Bullock) who is forced to become the driver of the bus and has to make some emotionally draining decisions along the way. ‘Speed’ is definitely one of cinema’s best pure action films.
2. John Wick (2014)
‘John Wick’ is the epitome of a good, modern action film. Hollywood is known for diluting action movies with pointless sub-plots that seem to lead nowhere, making the entire affair a terrible mess. ‘John Wick’ has a beautifully simple premise. Imagine something along the lines of ‘Taken’ but with Keanu Reeves’ dog instead of Liam Neeson’s daughter. The reason this film succeeds is due to the lack of melodramatic soapy story lines – everything is straight and to the point. Keanu Reeves is the star of the show, action films really seem to be his niche, even though he is a pretty versatile actor as some of his other performances on this list suggest. The inventive action sequences combined with some slick cinematography make this one of the best action films of this decade.
1. The Matrix (1999)
A groundbreaking film. This legendary film set the benchmark for and had an ubiquitous influence on all sci-fi films in the years to come. ‘The Matrix’ is the hybrid of technical wizardry and contextual excellence. A movie that tackles the issue of existentialism in a manner that left people questioning the reality of our world. In my top 10 list of best movies of all time, ‘The Matrix’ would definitely be an entry. The beautiful cinematography and the well-choreographed action sequences are just a bonus to the thought provoking piece of cinema this film is. Who doesn’t remember the famous scene where Neo (Played by Keanu Reeves) dodges bullets in quick succession? ‘The Matrix’ redefined paranoia. Are we really in control? Is everything we do and say predetermined? Packed with special effects which were well ahead of its times and a brilliant soundtrack, it left a haunting, lingering question on its audience lips: Are we living in The Matrix?
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