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Celebrating the roles of Anton Yelchin

Celebrating the roles of Anton Yelchin


Earlier this week, we heard the tragic news that actor Anton Yelchin had passed away. One of the most consistent performers of his generation, Yelchin’s varied filmography is a testament to his ability and willingness to challenge himself. To celebrate his work, here is a selection of his best roles.

‘Taken’ (2003)

Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster miniseries did not really permeate the zeitgeist, but as a half alien child struggling to make his way in the world, Yelchin gave the series a much needed dose of humanity and pathos.

Alpha Dog (2006)

The central character of this true-life drama, Yelchin played a teenage kidnap victim who makes friends with his captors. While the story has a tragic end, Yelchin matches his older co-stars with his multi-layered portrayal of a child experiencing a terrifying and exhilarating entrance into adulthood.

Charlie Bartlett (2008)

Taking on the role of a teenager who decides to become a therapist to the other kids at his high school, Yelchin projects a confidence that helps keep the offbeat conceit credible.

Star Trek (2009)

While it is not his best showcase of his enormous talent, the role of Chekov will be the one that Yelchin will be forever associated with. Unlike his predecessor Walter Koenig, Yelchin shared his character’s Russian nationality.

Like Crazy (2011)

Another strong showcase for Yelchin’s dramatic chops, he plays one half of the central couple in this improvised romantic drama. The fact that he was a good five years younger than love interest Felicity Jones is never evident onscreen.

Fright Night (2011)

As the lead of this horror remake, Yelchin proved once again that he could a) step into the shoes of another iconic role, and b) that he could hold his own with bigger names like Colin Farrell and David Tennant.

Odd Thomas (2013)

Proof that a strong lead performance can elevate even the shonkiest material, as the titular character, Yelchin anchors this ambitious comedy horror picture.

Green Room (2016)

While he had conveyed a maturity beyond his years in his previous roles, his acclaimed performance in this year’s breakout horror thriller marked the first real ‘adult’ role of Yelchin’s career. As the lead of a punk band who get in deep trouble with a group of skinheads, Yelchin is superb.

Honourable mentions

Criminal Minds (2006)

Proof that even on the small screen, Yelchin shone. As a young boy struggling with homicidal fantasies, he gives such an affecting performance that you forget you’re watching an episode of a procedural cop show.

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Managing the difficult task of tackling an established role, Yelchin managed to evoke Michael Biehn,while managing to chart an arc for his character from child to man, amid the patchy scripting of this maligned Terminator sequel.