Gary Oldman: 10 essential films

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Meantime (1984)

If there’s a single image in Mike Leigh’s Meantime that both encapsulates the claustrophobic intensity of the film’s roiling tensions while also serving as a metaphor for working-class disenfranchisement and futility at the beginning of Thatcher’s second term, it’s that of Gary Oldman’s skinhead Coxy thrashing around inside a metal container in the street. For all its aimless, bullying rage, this first major supporting role is quintessential, an introduction to the unpredictable, uncontainable energies of both character and performance that would come to define the first two decades of Oldman’s career.

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