13. Denzel Washington, 'Training Day '
We suspect that we can't trust Alonzo Harris, an LAPD detective who hasn't met a line he's not afraid to cross. But what made Denzel Washington's performance so gripping is that, like Ethan Hawke's impressionable cop, we keep thinking we can get a bead on the guy the longer we hang out with him. Not so. Washington has always been a powerfully charismatic onscreen presence, but with this thriller he twists that charm into something that feels dangerous, unpredictable: We know we can't trust this man, but we're not sure just how deep the corruption goes. Training Day can be awfully ludicrous – a bad-cop drama cranked to 11 – but it's Washington's cocksure turn that almost sells the whole thing, the actor's mega-watt intensity keeping us pinned in that car with this menacing street marauder. Flight, Malcolm X, He Got Game – Washington has had plenty of more nuanced, devastating performances. But in here, he's delivering pure movie-star fireworks, which is its own kind of feat.