Robert Pattinson, like his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart, has unfortunately developed a negative reputation based solely on one series of movies. No matter how many critically acclaimed movies he stars in, he will always be associated with a mediocre series of young adult vampire flicks. Thankfully, this is mostly just the opinion of the general public. More observant moviegoers have witnessed him evolve as an actor.
Even so, there are plenty of people who understand Pattinson’s appeal without actually knowing what makes him such a hot commodity. That’s why this list was written. Below, you’ll find Pattinson’s ten best movies.
It should be noted that this list ranks the quality of the films rather than the performances. In other words, a movie is eligible if Pattinson at least appears in a support role. While his performance will be noted, it is not the deciding factor for the placement of each film.
10. The Devil All the Time (2020)
The Devil All the Time is so relentlessly bleak that it almost feels wrong to recommend it. It’s like asking someone to be miserable for two-and-a-half hours. There’s no humor, no likable characters; it’s just melancholic drama from beginning to end. Because of this, our recommendation comes with a giant asterisk. Basically, you’ll find something worthwhile only if you’re able to embrace the film’s downcast tone.
The film is a sprawling crime drama about a young man named Arvin Russell. We watch as Russell grows from a small child to a young adult. We see him grow and change as one life-altering event piles onto another. It’s harrowing, nightmare-inducing stuff, but it’s also positively captivating.
Generally speaking, the most extraordinary moments come as a result of the cast. Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough, and of course, Robert Pattinson make the grimmest scenes worth watching. It’s not like the cast is the only redeeming quality, but when it comes down to it, these actors absolutely deserve recognition. They play off each other in daring, often explosive, ways, resulting in a flawed movie that’s nevertheless worth watching.
9. Tenet (2020)
Tenet is one of the weaker films in Christopher Nolan’s ambitious filmography. It’s filled with convoluted ideas, and although some of them work, a lot of them sour an otherwise well-executed heist thriller. If this sounds overly negative, that’s just because of the quality of Nolan’s work. A weak Nolan movie is still a solid piece of entertainment, and Tenet proves that.
“Solid piece of entertainment” is the best way to describe Tenet. It’s far more focused on blockbuster thrills than heady ideas. It has things that make it more intellectually stimulating, but it’s at its best when it’s a big loud action flick. There are thrilling, often awe-inspiring, scenes scattered throughout Nolan’s latest blockbuster. For the most part, these make the overstuffed narrative worth watching.
The cast also does some of the heavy lifting. Pattinson, Debicki, and Washington understand the high stakes and roll with it. At the end of the day, they understand the importance of creating something entertaining. Tenet is consistently entertaining, even if the ideas don’t always click.
8. The Rover (2014)
David Michôd’s dystopian neo-western focuses on a soft-spoken loner who attempts to get revenge on the lawless criminals who stole his car. Throughout the 104-minute runtime, viewers are presented with a methodically paced revenge story that only stumbles when it loses focus. When this happens, viewers are liable to see the cracks in the foundation. These missteps are, thankfully, easy to forgive when you focus on the big picture.
The Rover is a grim, often brutal slice of science fiction heaven that’s bolstered by a stellar pair of lead performers. The slow pacing, which is par for the course with these types of sci-fi movies, feels like an obstacle to overcome. However, the various pieces come together in a satisfying way, resulting in a movie well worth your time.
7. Maps to the Stars (2014)
Cronenberg’s second collaboration with Robert Pattinson is just as unwieldy as his first. It’s crammed with obtuse plot points and conflicting tones, but in spite of this, it manages to put a hypnotic spell on viewers.
Maps to the Stars is a satirical look at the chaos that is Hollywood. It revolves around a family of insufferable upper-class know-it-alls who become entangled in some type of psychological warfare. Once the pace picks up, the numerous characters must make gargantuan decisions in order to come out on top, and in some cases, come out alive.
While the film suffers from several frustrating issues, it nevertheless succeeds because most of the ideas work. To be fair, there are a few too many ideas, but the fact of the matter is that there’s more good than bad. Bruce Wagner’s script is as sharp as ever, and Cronenberg has fun with the material. Even when the film falters, it manages to regain its footing rather quickly.
Since this is a list about Robert Pattinson films, it should be stated that Pattinson only plays a supporting role. While he doesn’t stick around for the entirety of the runtime, his appearance is nevertheless deserving of praise. There’s a whole lot of subtly going on with Pattinson’s character because he’s not as outwardly villainous as some of the other characters. This adds some nuance to a movie that often chooses to be very upfront with its intentions.
Maps to the Stars lacks the approachability of some of the other films on the list. It’s a little too chaotic to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. That being said, there’s plenty of value here. You might just need a little patience.
6. The Childhood of a Leader (2015)
Brady Corbet, star of Funny Games and Simon Killer, brought out the big guns with his directorial debut. The Childhood of a Leader is a haunting historical drama that aims for the stars and often succeeds. The film, which chronicles the life of a post-WWI facist leader, intricately dives into characters’ psyches, giving us a motion picture with unparalleled depth.
Corbet’s film does an excellent job of exploring the brainwashing techniques that pushed people into facism. Obviously society has advanced since the early twentieth century, but there are universal themes present throughout The Childhood of a Leader. The modern-day relevance pairs well with a multifaceted script, giving us a movie that stands tall amongst Pattison’s greatest hits.