Let’s toast actor Tom Hiddleston for his own Disney+ streaming show “Loki.” It focuses on the wily and witty adventures of his God of Mischief and Norse deity that he has played in no less than six Marvel Comic films, ranging from 2011’s “Thor” with Chris Hemsworth in the title role to 2019’s “Avengers: End Game.” The British actor initially started his career on the stage and is currently Tony-nominated for his lead role in a 2020 revival of Harold Pinter’s play “Betrayal.” In 2016, he was up for two Emmys as lead actor and as a producer of AMC’s limited series “The Night Manager.”
But Hiddleston also has a substantial list of films that don’t involve creating mayhem as Thor’s nemesis and adopted brother. Tour our photo gallery with a list of 10 of the actor’s most notable movie performances, ranked worst to best, including “Midnight in Paris,” “War Horse,” ‘Crimson Peak,” “Only Lovers Left Alive” and more.
10. “I Saw the Light” (2015)
This uneven musical biopic about the legendary country and blues singer-songwriter Hank Williams, whose short life that ended at age 29 was mired with constant physical pain, infidelity and alcohol abuse. However, it doesn’t come close to illuminating his genius. After being tutored by country star Rodney Cowell, Hiddleston makes a stab at bringing such enduring tunes as “Hey Good Lookin,’ “ “Move It on Over,” “Honky Tonky” and “Jambalaya” to life along with playing a guitar. Holly Williams, the granddaughter of Hank Williams Sr. and half-sister of Hank Williams III, offered praise for the actor’s efforts in a Rolling Stone interview at the time, saying, “Tom puts his whole heart and soul into it.” But even with a cast that features Elizabeth Olsen as his long-suffering first wife Audrey, Cherry Jones as his mother Lillie and Bradley Whitford, as song publisher Fred Rose, can’t compensate for writer-director Marc Abraham’s lack of insight into the man.
9. “High-Rise” (2015)
This creepy British dystopian fantasy directed by Ben Wheatley is set in a 40-story luxury tower in the 1970s that has a wealth of modern conveniences while its residents avoid having to deal with the outside world. As a result, the infrastructure starts to fail and as residents grow desperate over the chaos surrounding them. Hiddleston stars as Dr. Robert Laing, who we first see killing a dog and roasting its leg over a fire. Months earlier, the tower was thought to be the epitome of modern living with such services as a gym, pool, grocery store and a primary school. The occupants are divided by their economic means, with the wealthiest living on the top floor while those on a budget live below. Laing ends up moving to the 25th floor after his sister dies while those on the top floors throw decadent costume parties, ignoring the fact that basic services are failing and class warfare is about to break out.
8. “Unrelated” (2007)
Hiddleston made his film debut in British writer-director Joanna Hogg’s drama that digs into upper-middle-class mores. The plot centers on 40-ish Anna (Kathryn Worth), who visits her old school friend when her family rents a villa in Tuscany. She was supposed to bring her boyfriend Alex along but he stayed behind following a nasty fight. The group of vacationers is split between the adults and teens. Anna prefers to hang out with the young crowd, especially with Oakley (Hiddleston), the ringleader of the young crowd and the son of Verena’s cousin. The pair engaged in a flirtation at that builds into a sexual attraction. But the raffish Oakley turns her down when she invites him to spend the night with her. That doesn’t stop Anna from engaging in the adolescent partiers mildly rebellious activities such as smoking grass, skinny-dipping and imbibing in drugs and drinks. But when she breaks her promise to not to tell the adults about an accident involving borrowed car that was driven under the influence, she alienates herself from both groups.
7. “Kong: Skull Island” (2017)
Nothing can beat the original 1933 “King Kong” that starred Fay Wray as the beauty that killed the beast when the giant ape fell to his death from the Empire State Building. But the 21st-century effects in this modern-day story directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts that unfolds in 1973 during the Vietnam War elevates the jungle action sequences that take place between the moody gargantuan primate and various other terrifying primeval creatures. Hiddleston plays James Conrad, an ex-British Special Air Service Captain who is hired to seek out an unusual race of subterranean reptiles he refers to as “Skullcrawlers.” His character is supposed to be the hero, but it is hard not to be upstaged by Samuel L. Jackson, who brings the crazy into the chaos as a frustrated soldier. The film earned an Oscar nomination for its effects.
