This week, the wild action extravaganza Killer Elite, starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert De Niro, goes wild on theaters all across the country. With all that star power headlining the film it would be easy to overlook the fourth-billed name: Dominic Purcell. Purcell is nowhere near the household name his co-stars are, but he’s definitely an actor you should know…and one you’ll probably easily recognize on screen. Here are a few other places you may have seen him or, if you haven’t, you should definitely seek out.
This was the television series that served as Dominic Purcell’s introduction to most people. In the show, which aired on Fox for four seasons, Purcell played a man on death row for the crime of killing the brother of the Vice President—a crime of which we was innocent. His brother (Wentworth Miller), who actually helped design the prison, intentionally gets himself arrested and locked up with him in a scheme to break his brother out. The show is action-packed and Purcell demonstrates leading man prowess that managed to adeptly sustain an exceptional long-form story.
Set in a dystopian future wherein all emotion is made illegal, Equilibrium is a dark, yet exciting sci-fi flick. Apart from being a biting condemnation of censorship and the potential dangers of a government with too much influence, Equilibrium boasts some of the most jaw-dropping and innovative action sequences I have ever seen. Dominic Purcell inspires both sympathy and a nagging sense of hope with his performance as a freedom fighter active within the resistance against the tyrannical Tetragrammaton Council and its Clerics who enforce the laws of stoicism.
Joel Schumacher didn’t engender a great deal of goodwill with Batman fans with his “unique” interpretation of the caped crusader in Batman and Robin. To be honest, I was among those who had completely written him off as a director after suffering through those eyesores.
But Blood Creek was a kick-to-the-head reminder of the skill set he still possesses. The film is a fantastic, supernatural horror film full of disturbing imagery and great performances—Purcell being among them. He plays a man put through a hellish nightmare, now seeking revenge along with his brother. His performance is powerful and tragic, and neatly balances the wickedly demented turn by Michael Fassbender.
The third installment of the popular vampire slayer trilogy, Blade: Trinity brought a lot of new blood to the franchise. In addition to Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel coming on board as Blade’s new stake crew, Dominic Purcell was cast as the film’s sinister villain Drake. Purcell was intense and vicious, but brought a cool ambitiousness to this modernized version of Dracula. Physically, it was impressive to see him hold his own against Wesley Snipe’s veteran action hero.
Not satisfied having just one major film release this year—or heck, even this month—Dominic Purcell also appeared in the Sony/Screen Gems remake of Straw Dogs, which opened just last week. The film revolves around a young writer who moves with his wife to her hometown in Mississippi. While there, figures from the wife’s past threaten to return to wreak havoc upon their lives. The result is quite nasty. This will not be a film for the faint of heart and Purcell’s character is especially unsettling—a mentally handicapped resident who rustles up trouble when he engages in a relationship with a local teenager. No surprise that he once again gives a performance that solidifies him as actor destined for greatness.