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Why Rakel From The Snowman Looks So Familiar

Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson has long specialized in crafting tense and memorable genre films. His career gained international attention with the 2008 influential indie vampire movie "Let the Right One In," which established him as a director to watch in horror. But Alfredson decided to switch gears entirely with the espionage drama "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

After experimenting with the macabre and spy genres, Alfredson returned in 2017 with the Hitchcokian thriller "The Snowman," based on Jo Nesbø's 2007 book. Although he found the production's rushed schedule ruined the feature, its edge-of-your-seat plot and dynamic performances from Michael Fassbender (Detective Harry Hole), Rebecca Ferguson (Katrine Bratt), and Val Kilmer (Gert Rafto) stood out.

Rounding out the large cast were J.K Simmons (Arve Stop), James D'Arcy (Filip Becker), and Chloe Sevigny (Sylvia Ottersen/Ane Pedersen). Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Det. Hole's ex-girlfriend Rakel, and she likely looks familiar to you thanks to her eclectic acting resume. Here is where you may have seen Gainsbourg before.

Charlotte Gainsbourg played Mary Rivers in Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu's 21 Grams

English-French actor/recording artist Charlotte Gainsbourg has been starring in a wide range of French films since the 1980s. As a performer, her early acting was acclaimed by critics and won numerous awards and nominations in her native France. By the early 2000s, Gainsbourg's work on the big screen gained international recognition with a supporting role in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's drama "21 Grams" in 2003.

In the movie, she played Mary Rivers, the compassionate spouse of a dying math professor played by Sean Penn. Although much of the narrative centered around the intertwined encounters between Paul Rivers (Penn), Cristina Peck (Naomi Watts), and Jack Jordan (Benicio del Toro), Gainsbourg's performance was just as searing as her co-stars. Her role demanded that she grieve for her husband while he is still living while desperately wanting to have a child with him at any cost.

She told Interview Magazine in 2011 that playing Mary gave her nightmares, but her work in searing dramatic features was only beginning.

She starred as Claire in Lars von Trier's Melancholia

Starting with 2009's "Antichrist," Charlotte Gainsbourg would star in two more films for director Lars von Trier in what became his "Depression Trilogy." The last was 2013's "Nymphomaniac," and the middle film was 2011's existential, end-of-the-world drama "Melancholia." The feature is notorious for including one of the most twisted weddings in cinema history, but critics acclaimed its emotional power, and the film won several awards.

Gainsbourg stars as Claire, the sister of the protagonist Justine (Kirsten Dunst), and the focus of the feature's second half after Justine's story in the first segment. Her character's understandable despair as a rogue planet approaches a collision with Earth allows the actor to display a full range of emotions as she grapples with her impending demise.

Speaking to Salon in 2011, the interviewer expressed confusion in explaining the film, which Gainsbourg attributed to von Trier's beguiling aesthetic. She said, "It's difficult to sum it up. I've never had to try! I get that Lars' films are all so personal. Reading the script, I really didn't know where he was going, or what was behind it." The "I'm Not There" star added that the filmmaker's ambiguity towards the material was enough for her to just interpret the story to her liking, just as she did when working with the filmmaker on "Antichrist."

Her next significant English-language role would see the actor tackle the Hollywood blockbuster circuit.

Gainsbourg was Dr. Catherine Marceaux in Independence Day: Resurgence

Although 2016's "Independence Day: Resurgence" is littered with plot holes, the sequel to 1996's blockbuster extraterrestrial-fighting saga "Independence Day" maintained the action of its predecessor. Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman reprised their roles as David Levinson and former President Thomas J. Whitmore, respectively. Also on board was Charlotte Gainsbourg, who tapped into sardonic comedy to portray psychiatrist Dr. Catherine Marceaux in her quest to understand the telepathic link between human beings and aliens.

In an interview with The Independent, Gainsbourg revealed that she found numerous dynamic interpretations to explore when it came time to play Dr. Marceaux. The actor described her as "sort of a stubborn character. She really believes that she knows something and nobody really listens to her, so I could really trust my own instincts and be myself." She concluded by stating that diving into Catherine's backstory was fun.

The role was a departure for Gainsbourg, but she soon would return to her indie drama film roots.

The actor portrayed Patsy in Netflix's The Pale Blue Eye

Based on Louis Bayard's novel, Netflix's "The Pale Blue Eye" is not entirely accurate to Edgar Allan Poe's (Harry Melling) life but faithfully adapts Bayard's narrative. Starring Christian Bale in the lead role of Augustus Landor, a retired detective tapped to investigate a supposed suicide at West Point Military Academy, the film imagined a friendship between the former investigator and the future literary genius.

Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Patsy, a friend of Landor's and a tavern owner. Although the actor appears in a few scenes that make her look familiar, some reviewers found her talents wasted in the bit part. Screen Rant observed, "Gainsbourg is perhaps the most astounding waste as she is merely a sounding board for Bale's Landor. The pair also have no chemistry."

You can watch or rewatch "The Snowman" by renting or purchasing the film on YouTube, Vudu, Redbox, or Apple TV and more.