Christian Bale has been the master of disguise throughout his long tenure in the film industry. The actor is known in Hollywood as a contortionist for the way that he physically transforms for a role, as much as mentally. He takes method acting to a whole new level in the ways that he transforms for a role. Bale doesn’t shy away from taking roles that are difficult to fully encapsulate. Many of the roles he’s taken on have been challenges to other actors, so much so that they wouldn’t even attempt to take on the roles. Bale hasn’t stepped away from a challenge to date, even at the cost of his career aspirations. He puts his heart into a role, even at the expense of his body and career.
10. “The Big Short”
Although this isn’t a drastic physical change for Bale, this is a significant character change from previous roles. Bale plays a quirky and sporadic stock analyst that predicts the stock market crash of 2005. This performance is altogether very realistic, something that makes the performance more impressive. However, this role isn’t one that sticks out as particularly interesting when compared with other roles that Bale has taken part in.
9. “Ford V. Ferrari”
What makes the role Bale plays in this movie so impressive is the massive weight loss that he underwent to play the role of Ken Burns. Going from playing Dick Cheney to Ken Burns in the course of a year is daunting to anyone, but not Christian Bale. He perfectly went from one body type to another extreme in the course of a year of production. The most impressive aspect isn’t so much the acting in this role but the way he encapsulates the character of Burns perfectly.
8. “Thor: Love and Thunder”
Bale can be credited as having one of the scariest villain performances in a Marvel movie in recent history. Whether you believe Gorr the Godslayer is a good villain compared to other villains that have been in recent Marvel movies, one thing that is undeniable is that Bale perfectly encapsulates all the horror that you would expect from a supervillain, or perhaps more so. This is arguably one of his most shocking performances, as it is a role that you wouldn’t expect of him.
7. “The Fighter”
Dickie Ecklund is a character like no other. Wildly troubled and unreasonable in the best parts of this film, Ecklund is one of the hardest characters to take on. Bale perfectly takes on this challenging role and flourishes while doing so. The most impressive thing about this role is how accurately he displays Dickie’s character, which is evident in his delving into the stories that have built Dickie’s public perception.
6. “American Hustle”
Another astonishing physical transformation from Bale is his role as Irving Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld is a con man, whose help is enlisted by an FBI agent. Something that is notable is how well he dives into the true nature of the characters he plays. This is perfectly reflected in the way the audience relates to the character and their struggles, even though Bale plays such a vile character on screen. This role is a testament to how talented Bale is at really diving into a character as a whole.
5. “The Prestige”
Starring alongside Hugh Jackman in this head-scratcher directed by Christopher Nolan, Bale is wittingly brilliant in this movie. The movie is about two struggling illusionists and the way that both are able to make their way in the business. The competition that ensues in this movie is perfectly framed by two all-around amazing performances. One can assert that the competition lies between Jackman and Bale as they are in competition for the best performance.
Every person that lived through the past 20 years knows how influential former Vice President Dick Cheney was. In large part, Cheney was thought of as a war profiteer and monger. This is an especially challenging role to tackle based on that fact alone, but Bale supersedes expectations and goes far beyond that, delving deep into the controversial character from a very controversial time in American history. This is not to mention the insane physical change that Bale underwent to be able to take on the role.
3. “The Machinist”
Yet another unbelievable physical change from Bale, this role is far more drastic than any other piece of work that Bale put together in his long career. The startling transformation that Bale underwent from Patrick Bateman to Trevor Reznik is one for the ages. This movie details Bale’s dedication to the craft as a whole. Every role has meaning and it shows by how far he’s willing to go to tell a story.
2. The “Dark Knight” series
Playing Batman in the “Dark Knight'' series is one of Bale’s most iconic roles to date, one that he himself states he will be remembered for. The notable appearance of a chauvinistic rich kid, who is subsequently a crime fighter and vigilante by night seems the most fitting for this actor’s display of the famous comic book character. The playboy with a dark side was not a new method for playing a role which is evident by his performance as Patrick Bateman, but this playboy, Bruce Wayne, has a purpose and he shines throughout the series, thanks to the talents of Bale.
1. “American Psycho”
Not surprisingly, Patrick Bateman is at the top of this list. Bateman encapsulates not only the career sacrifice he has made to get to where he is, but also how far he is willing to go to perform a role, even if it means career suicide. That being said, this is the role Bale is known for among any other role in his long discography and for good reason. The twists and turns are in large part due to Bale’s vicariousness and thoughtfulness when preparing for this role. Bale plays this role like no other and it’s evident in how he devotes himself solely to Bateman.