10 Underrated Oscar Isaac Movies That Deserve More Credit
If you haven't watched these, well, you're missing out on Oscar Isaac at his finest.
1. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Oscar Isaac becomes Llewyn Davis, a struggling folk singer in the frosty winter of 1961 New York City. A cascade of misfortunes befalls him as he bounces from couch to couch, with his guitar in one hand and his fate in the other. Llewyn's melancholic tunes echo his life – complicated and poignant.
A lost cat, a road trip with a verbose John Goodman, and failed auditions – it's the melody of Llewyn's disheveled life.
2. A Most Violent Year (2014)
Meet Abel Morales (Isaac), an ambitious immigrant fighting tooth and nail to expand his heating oil business amidst the crime-ridden New York City of 1981.
Morales battles rampant theft, corruption, and a merciless winter, his moral compass in hand. Every stolen truck and corrupt deal tests Morales's limits, dragging him into a world where idealism clashes with brutal reality. His wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain), plays the merciless queen to his conflicted king, fueling the flames of their empire's turbulent ascent.
3. Ex Machina (2015)
Isaac morphs into Nathan, a reclusive tech genius who invites young programmer Caleb to his isolated mansion to test Ava, an enigmatic AI with the face of an angel. Ava isn't your run-of-the-mill AI – she's complex, intuitive, and uncannily human. As Caleb evaluates Ava's human-like qualities, the lines between machine and man blur, spiraling into a tense psychological showdown.
4. The Two Faces of January (2014)
Rydal (Isaac), an American tour guide in Greece, becomes entwined with a charming yet mysterious couple. When a night of sinister events unfolds, Rydal helps them flee Athens, but not without consequences. An alliance forged in deceit and necessity weaves a web of distrust as Rydal and the couple, portrayed by Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst, grapple with their secrets amidst the picturesque landscapes of Greece.
5. In Secret (2013)
In this dark tale, Isaac plays Laurent, a painter in 1860s Paris. He's involved in a torrid affair with Thérèse (Elizabeth Olsen), a sexually repressed woman trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille. Their lustful escapades breathe life into Thérèse's stifled existence.
However, their passion spirals into a cataclysm of deceit and treachery when they conspire to murder Camille, setting off a chain of events marred by guilt, suspicion, and retribution.
6. Mojave (2015)
In this thriller, Oscar Isaac takes on the role of a malevolent drifter, Jack. He encounters Thomas, a suicidal artist, in the desert (hence, the title). Thomas is plagued by personal demons, and after a confrontational meeting with Jack, he returns to his normal life. But Jack isn't finished; he stalks Thomas to Los Angeles, instigating a dangerous game of cat and mouse.
7. Operation Finale (2018)
Isaac is Peter Malkin, a Mossad agent, tasked with an almost impossible mission: to catch Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi organizer of the Holocaust, and bring him to Israel for trial. Set in 1960, the film shows Malkin and his team as they track Eichmann in Buenos Aires.
The capture is just the beginning, as Malkin must engage with Eichmann in a psychological duel, attempting to persuade him to sign an extradition agreement.
8. Suburbicon (2017)
The quiet family town of Suburbicon is the backdrop where Isaac plays Bud Cooper, an insurance claims investigator. The main plot revolves around Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), a father who gets entangled in the town's dark underbelly following a home invasion that results in his wife's death. Cooper is suspicious and begins poking holes in Gardner's story.
9. The Promise (2016)
Oscar Isaac stars as Mikael, an Armenian medical student, during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. Amidst the chaos of war, Mikael falls in love with Ana, an artist already involved with an American journalist, Chris (Christian Bale). As the Ottoman Empire crumbles, Mikael, Ana, and Chris are caught in a dangerous love triangle while they try to survive the devastation and brutality of war, including the Armenian Genocide.
10. At Eternity's Gate (2018)
In this biographical drama, Isaac plays the role of Paul Gauguin, a post-Impressionist artist and close friend to Vincent van Gogh.
The film closely follows van Gogh, portrayed by Willem Dafoe, during the time he lives in Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise, France. Gauguin's tumultuous relationship with van Gogh serves as a crucial plot element, illustrating the intense and often volatile connection between the two artists.