5 Outstanding Movies With Unapologetically Evil Protagonists

5 Outstanding Movies With Unapologetically Evil Protagonists
Image credit: Legion-Media, Open Road Films

We are all familiar with heroes who eventually turn into villains, but the main characters who are absolutely evil from the start are another matter entirely.

Creating an interesting and compelling movie villain is a difficult task in itself, but making the audience root for the bad guy can be even harder.

That's why movies often focus on showing us how the villain fell into darkness in the first place, usually starting out with good intentions that pave the way straight to hell, making the character's downfall a huge dramatic moment.

But what about a completely different situation, where the protagonist of the movie is absolutely evil from the beginning and still manages to keep the audience glued to their seats?

Well, let's take a look at five such movies with unapologetically evil, yet incredibly fascinating leads.

1. American Psycho (2000)

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While this iconic movie starring Christian Bale as the titular maniac Patrick Bateman didn't receive much praise upon its release, American Psycho eventually became an absolute cult classic that has somehow gained even more recognition in recent years.

Throughout the story, Patrick commits all sorts of horrific crimes without a shadow of remorse, but Bale's charisma completely makes up for it as he steals every second of screen time.

One could argue that the ambiguous ending, which implies that all of the murders were actually part of Patrick's imagination, absolves the character of his crimes, but the fact that he is more shocked that they may not be real than he is remorseful suggests otherwise.

2. The House That Jack Built (2018)

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Another psychopath on our list, Jack, portrayed by Matt Dillon, actually went through with his murderous intentions, with this psychological horror from Lars von Trier revolving around some of the most horrific of his crimes.

While he may not be as compelling as Patrick Bateman, the actor's outstanding performance still manages to create a sense of morbid curiosity in the viewer, and Jack's sophisticated nature only makes him more intriguing.

3. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

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Based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess, this masterpiece directed by the one and only Stanley Kubrick has definitely earned its legendary status and features one of the oldest and best examples of an evil protagonist.

Though Alex, played by Malcolm McDowell, tries (albeit involuntarily) to leave his life of murder and debauchery behind throughout the film's story, it ultimately proves futile, as evil is not so easily eradicated.

4. Scarface (1983)

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Thanks to the raw charisma of Al Pacino, who portrays Tony Montana, the titular Scarface, you may not fully realize that you are actually rooting for the wrong guy to succeed.

Unlike some other movie criminals who at least try to redeem themselves, Tony never shows remorse for his actions and is intent on building and expanding his criminal empire, which, as expected, doesn't end well for everyone.

5. Nightcrawler (2014)

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Nearly a decade later, Louis Bloom, the protagonist of Dan Gilroy's psychological thriller, remains one of the most stunning performances of Jake Gyllenhaal 's entire career.

The vile freelance photojournalist, who will stop at nothing to get what he needs, is almost uncomfortable to watch as he tries to mimic the emotions of ordinary people, hiding his true nature, completely devoid of any compassion or remorse.