Celebrating Don Cheadle – Top 5 Performances

Today – 29 November 2014 – marks the 50th birthday of actor Don Cheadle and in celebration I decided to take a look at arguably 5 of his best performances.

Paul Rusesabagina – Hotel Rwanda

I was fortunate enough to visit the beautiful country of Rwanda earlier this month and was mesmerised by the way this country has reinvented itself following the genocide 20 years ago. I was also able to visit the Hotel Milles Collinne – which is the now famous Hotel Rwanda.

This film and Cheadle’s performance in it, cemented his role in Hollywood as a serious actor who can shine in dramatic roles. Cheadle earned an Academy Award nomination for his role as Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

Basher Tarr – Ocean’s Trilogy

Cheadle showed his comedic prowess by playing a foul-mouthed British thief in the star-studded Ocean’s trilogy. Acting alongside Hollywood heavyweights such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, he held his own and is one of the more memorable characters.

His accent is a little over the top, but it made his character even more hilarious, which is always a win.


Det. Graham Waters – Crash

I know loads of people who claim that Crash is one of the most overrated films in history. I admit I don’t think it’s the most amazing piece of cinema ever, but I did enjoy the intertwining stories and in particular, Don Cheadle’s role as Det. Graham Waters.

He writes off his delinquent brother and neglects his ailing mother. His acting chops really shines in the final scene in the hospital with his mother who blames him for their family troubles. It’s also one of my favourite scenes in the movie.

Marty Kaan – House of Lies

Cheadle does comedy and drama extremely well but his most hybrid role to date is that of Marty Kaan, a self-loathing cutthroat management consultant.

Whenever he deadpans into the camera and gives us that arrogant Marty wisdom, you cannot help but be entralled in what he has to say, because Cheadle knows how to engage the audience and make them want more.

Alan Johnson – Reign Over Me

Adam Sandler is brilliant in this drama. This is not something people say given that he doesn’t do dramas often, but nevertheless he owns it. However let’s not forget that Cheadle’s performance is noteworthy as well.

As Alan Johnson, a man smothered by his perfect normal life, Cheadle shows his acting range by being a normal husband, father and dentist who reconnects with his old friend going through a tough time. He realizes that they actually need each other and complements Sandler’s performance perfectly.

About the Author: Dean is a writer and filmmaker, who appreciates great performance even in an average movie. You can follow him on twitter: @deeno15. 

Dean Ravell

Writer/director. Fascinated with all kinds of film and just wants to be part of the wonderful world of cinema.