Some actors have an irrepressible quality that they bring to every role, something of themselves that charms, delights, and even seduces us when they appear onscreen. Joaquin Phoenix is not that kind of actor.

The kind of actor that is more chameleon than charismatic, Phoenix is that special actor who has the ability to disappear inside of his roles. This quality makes talking about his onscreen style interesting, because you aren’t looking at how the wardrobe across the body of this films creates some kind of discernible whole. Instead, you are thinking about how each costume he wears helps him create something distinct from what has come before.

You can search for similarities between the drab duds of Phoenix’s World War II era everyman in The Master, the mismatched cool of his Inherent Vice private eye and his country-western bravado portraying the real life icon Johnny Cash in Walk the Line but still come up empty. This is because ultimately, there is nothing distinct about a Phoenix role except for artistic intensity and excellence.

The costumes Joaquin Phoenix has worn are a gateway to understanding a creative process in which the actor gives himself over totally to a new character and to a new world. Analyzing his wardrobe gives you a fresh appreciations for the versatility and dedication of one of film’s greatest living character actors.

Follow Brenden on Twitter here.

Tags: spike-jonez, johnny-cash, walk-the-line, nicolas-cage, joker, movie-style, movies, hollywood, reel-style, joaquin-phoenix