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Ranking Cinema's 10 Best Sets of Villainous Cheekbones

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | June 2, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | June 2, 2014 |


There’s a long history in cinema of using sharp, pointy cheekbones to denote villainy, a trope I never really picked up on until this weekend’s Maleficent, in which Angelia Jolie’s cheekbones were CGI-enhanced to the point of obnoxiousness. I mean: Jolie has high cheekbones as it is. It hardly seemed necessary to make them even more sharp and angular, and do it in such a way that in some scenes the CGI looked painfully obvious, as though she’d had a small pocket knife inserted into each cheek.

But I get it. The always family-friendly Disney wanted to create the illusion of villainy without really demonstrating it, which would have alienated a younger, sensitive audience that might have been turned off by interesting or meaningful sequences. If Maleficent had actually done something horrible, then 10-year-old children might have needed to consider the ambiguity of her character instead of knowing all along that, beneath those high-pointy cheekbones, there was a soft, fleshy heart.

Children ruin everything, even movies.

Still, Maleficent did highlight the prevalence of villainous cheekbones, and so I have taken the liberty below of ranking the ten most villainous of them all.

10. Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series

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9. David in Prometheus

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8. Jackson Rippner in Red Eye

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7. Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope

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6. The Green Goblin in Spider-man

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5. Jareth in Labyrinth

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4. Loki in Thor/The Avengers

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3. Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek: Into Darkness

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2. Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

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1. Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.