When you think of Hollywood luminaries, one of the first names to come to mind is Jared Leto. Leto is an award-winning actor, musician, and director with a celebrated career that spans five decades, over two genres, and has seen him in popular and critically adored blockbuster films. He has also been featured in a number of cult classics, and has some of the most talked-about performances of this generation. Here is a look at some of the best Jared Leto movies to add to your must-watch list.
Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk and directed by David Fincher, Fight Club starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, with Jared Leto in a key supporting role. As the mysterious Tyler Durden, Leto’s performance as the charismatic leader of a group of strength-seeking anarchists is nothing short of electrifying. The film encapsulates everything that makes Leto’s screen presence so compelling, and his performance as the revolutionary “Tyler” is arguably one of the finest supporting roles of his entire career.
Requiem for a Dream
Considered one of the finest films of the 21st century, Requiem for a Dream is also one of the boldest psychological thrillers ever made. Starring an ensemble cast, Jared Leto portrays Harry Goldfarb, a drug addict searching for purpose and control in his chaotic New York City life. Alongside his mother, played by Ellen Burstyn, Leto’s electric performance is equal parts intense and sympathetic—a shining example of his craftsmanship.
Dallas Buyers Club
Gaining universal acclaim and dozens of awards, Jared Leto starred in Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon, a transgender woman and AIDS patient who befriends a rugged Texan, played by Matthew McConaughey. As a doomed and desperate character, Rays story is made even more poignant by Letos portrayal of a person still determined to find love and connection before it’s too late. Leto won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance, and the movie itself is an excellent example of Leto’s range as an actor.
In the supervillain ensemble movie Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer, Jared Leto plays the classic DC villain The Joker. Leto gives an extraordinary performance, walking the line between ultra-offensive and wickedly funny, while also capturing many of the character’s complex psychological nuances. His performance as the psychotic trickster has been widely criticised but its undeniable that Leto makes his mark on the iconic character and injects a bizarre energy to the movie.
Blade Runner 2049
In Blade Runner 2049, Leto stars as the nefarious and enigmatic antagonist, Niander Wallace. As the blind, robotic-armed leader of the Tyrell Corporation, Leto’s performance is as fearlessly inventive as it is unnerving. Leto is chilling in the role, and brings a frightening edge to the movie that serves as the perfect counterpoint to Ryan Gosling’s quiet heroics as the film’s protagonist, Blade Runner K.
Mary Harron’s groundbreaking cult classic American Psycho stars Jared Leto as the complex, deranged, mysterious Paul Allen. Leto is captivating as the object of Patrick Bateman’s (Christian Bale) obsession, and he manages to maintain an air of sly menace despite the movie’s glorious black comedy. His performance perfectly captures the film’s complex duality, and he gives an excellent portrayal of the lonely, paranoid, and rabidly ambitious nature of his character.
Lord of War
In Andrew Niccol’s Lord of War, Leto plays Jack Valentine, Yuri Orlov’s (Nicholas Cage) street-smart best friend and partner in crime. As Yuri’s conscience, Jack is critical in grounding the movie in reality and driving its thought-provoking plot. Leto brings a distinct dynamism to the role, and his performance is powerful and complex enough to build the invitingly less-than-saintly character with the same finesse he brings to his other brilliant works.
My So-Called Life
Before Jared Leto was a movie star, he starred in the classic Nineties TV show, My So-Called Life. Leto plays Jordan Catalano, an angst-ridden rebel for a generation. Leto recreates the archetypal bad boy with a sensitivity and sense of complexity that quickly made him a teen icon. It’s a formative role for a young Leto and an essential watch for any Leto fan.
Directed by David Fincher, Panic Room stars Jodie Foster as a housewife and single mother struggling to protect her daughter from three intruders. Leto co-stars as the charmingly smarmy JR, a member of the criminal gang. Leto is magnetic as ever and offers a cunning, manipulative edge to the film. In Panic Room we see Leto at his vampiric, nonchalant best, and the movie’s thrilling pace, finely crafted tension, and heartwarming central story become unforgettable due to Leto’s presence.
Director Oliver Stone’s polarising epic, Alexander features an all-encompassing performance from Colin Farrell as the Macedonian conqueror, with Jared Leto in an important supporting role as Hephaiston, Alexander’s loyal friend and longtime companion. Leto is riveting as the ambitious and fiercely loyal confidant, and his quiet passion presents a sympathetic mask to the movie’s grandiose spectacle.
Jared Leto’s career in film and television spans five decades, but his performance across both large and small projects has been consistently captivating and compelling. Whether he is playing an angelic rockstar, a hopeless romantic, an unhinged prankster, or a blind robotic-armed businessman, Leto’s performances leave an enduring and indelible cinematic impression. We’ve just looked at a few of the best Jared Leto movies that everyone should be sure to watch, so why not take the time to check out these powerful and memorable performances.