Throughout Helen Mirren’s career, she has starred in some of the best action, thriller and period dramas of all-time. With the release of The Good Liar, out now on Digital Download and Blu-ray and DVD on 16th March!, we take a look at some of the finest ‘badass’ roles that the legendary HM (Her majesty?) has given us over the last 40 years. Are you ready?
The Good Liar (2019)
Consummate conman Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren), worth millions. And Roy means to take it all.
From their very first meeting, Roy begins plying Betty with his tried and true manipulations, and Betty, who seems quite taken with him, is soon going along for the ride. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes—revealing more insidious deceptions that will take them both through a minefield of danger, intrigue and betrayal….
Playing Olga, Mirren teams up with Luc Besson for this action-thriller that revolves around Anna (Sasha Luss), a striking beauty who has been a domestic abuse victim and will do anything to get away from the life she’s trapped in.
Then, she’s secretly picked up by the KGB and trained to work as an assassin for 5 years under Mirren’s Olga, who brings her unique experience and talent with a promise she’ll be free after giving her service…
Eye In The Sky (2015)
Playing British Colonel Katherine Powell, Mirren’s character is in charge of a state-of-the-art multinational operation to eliminate Al-Shabaab terrorists in Nairobi, Kenya. She’s a powerful, important part of the story but has to make the big decisions with a tough dilemma, after an an innocent girl enters the kill zone. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it – read my review!
Woman In Gold (2015)
Powerful work of a different kind here Mirren plays Maria Altmann, an elderly Jewish woman who, sixty years after fleeing Vienna, attempts to reclaim family possessions that were seized by the Nazis. Alongside Ryan Reynold‘s young lawyer Randy Schoeberg, they try to reclaim the family-owned “Lady in Gold” , also considered a national treasure by Austria. Mirren brings star power and carries the film throughout.
Mirren plays Victoria, a former CIA agent and black op, recalled to create a team, led by Bruce Willis’ Frank Moses. He gets them together after his life is under threat from an assassin and the only people to save him? Those who knows and trusts! It’s silly fun and, best of all, won Mirren an EDA Female Focus Award as an ‘Actress Defying Age and Ageism’, which she seems to do forever!
Red 2 (2013)
Why mess with a silly, but entertaining setup? Yes, it may be a slight repeat of what came before but this time retired CIA Agents reunite for Frank’s gang after an old friend, played by John Malkovich, who needs them to track down a nuclear weapon that was smuggled into Russia. Obviously. Whatever you think of these films, it’s clear the team are having a blast making it and… you get to see her with a machine gun across the saga!
The Queen (2006)
It doesn’t come much bigger than portraying our very own Queen Elizabeth II, but Helen Mirren took on Peter Morgan‘s script and gave an exceptional, strong performance that focused on event following the death of Princess Diana in 1997. As well as Michael Sheen, giving an uncanny performance as Tony Blair, Mirren once again proved her worth with an iconic turn as one of the most famous monarch’s on the Globe and, very importantly, earned her the Oscar for Leading Actress. Quite right to.
In Excalibur, she takes on the role of Morgan le Fay, a powerful enchantress in John Boorman‘s retelling of the legend of King Arthur, in the epic-historical-fantasy that he co-wrote, produced and directed. Based on the 15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory. While there are still mixed feelings on the film overall, there’s no doubt of its visual impact and as well as another early role for Helen, it also stars the likes of Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, and Gabriel Byrne!
The Long Good Friday (1980)
Now here’s a special film, set in the late 1970s, where Bob Hoskins‘ Cockney crime boss, Harold Shand, is a gangster trying to become a legitimate property mogul by deals of nefarious means. He stars alongside Mirren’s Victoria, who brings not only sophistication to his life but also a sense of focus, especially just when he needs it, she’s outstanding and it remains one of the finest British crime thrillers of all-time.
Caligula is a 1979 erotic historical -drama film focusing on the rise and fall of the eponymous Roman Emperor Caligula with our leading lady in the role of Caesonia, and one she refers to these days as one she really enjoyed, for all the reasons you can read about here! It also stars Malcolm McDowell in the title role, alongside Teresa Ann Savoy, Peter O’Toole, John Steiner and John Gielgud. The film itself is still banned in some countries, due to its violence and sexual content, how’s that for a film that’s over 40 years old!