People forget how good an actor Danny Glover really is and because his ageing cop character Roger Murtaugh from the “Lethal Weapon” series is so ingrained in people’s minds, most of them neglect his other more weightier roles. Playing a Police Officer is of course one of Glover’s filmic linchpins; before “Lethal Weapon” he played the corrupt narcotics cop in “Witness”, and after “Lethal Weapon” he played a Detective in the first and only watchable film from the horridly-elongated “Saw” horror series, but throughout his career Mr. Glover has played much more than someone from law enforcement.
Danny Glover’s filmography has included many protagonists and antagonists, in fact Glover for me is the master of straddling the line of good-guy/bad-guy. As an unfriendly evil-doing Colonel in the conspiracy thriller “Shooter” Glover was brilliant, and even when a film is less than satisfying, Danny always stands out and gives a watchable performance, an example of this is the is-he-or-isn’t-he serial killer in “Switchback”. One of his greatest roles was of course in the drama “The Color Purple” in which he played the odiously brutal Albert Johnson, and although Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey both deservedly gained Oscar nominations for their roles in the movie, I think Danny Glover was overlooked by the Academy. In my opinion he played the mentally and physically abusive farmer perfectly, and if an actor can go from being a loveable family man in one movie to a wife-beating bully in the next, that for me shows range. If that actor plays all of their varying roles convincingly then surely they deserve a nomination?
But like many decent actors in the business, Danny Glover has never received an Academy Award, he’s won a few Emmys and even an MTV Movie Award but he’s been ignored by the majority of the award shows not to mention the public. Ask anybody about Danny Glover and they’ll instantly mention “Lethal Weapon”, but this man has played so much more than a likeable retiring cop. If you’ve never seen him in anything deep and meaningful then you need to ignore all the Saw’s and Predator 2’s, and you need to seek out something like the 1987 TV Movie “Mandela” in which he convincingly plays Nelson Mandela despite not looking anything like him (but then again neither did Idris Elba).
Danny Glover has played so many diverse roles and his performances have always been memorable, believable, and heartfelt, and that for me makes him one of the all-time great actors. You just know that when it’s too late all these people who neglect to mention him today will be singing his praises in retrospect.
Be Kind Rewind.