Serious face is serious

I was idly staring at a wall of movie posters at Eau Claire the other day when it struck me that the film industry right now has a pronounced case of serious face going on. This is really nothing new — with a few badass exceptions like the Terminator: Salvation poster studios tend to play it pretty safe with their promotional campaigns. But it does raise the question: Who has the best serious face?

Though initially impressive Denzel Washington’s post-apocalyptic bible thumper is too reliant on props to take the crown. The perfectly horizontal grimace and the ever-so-slightly flexed neck muscles connote a certain intensity but the gravitas are undoubtedly added to by the shoulder-holstered gun and the sunglasses hide the all-important "don’t even think about it" glare.

Seriousness rating: 7/10

It looks like Mel’s gotten rid of the wild-man beard to indulge in a just-barely-stylized take on his Payback character but something in this image just isn’t selling it. I think it’s the eyes — there’s a blend of sadness and apathy behind the desaturated gaze like Gibson just remembered that he used to be one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood and now he’s starring in a less knowing version of Conspiracy Theory to make people forget that time that he was a drunken anti-Semite.

Seriousness rating: 5/10

This might just be my favourite of the bunch. Harrison Ford looks like he’s going to walk straight past the camera and into a waiting taxi to get him as far away from this cheesy inspirational drama as he can get. Brendan Fraser meanwhile is caught awkwardly mid-stride his quizzically raised eyebrow giving the impression that he’s focussing really intently on the least natural way to swing one’s arms while walking — a problem Ford has nicely avoided by maintaining a death grip on his business-casual blazer.

Seriousness rating:

Fraser: 7/10 Ford: 6/10

It doesn’t get more serious than the disembodied head of Leonardo DiCaprio leering suspiciously above a sinister mental asylum. The lack of a corporeal body helps the audience focus on the Giant DiCaprio Head’s most inspired touch — a brow-furrow deep enough to house a colony of fire-ants.

Seriousness rating: 9/10

Jennifer Aniston got confused when the director asked for a serious face and gave a duck face instead. Gerard Butler on the other hand looks absolutely repulsed by his co-star. I’d say he was disgusted with himself for starring in a drecky piece of rom-com contrivance but it can’t really be any worse than Law Abiding Citizen .

Seriousness rating:

Jennifer Aniston: 2/10 Gerard Butler: 8/10