<p>Yes, that really is Tilda Swinton in “Snowpiercer.” Although no stranger to grotesque transformations, the actress has never looked or sounded more ghastly than she does in Bong Joon-ho’s dystopian railway thriller. Her thick-rimmed specs, dark brown pageboy, fur coat, buck teeth and harsh, guttural Yorkshire accent suggest some unholy hybrid of Anna Wintour and Dr. Mengele. A totalitarian’s lapdog who elicits revulsion and (eventually) pity, Swinton’s Mason is another indelible screen villain in a career full of brilliant baddies.</p>
Donning a suit, tie and wings, the actress makes eerily effective use of her own androgyny with a sinister spin on the role of the archangel Gabriel.
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (2005)
A seductive sorceress one minute, a bloodthirsty warrior queen the next, Swinton is the least campy, most cold-blooded of uber-villains — truly a White Witch to haunt your dreams.
“Michael Clayton” (2007)
The banality of corporate evil has rarely been more vividly embodied than in this Oscar-winning turn. Her final scene is a quiet meltdown for the ages.
Too few saw Erick Zonka’s Cassavetes-on-acid thriller, starring Swinton in perhaps the most extreme, love-it-or-hate-it tightrope-walk performance of her career.
“Moonrise Kingdom” (2012)
In her first collaboration with Wes Anderson, she delivered a deft comic aria as a ginger-haired bureaucratic monster named Social Services.