In recent years, Rami Malek has emerged as one of Hollywood's uniquely versatile talents, with a wide range of credits including Bohemian Rhapsody, Short Term 12, and the Night at the Museum trilogy. The furtive, wide-eyed actor has starred in a mix of contemporary independent films as well as big-budget films, working alongside some of Hollywood's most famous actors, including Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Casey Affleck.
While many of his fans took notice of Malek in the television series Mr. Robot, where he played elite hacker Elliot Alderson, they had probably already seen him in several films and never noticed. He's been the recipient of several awards, including the Screen Actors Guild Award, The British Academy Film Award, and the Academy Award for Best Actor. The son of two Egyptian immigrants, he's been happy pursuing his theatrical dreams as well as giving a voice to immigrants in the process. Here are his 10 best films, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (42)
Night at the Museum was the first of three films in a trilogy starring Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, a night watchman at the American Museum of Natural History. Unbeknownst to him when he assumed the position, the exhibits in the museum come to life at night because of the curse of an ancient Egyptian artifact.
Rami Malek, who is of Egyptian descent himself, portrayed Ahkmenrah, the pharaoh whose tablet has cursed the museum since 1952. Having spent years at an exhibit in Cambridge, he is resurrected speaking perfect English, and he vows to aid Larry in making sure the exhibits don't escape into New York City. If they're caught in the streets when the sun rises, they'll turn to dust.
9 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN (45)
In the sequel to the popular Night at the Museum, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) has left his position as a night watchman at the American Museum of Natural History. Now selling infomercial products, he thinks he's left his nights of guarding possessed exhibits behind.
One day he receives a frantic call from one of the exhibits, who's since been shipped to the Smithsonian, and is soon heading to Washington D.C. to protect his friends from four of histories greatest villains. Rami Malek returns as Ahkmenrah, the amiable pharaoh.
8 DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS (47)
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is a horror film directed by Spike Lee and features wealthy anthropologist Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams) turning into a vampire when he's stabbed in the back with a cursed African dagger. He begins a life of sophisticated debauchery with his loyal manservant (Rami Malek) at his side.
When a colleague's ex-wife comes to search for her missing husband at Green's house, they begin a tawdry love affair. He turns her into a creature of the night, though eventually he himself becomes disillusioned with its trappings, leaving her to continue her existence while he makes his plans for eternal rest.
7 THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (49)
In the convoluted and sanguinary Breaking Dawn Part 2, the final film in the Twilight Saga series, Bella and Edward have finally welcomed their daughter into the world. It was necessary for Bella to become a vampire in order to survive the childbirth, something which causes more problems than it appears to solve.
When Irina goes to the Volturi to condemn the illegal practice of creating an immortal child (which she erroneously thinks Bella's baby is), she brings down the ancient Guard on the Cullens. They must recruit supporters to their innocence, including Benjamin (Rami Malek), who has power over the elements and is a member of an Egyptian coven.
6 PAPILLON (52)
A remake of 1973's original starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, Papillon (2017) is once again the story of Henri "Papillon" Charriere (this time played by Charlie Hunnam), an expert safecracker serving time in for murder on the penal colony of Devil's Island.
Charriere has been framed and intends to escape with the help of Louis Dega (Rami Malek), a counterfeiter who finances their journey in exchange for protection. The film is an adventurous romp with plenty of charisma from the two leads and proves a worthy homage to the original.
5 BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (61)
Bohemian Rhapsody has become Rami Malek's most popular and well-known movie to date because of his star turn as Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury. Malek worked tirelessly to embody Mercury's larger-than-life personality as well as his amazing vocal abilities.
The bio-doc focused on Mercury's early life growing up in London, before joining the famous rock band, going on tour, and transforming the genre. Malek walked a fine line between impersonation and caricature, but it was accurate enough to score him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2019.
4 BUSTER'S MAL HEART (72)
Buster's Mal Heart provided Rami Malek the opportunity to adopt two different personas. For the majority of the film, he's simply known as "Buster," a mountain man who sits out the winter by breaking into different vacation homes and eluding the local sheriff.
During flashbacks and his own admission, we come to find out he was once Jonah, a family man whose job as a night desk hotel concierge drove him to seek deeper answers to the questions of life out in the wilderness. He speaks his "truth" by phoning into a variety of radio talk shows, where listeners tune in to find out what new epiphanies "Buster" has had.
3 AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS (78)
Ain't Them Bodies Saints is a new take on the classic crime drama of Bonnie and Clyde, re-imagined to explore the depths of romance and commitment two outlaws have for one another. When Bob (Casey Affleck) and Ruth (Rooney Mara) participate in a heist, Bob takes the jail time for his lover, and sacrifices knowing his young daughter as she grows up.
Four years later, he breaks out of jail and attempts to track down his family. He hopes to establish a relationship with his daughter (who's now four), but his chance looks slim as he's dogged by bounty hunters the whole way. Malek has a small part as Will, Bob's driver, who tries to reason with the outlaw about his life choices.
2 THE MASTER (85)
Rami Malek joined the powerhouse acting talents of Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master, an intense drama that explores the relationship between a man and a cause larger than himself. Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) is a WWII veteran having a hard time adjusting to peacetime and looks to Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and "The Cause" to give him direction.
Malek doesn't have a large role as Dodd's son-in-law who's drunk the kool-aid of his paternal figure's cult-like religion, but his presence serves as a great foil to Phoenix's mania. The nebulous belief system becomes one man's savior and one man's destroyer.
1 SHORT TERM 12 (98)
A critically claimed independent film, Short Term 12 took a hard look at the trials and tribulations of a young counselor working at a group home specializing in troubled teens. Grace, in the first starring role of Brie Larson's career, finds it difficult to open up emotionally to her coworker/long-term boyfriend while she tackles an unexpected pregnancy and rehabilitating several tough kids.
Rami Malek plays Nate, one of the young teens that Grace takes under her wing. He, in turn, has a strong camaraderie with the rest of the group home, turning his life around by the end of the film to become a fully functioning member of society.