An often overlooked cult character actor, Tom Noonan always brings a dark sense of dread and gloom to his roles, with his soft but intense facial expressions balancing somewhere between calming and terrifying. His large physique makes him a force in every movie, but it's his gaze that often sells each performance. Often intense and soft-spoken, Noonan has somewhat limited dramatic range, but is the perfect actor for a large handful of roles. Here are my 5 favorites.
5. Anomalisa (2015)
One of the more odd performances in the career of a very odd actor, Noonan voiced the roles of every character in the movie apart from the two leads. His bizarrely monotone delivery being integral to his purpose in the film, Noonan provided a lot with his varied but simplistic voicework.
4. The House Of The Devil (2009)
One of the eeriest performances in an already odd ball career, Noonan's lanky appearance and mysterious demeanor creates a lot of tension in the opening half of this slow-burn horror movie. By the end, his role in the film is revealed to be even darker than it seems at first.
3. RoboCop 2 (1990)
Though the first RoboCop is definitely better, this movie gets way too little credit. And Noonan's performance as one of the main villains is one of its stronger aspects. One of the larger roles of his career, Noonan infuses the role with his patented mystery and smoothness, helping him stand out from the villains of the original.
2. Synecdoche, New York (2008)
A performance that's more important to the movie than is plain to see on the surface, Noonan plays Caden's (Philip Seymour Hoffman) stalker, who layer becomes the in-play version of Caden himself. It's a tough sort of role to describe, but Noonan nails it, an omnipresent force with a strangely supernatural nature to him.
1. Manhunter (1986)
Though I often pinpoint Brian Cox's brief scenes as Hannibal as the highlight of this movie, Noonan plays the main villain here and carries a good deal of the creepier side of the movie. But instead of just being a scary villain, the movie gives him an opportunity to develop as a somewhat sympathetic human. It was a tough role to balance, but Noonan does, in what I consider the best performance of his career.