His first major movie was the fabulous 1990 dramedy Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, written and directed by Tom Stoppard, based on a play written by Stoppard himself. Marvelously funny, on this movie the two main characters, Guildenstern (Roth) and Rosencrantz (played by Gary Oldman) – originally Shakespearean characters that are featured on Hamlet – decide to find the real meaning behind their mundane existence, when they are not needed in the plot of Hamlet.
When the nineties came, Roth’s output increasingly expanded, as he started to participate in several American productions. In 1992, he starred in Jumpin' at the Boneyard, along with Samuel L. Jackson. On this movie, Roth played Manny, a character that surprises his younger brother Dan (played by Alexis Arquette) stealing his home. Then both brothers – forced by arbitrary and turbulent circumstances – starts to walk by the neighborhood of their youth, and slowly reconcile, only to succumb to a drastic fate, becoming victims of a sordid fatality. A beautiful movie with a virtuous and melancholic intensity, Jumpin' at the Boneyard is a marvelous, yet defining drama, where all necessary elements, from dialogues, to setting, to characters and competent direction, were perfectly combined altogether, to create a sensible and dense picture of the vulnerability of the human condition.
In 1992, Roth had a major role on Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, initiating a partnership that would result in three more films. In 1995, Roth played villain Archibald Cunningham, in the epic drama movie Rob Roy, opposite Liam Neeson, that plays the title character Rob Roy MacGregor. A historical biopic, the movie narrates the story of a Scottish clan chief, Rob Roy, who clashes with a terrible and unscrupulous nobleman, Cunningham, that is desperate to subjugate the Scotsmen to his sordid interests.
In 1999, Roth made his directorial debut, with The War Zone. In 2001, with the blockbuster Planet of the Apes, Roth managed to become a select member of Hollywood, consolidating his reputation as a viable actor, as well as his mainstream stardom and celebrity status, distancing himself a little from independent cinema and art house pictures, that were until then his primary sources of revenue and exposure, the means by which he became a notorious actor, in a similar vein to Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and to a minor extent, Edward Norton.
In 2008, Roth participated in another blockbuster – The Incredible Hulk –, playing the hero’s antagonist, a character named Emil Blonsky, that transforms himself into a villain known as Abomination. With a budget of US$ 150 million, the movie grossed US$ 263.4 million at the box office. In 2012, Roth played Detective Michael Bryer, opposite Richard Gere, in the fantastic drama-thriller film Arbitrage.
From 2009 to 2011, Roth portrayed Dr. Cal Lightman, in the Fox Television Show Lie to Me. In a rare incursion into a TV series – the actor until then had participated only in four –, Roth portrayed for three seasons a man specialized in reading and deciphering facial microexpressions of people, instantly acknowledging if they are telling the truth or not. His company, The Lightman Group, was frequently employed by police and security agencies to interview crime suspects, to discover if they are telling the truth or concealing relevant information.
Since 2017, Roth stars as the lead in the British-Canadian Television Co-production series Tin Star. In January, premiered in Sundance a movie titled Luce, on which he has a role. The movie stars Naomi Watts, his screen partner in Funny Games. In July, it will be released the movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, in which Roth has a small role. Directed by Quentin Tarantino, the movie features an ensemble cast that includes Bruce Dern, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, James Remar, James Marsden and Michael Madsen, amongst many others.
As the decades passed, undoubtedly, Tim Roth has managed to become one of the best actors of his generation, doing complex roles in relevant movies. In a career spanning almost four decades, Tim Roth has participated in over eighty movies (including televisions films). We sure wish him to continue, hoping to see him in eighty more productions or so, according to his professional ambitions.