The (Non-Bond) Films of Daniel Craig

edited November 2020 in Actors Posts: 4,246
I set up a similar thread for Dalton, Brosnan and Connery a while back that proved popular:

http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/8741/the-films-of-sean-connery-non-bond/p1
http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/8666/the-films-of-pierce-brosnan-non-bond#Item_29
http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/8627/the-films-of-timothy-dalton-non-bond/p1

Daniel probably had the most interesting pre-Bond film career. He was a pretty big name in the English film industry and was making a name for himself in America. Like many English actors he alternated between film, TV and theatre with ease and was probably the most accomplished and respected actor to take on the Bond mantle.

A Craig film I really love and recommend people see is 'The Mother'. Its a great little film, I really loved the writer's previous film 'My Beautiful Laudrette' and was excited to see this. I wasn't disappointed. It's an interesting, rather arty movie with a lot of themes at the centre of it all. I really felt the movie was about being unwanted with both Darren and May essentially filling a void in each others lives at that point. I don't think its a great epic love story of any sorts. They're both unwanted souls, not only in a metaphorical sense but also literally as the son character wants neither of them in his house but they're both still there.

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Darren sees the mother and realises that soon we will all be like her and takes to her, when he fingers her he's clearly not doing it for his own gratification but instead to help her. It's only at the end when he wants something in return on his cocaine binge that she wants to 'talk' and he flies off the handle and we see how damaged he is. Which he is, he's clearly a weak man, maybe even a drug addict (he pops random pills and does coke later) and not mentioning the fact he is having an affair and won't tell his wife. It's a good interesting film and I really recommend it.

Comments

  • Posts: 19,339
    I dont think Craig has really delivered outside since Bond so far overall.
    I was gobsmacked when i say 'Dream House'....it was bloody awful,i gave the DVD away it was that bad.
  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 4,006
    Since he's become Bond the only thing that stands out is his Mikael Blomvist in TGWDT.
    His version is much better fit than his Swedish counterpart and he really conveys the character quite brilliantly.

    Fincher says as much in the commentary and supplementary on the Blu ray, he says once I had him on board he knew it would be fine, in his words "he's that F***ing good"

    As for all round, Daniel delivered such a mesmirising turn in OFITN he's still waiting to top that, that being said no one who's played Bond has been that immersed in a character like he is there, it's simply an atstonishing piece of acting.

  • edited November 2020 Posts: 4,246
    Craig had a lot of success prior to Bond but since playing the part has surprisingly not done anything too noteworthy. I do agree that he is good in TGWTDT but that is Rooney Mara's film and she owns it. Daniel does the right thing by taking a step back and letting her shine. I think in fact that Craig has done his best work as Bond, I don't think he has been more on top of his game as he was in CR and SF.

    One of Daniel's best pre-Bond roles has to be in 'Infamous'. If people have not seen it you have to!

    daniel-craig-infamous-2006-BPR1D3.jpg

    I had seen Bennett Miller's Capote a few months back so I was interested in what Douglas McGrath's film would be like. Opposed to comparing them together the best complement I can give is that both films is that they are different. I for one found it very interesting how two different filmmakers were able to take the same events and put there own spin on what they believed happened not just in terms of the story but also tonally.

    Miller's film is much more of a character-study and with a very gloomy tone. It focuses on Capote's role as an artist and the tough route he went down carving 'In Cold Blood'. A lot of focus is spent on the 6 year period where Capote was unable to publish and the effect this had on him. McGrath's film is more a story of doomed romance and it has a much lighter more jazzy feel to it. Furthermore, the latter film is a lot more engrossing while Miller's film is slightly on the sterile and uninvolving side.

    I think McGrath's film is the better of the two as you actually find yourself becoming more and more taken with the story. The runtime zipped by and the film takes an interesting detour with the introduction of Perry Smith. Initially the film is very light and breezy but soon it takes a very dark turn before ending on a rather painful and melancholic note.

    In terms of the character of Capote himself I think the Miller film is a bit more complex and interesting. Philip Seymour-Hoffman's character had a lot more shades of grey while Toby Jones's character is slightly more black and white. However, he is still a very interesting character and the romance angle is very heartbreaking. Both Capote and Perry have been cut from the same cloth; both were abandoned children seeking a family and both had aspirations to be artists. One was able to archive their dreams while the other faltered. Class difference likely had a g role to play but it seems as though Perry and Truman represent two halves of the same whole. Given his circumstances it's likely Truman could have gone done the same road as Perry.

    One aspect of the film I enjoyed was the blurring of lines between 'reality' and 'fiction'. Capote prides himself on writing a new kind of reportage in the film; the 'non-fiction novel' and even sees Perry as a 'character'. In the end Capote is happy to manipulate reality and settle within his own devised fiction by giving Perry a redemptive finale despite the truth being somewhat different.

    The performances are really great. Toby Jones really gets into the skin of Truman Capote. Sandra Bullock is also fantastic as Harper Lee and really steals the show in a quiet unassuming role (Lee may actually have the most interesting arc in the whole movie; she put all her heart into Mockingbird and could never muster the power to replicate it or put herself through the anguish again).

