But Keanu Reeves is definitely not the best. And I could go on and on about that, but hey, it isn't like it’s a secret. I want to talk instead about the one thing Keanu does right.
He can pull off the ordinary guy in a suit who also happens to be a demon or angel or whatever thing very well. The commercials for Constantine are on right now, a movie I have no desire to see, but I was struck by how, well, photogenic Keanu is, in that suit-surrounded-by-the-fires-of-hell kind of way.
Spider-Man, with Tobey Maguire, succeeded precisely because of this (and McGuire is a far better actor than Reeves)—everyday guy who is also a superhero. Who'd have thunk?
It's also the reason that I don't buy the premise of Shall We Dance?. The movie looks cute, but the whole point of the movie is that a drab businessman decides to liven up his life by learning to tango. Cute idea, and I've heard the original Japanese version is excellent. But the American studio chose Richard Gere.
Richard Gere, who I consider a bit slimy, is nevertheless a sex symbol (Michael Douglas is another "sex symbol" who makes my flesh crawl and not in a nice way). I liked Gere in King David, but that's about it. Still, as I was saying, He's a sex symbol. Why on earth would the studio use a sex symbol to tell the story about a non-sexy guy trying to find excitement? Gere doesn't look like a drab businessman. He looks like Richard Gere.
Yet Keanu Reeves, who is also a sex symbol, does have the ability to look, well, like a drab businessman. Greg from Dharma & Greg is an excellent example of someone with similar looks who managed to be handsome and yet ordinary at the same time. (Thomas Gibson is, yet again, a better actor than Keanu.)
And although I've never seen the Matrix movies, Keanu does look really good in black. In a way I prefer him to Ethan Hawke who, despite being a better actor, seems to border on pretentiousness, but maybe it is just the movies Hawke has chosen. This is all to say that I respect an actor like Keanu who is good at one thing—looking good in black business suits—and sticks to it, without much apology either. I mean, why should he? If people will pay the big bucks . . .