British actress Tilda Swinton is best known here for her Oscar-winning supporting turn as an icy, villainous lawyer in Michael Clayton (2007), but neither the role nor the performance really demonstrates what this woman is capable of. Again and again, she’s shown a willingness to take on roles that would terrify most actresses, be it due to the subject matter, the character’s off-putting actions, or what the part physically demands (she is apparently comfortable with all manner of nudity and sex scenes; ever see Young Adam?), and it is this complete lack of fear or modesty combined with her striking physical features (alabaster skin, bright red hair, really damn tall) and just plain uniqueness that have made her such a darling of the independent film world. […]
Calling all Anglophiles! England’s longest reigning monarch takes on the cleverest subject of her (fictional) realm in this All-Union-Jack Smackdown. Both repackaged and reimagined for the new millennium’s theatergoing audience — the usually buttoned-up Victoria gets unstuffed and sexed up in a lush period romance/political drama, and Sherlock gets the no-holds-barred no-punches-pulled Guy Ritchie/Joel Silver treatment. Both title characters make formidable contenders for the Smackdown crown; there’s nothing I appreciate more than a really good makeover.