Mr Brühl became a star in his native Germany with the release of Good Bye, Lenin! before going on to secure international status with a role in Mr Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds as Fredrick Zoller, a young German sniper whose heroic exploits form the basis for a Nazi propaganda film. He was in Toronto with Mses Kate Beckinsale and Cara Delevingne for the premiere of Mr Michael Winterbottom’s new movie, The Face of an Angel. The 36-year-old Mr Brühl plays Thomas, a film-maker who travels to Italy to make a movie about the Amanda Knox murder case and finds himself at loggerheads with the press.

What attracted you to working on this project?

Well, firstly it was such an of-the-moment story – but working with Michael was a big draw, too. He’s such a prolific director, such a chameleon – he’s turned his hand to every genre of film and his body of work couldn’t be more diverse. I felt that I was almost playing his alter-ego in this film… Michael disagrees with this sentiment slightly, but I feel that there are elements of him in the character.

How many times have you been to Tiff?

It’s my third time… Of course, the ironic thing about visiting a film festival as an actor is that you’re so busy promoting that you rarely get time to see any film other than your own. That’s sadly the case here – I’ll be leaving tomorrow to start filming in London with Bradley Cooper. It’s a movie about a man who attempts to make the best restaurant in the world.

Being an actor must involve a lot of dressing up.

Oh, absolutely. I’ve been given so many beautiful clothes in the one that I’m currently filming. It’s all Burberry and Paul Smith – I love British designers. Suits, ties, shirts, shoes… I just want to keep every piece.

Have you ever been able to keep the clothes you’ve worn in a movie?

No, sadly not. I certainly wasn’t able to keep the outfit I wore in Inglourious Basterds – but that’s quite possibly not such a bad thing.

Do you have any cinematic style icons?

As I mentioned, I’m an Anglophile, so I’m inspired by guys such as Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Hiddleston. And of course, it was such a privilege to work with Cara [Delevingne] too; she’s such a huge style icon.

"Zoller’s a war hero. And his affection for Shosanna, even though she doesn’t really return it, is genuine. Everything he’s doing for her, he’s doing with the best intentions. Now, little does he know that he’s fucking her up and starting a whole cataclysmic series of events. But his heart is really in the right place" - Quentin Tarantino

When Walter blasted Skyler as an emasculating shrew, an obstructionist, a “bitch,” he absolutely meant it. When he spat poison at poor, late Hank, he meant it. That on some level he means it in no way contradicts the notion that he felt horrible about Hank’s death, and perhaps equally horrible about mistreating Skyler all this time, and about bringing death and shame on other people he theoretically loves, including Walt Jr., who dropped a dime on him to protect his mother and himself.

But remember what happened a few minutes after Walter’s silent scream/cry over Hank: He had Jesse dragged out of hiding and sent on to imprisonment and torture and probable death, and twisted the knife by telling him something he didn’t know: that he watched Jesse’s beloved girlfriend Jane choke to death on her own vomit.
Walter is a sad, misguided, good man. Walter is a hateful, vindictive monster. Neither statement excludes the other.
These contradictory emotions and readings are all present, all essential, all of a piece. People are more than one thing simultaneously, always. There are lies in truth and truths within lies, in life, and in art.

Breaking Bad gets this. The phone call scene totally gets this. That’s what makes it art.

If you seek to deny or minimize the parts of art that don’t fit your reductive interpretation of Walt as a basically decent man, or a man who moves with a purpose and is somehow “badass,” as opposed to the complex monster the show has actually presented over five seasons, you are in fact, as Nussbaum wrote in her piece on the scene, watching the show wrong. In fact, you’re trying to turn a smart show into a stupid one. And you really should ask yourself why.

Why is it so important to you to believe that Walt doesn’t really hate or resent Skyler or Hank? Why is it so important to believe that equally intense elements of love and hatred, protectiveness and resentment, purposefulness and chaos, cannot exist in the same scene? Why must the scene be made simpler than it is? Why must it be made dumber than it is? Why do you need it to be so?

—   Matt Zoller Seitz on Breaking Bad, and Why Viewers Need to Whitewash Walter White 

I do not believe, as some are already speculating, that when Walter spews all that venom at Skyler while the feds and Marie and Walt, Jr. listen in, that it’s “really” Walt pretending to be Heisenberg — i.e. that it’s all some big fake-out. I think that’s Heisenberg speaking. But I think it’s Heisenberg speaking on Walt’s behalf. I think this might be one of those rare moments on Breaking Bad — the rescue of Jesse at the end of “Full Measures” being another — where Walter wants to do something that Walter is just not capable of doing, something chaotic and frightening but ultimately good, and Heisenberg steps up to make it happen.

I love how this scene is comprised mainly of the sorts of things that Skyler haters have been saying on message boards and in the comments sections of recaps since Breaking Bad debuted in 2008. It’s as if the show is using these same sentiments to rebut them: Walter’s voice is deeper and more monstrous, his tone more venomously cruel, than in any other exchange between him and Skyler. It takes the vicarious pleasure that some viewers take in the sight of milquetoast Walter White becoming The One Who Knocks and curdles it, makes it ugly, poisonous — as if the show is saying, “This is what you wanted, isn’t it? Here you go. Choke on it.”

But the most surprising and impressive thing about “Gravity” isn’t its scale, its suspense, or its sense of wonder; it’s that, in its heart, it is not primarily a film about astronauts, or space, or even a specific catastrophe. At times it plays like a high-tech version of shipwreck or wilderness survival story that happens to take place among the stars, and that would fit nicely on a double-bill alongside “Deliverance,” “127 Hours,” “Cast Away,” “Rescue Dawn” or the upcoming “All Is Lost.” For all its stunning exteriors, it’s really concerned with emotional interiors, and it goes about exploring them with simplicity and directness, letting the actors’s faces and voices carry the burden of meaning. It’s about what happens to the psyche as well as the body in the aftermath of catastrophe. If anyone asks me what “Gravity” is about, I’ll tell them it’s a tense adventure about a space mission gone wrong, but once they’ve seen and absorbed the movie, they’ll know the truth. The root word of “Gravity” is “grave.” That’s an adjective meaning weighty or glum or substantial, but it’s also a noun: the location where we’ll all end up in time. The film is about that moment when you suffered misfortune that seemed unendurable and believed all hope was lost and that you might as well curl up and die, and then you didn’t. Why did you decide to keep going? It’s is a mystery as great as any in physics or astronomy, and one we’ve all grappled with, and transcended.
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