6. “Only Lovers Left Alive” (2014)
As a sort of rebuff to the tween “Twilight” frenzy, Jim Jarmusch brings fresh hemoglobin to this more mature vampire tale. Unlike pasty pin-up boy Edward Cullen, these creatures of the night played by Hiddleston as Adam and Tilda Swinton as Eve don’t need the sun to sparkle. They are supernovas in and of themselves and way too cool to use the “v-word.” The domestic urban fortress where spend their daylight hours dozing is chock-a-block with rare books, objets d’art, collectible musical instruments and other relics. Adam, a weary soul whose wavy dark hair cascades Veronica Lake-style over one eye, bears the slim-hipped physique of a poet. Swinton’s Eve is his spouse and soulmate who lives across the globe in Tangier, but stays in touch with her Apple iPhone. Adam, Eve, Apple- get it. This pair is too refined to bite a human neck. Instead, they feast on fresh untainted blood supplied by Christopher Marlowe as played by a humorous John Hurt. Eve pays an in-person visit to her love. Their pulpy paradise starts to fall apart when Eve’s brazen and bratty little sister played by Mia Wasikowska enters their midst.
5. “Crimson Peak” (2015)
Director and co-writer Guillermo del Toro dips into the gothic Hammer studio horror playbook for this Victorian-set story reminiscent of “Rebecca,” whose clever production designs somewhat overshadow the actual storyline. American heiress Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowskar) is the daughter of a wealthy businessman. The budding writer meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston), an English baronet who heads to the United States with his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), who are seeking investors for aa clay-mining invention. Edith’s father is unimpressed with their proposal, but his daughter becomes romantically attached to Thomas, much to her dad’s consternation. He ends up dying mysteriously. The pair wed and head to England. They arrive at the rather shabby Allerdale Hall, which is sinking into a pit of red clay. Meanwhile, their marriage remains unconsummated while Lucille insists on serving an odd tea concoction to Edith while Thomas insists his spouse obtain the first half of her late father’s estate to buy a mining machine. While Lucille is enraged when the couple finally engages in sex, Edith decides to look for clues to explain the bizarre goings-on in the seemingly haunted decaying fortress and realizes that there are all sorts of fishy goings-on between the siblings.
4. “The Deep Blue Sea” (2011)
This British romantic drama directed by Terence Davies set in the 1950s that stars Rachel Weisz as Hester Collyer, the wife of a judge who gets involved in an affair with a former RAF pilot Freddie Page played by Hiddleston. He is troubled by memories from his service in World War II while his erotic needs leave her emotionally drained and physically isolated. Most of the action takes place during one day in Hester’s flat, as her plan to commit suicide does not succeed. The movie then switches to flashbacks of her former stable life of luxury before she moved into her now-dingy and depressing surroundings. Weisz won most of the acclaim from critics and was nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe.
3. “Archipelago” (2010)
Hiddleston once more collaborated on an art-house drama that was written and directed by filmmaker Joanna Hogg. The tale focuses on Edward, who has quit his job in order to do volunteer work in Africa to promote safe sex and combat the spread of AIDS. Before he goes, his mother Patricia and sister Cynthia decide to organize a family holiday in a cottage on the Scilly Island of Tresco. For whatever reason, the pair refuses to invite Edward’s girlfriend, much to his consternation. However, his bourgeois mum does arrange for a local artist to teach her to paint landscapes while also enlisting Rose, a professional cook who catches Edward’s eye. Meanwhile, the nasty weather outside further dampens the mood while Hogg provides scenes in single takes filled with awkward silences. Bad feelings and bitter emotions boil over when brother and sister spoil an outing to a restaurant for lunch, while Cynthia keeps changing their table and ends up fussing about the food. By the end, it is clear Edward is unlikely to travel to Africa.
2. “Midnight in Paris” (2011)
This time-traveling Woody Allen romantic comedy stars Owen Wilson as Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter who is struggling to finish his debut novel while visiting the City of Light. Complicating matters is his rather unsupportive fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams). After a night of wine-tasting leaves him drunk, he decides to walk to their hotel alone. At midnight, a 1920s car pulls up beside him and passengers dressed in Roaring ‘20s fashion invite him in. They end up at a party attended by notables from the era, which includes a charming Hiddleston as The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald and Alison Pill as his difficult wife Zelda. The film would earn Oscar nominations for Best Picture, director and art direction and won for Allen’s original screenplay.
1. “War Horse” (2011)
Steven Spielberg’s sentimental World War I tale follows the exploits of Joey, a bay Irish Hunter horse raised by farmboy Albert, a British teenager. The stallion is bought by the army and is eventually ridden by Captain James Nicholls (Hiddleston), who promises to take care of the steed. The captain and Joey end up in Flanders as they lead a charge through a German camp. While the horse survives, Nicholls is killed by machine-gun fire and Joey ends up being captured by Germans. After numerous close calls and various other adventures, both Joey and Albert, who eventually enlists, reunite on the family farm. The war drama earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, art direction, cinematography, original score, sound editing and sound mixing.