In Memory of Anton Yelchin (1989 – 2016)

The latest news to shock the world of film and television came yesterday, on Sunday 20th June, when it was announced that actor Anton Yelchin had passed away in a car accident. Although only 27 years old, it was obvious that Yelchin was a star in the making. Here, in the first of an Anton Yelchin double feature this evening, I explore two of his greatest cinematic accomplishments.

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Alpha Dog (2006)

This 2006 crime drama is based on the true events of the kidnapping and murder of Nicholas Markowitz in 2000. Yelchin portrays the young captive Markowitz — known in the film as Zack Mazursky –and received much acclaim for his performance as a teenager who makes the most of a horrific situation, seeing him live his life to the fullest in the few days that he is help captive. At the premiere of Alpha Dog, both Jeff and Susan Markowitz – Nicholas Markowitz’s parents – attended. They were moved by Yelchin, who captures the essence of what the 15 year old was feeling in his final week; from terror to a new lease of life. Although Alpha Dog was neither a commercial nor critical success, it really is a perfect representation of the highs and lows of life; particularly a life that resolves around crime and substances, and Yelchin thrives as a vulnerable, happy-go-lucky teenager.

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Odd Thomas (2013)

After his Science Fiction success with Star Trek, Anton Yelchin took centre stage as the titular character of Odd Thomas; a psychic who can see dead people, and helps the police to bring justice for the deceased. That is, until, he discovers a plot that is scattered through his dreams and those of everyone. Odd Thomas, based on the novel by Dean Koontz, made under a million dollars at the box office and was panned by critics alike. However, Anton Yelchin remains a shining light in this shambles of a film. Once again, Yelchin was praised for his performance as the innocent yet hardened Thomas. Unfortunately for Yelchin, his efforts were lost by director Stephen Sommers, making the plot confused and giving an overall dysfunctional tone. Although Odd Thomas didn’t quite live up to the expectations of the novel, Yelchin gave another stellar performance and proved himself as a leading man in another genre, adding to his rapidly increasing filmography.

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Written by Ryan Keen

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