    Daniel is fantastic. The role seems to be a perfect summary of a lot of his pre-Bond parts where he was cast as intense brooding men who always seems to be on the verge of exploding. When he stands behind those bars he has a great menace to him and throughout the film his character is like a coiled spring just waiting to go off. All the scenes when Capote goes behind the bars are so intense for this reason; Daniel looks like a caged beast. He's also unrecognisable in the part.

    It's a very frightening performance at times but as Truman says Perry also has the light within him. Craig plays cruel and kind and often is very vulnerable and tender. Occasionally the tender scenes are a little forced and don't quite fit so well. The Miller film played the homoerotic element as subtext but here it's overt-text and maybe slightly jarring. But it still works and by the final gallows scene it's hard not to get a lump in your throat as you see the panic on Perry's face as the black mask goes over his head.

    All-in-all it's a great film and one of Daniel's best performance up there I think with CR and SF. I think with the type of marquee name value he has today opposed to when 'Infamous' was released it's likely he'd be in for a shot at an Oscar nomination (the Oscars don't really award talent there popularity contests, in 2005/6 Daniel wasn't considered deserving but i think after all his recent success it's quite the opposite now). This is the type of role I want to see him do more of in the future.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Spychopath
    Posts: 39,491
    Have not seen Infamous, but would like to. The book (In Cold Blood) was really good, as was the original film from 1967.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 18,707
    Munich
    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
    Layer Cake

    I thought Craig was great in those.

    Defiance was OK. And then there's his bit part in Tombraider.

    Cowboys and Aliens is passable IMO.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Spychopath
    Posts: 39,491
    Layer Cake was fab, as was Daniel in it.
    "Do you know where I live?"
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 4,246
    I've decided to keep my posts down on the forum (at least till/if NTTD opens). Though I was hoping to re-watch some of Craig's work leading up to NTTD. So whilst away, I thought I'd come back now and again to share some thoughts and perhaps start a discussion.

    6e91e2b89d91a8a9a91e205be2767696.gif

    Following the lead set by @Thunderfinger I decided to re-watch Layer Cake. I have to say that when I was a teenager, I loved this film so much. It still really holds up today. It's a terrific piece of slick entertainment. I suppose it would be easy to say that this is a Martin Scorsese-esque take on the British gangster film. However, that would do Layer Cake a disservice. It's much cooler, smoother and more nonchalant than Scorsese's more kinetic ADD style. For a first time director, Matthew Vaughn has serious style. There is even a hint of cynicism to the ending, which I liked. Also, since it's nearly 16 years old, the film also hasn't dated much.

    Which brings me on to Craig. He's playing a surprisingly passive character. But he looks so very good doing it. Firstly, he has a terrific voice which he uses to purr through the brilliant opening narration. Secondly, he's seriously sexy. He's just cool. He's (for all intents and purposes) the British Steve McQueen with as much swagger. He has that brilliant face which always draws your eye to him. Speaking of eyes, he has a terrific pair and Vaughn never misses a chance to put them on screen.

    75c0e17668102323d27ad390a0f1fd86.gif

    XXXX is lithe, laconic and charismatic. Which is pretty much what the part requires and he does expertly. He isn't your usual pretty-boy star. He's handsome in a rougher, more broken-nosed way. Craig is able to elevate a fairly underwritten character and makes playing a drug-dealer look cool.

    This is also one of those films where there isn't a weak link from a very memorial supporting cast. It be wrong to single any out as they are all outstanding. Though Sienna Miller has a scene-stealing turn in a hotel whilst 'Gimme Shelter' plays....

    2ae9613e6777787ba8591718d5a24e27.jpg

    If I had to criticise this film, I suppose you could say that the plot is convoluted and probably takes a re-watch to figure out. Just maybe its a bit too clever for it's own good (but I wouldn't say it's smug, unlike say The Gentleman). It's a bit cliched. You might want to question the lack of emotional fallout after the death of a significant character. But Layer Cake is a seriously cool movie. A really break-out performance from Craig. It's undeniable that this was the movie that made Barbara see him as 007.
  • Posts: 11,211
    I've decided to keep my posts down on the forum (at least till/if NTTD opens). Though I was hoping to re-watch some of Craig's work leading up to NTTD. So whilst away, I thought I'd come back now and again to share some thoughts and perhaps start a discussion.

    6e91e2b89d91a8a9a91e205be2767696.gif

    Following the lead set by @Thunderfinger I decided to re-watch Layer Cake. I have to say that when I was a teenager, I loved this film so much. It still really holds up today. It's a terrific piece of slick entertainment. I suppose it would be easy to say that this is a Martin Scorsese-esque take on the British gangster film. However, that would do Layer Cake a disservice. It's much cooler, smoother and more nonchalant than Scorsese's more kinetic ADD style. For a first time director, Matthew Vaughn has serious style. There is even a hint of cynicism to the ending, which I liked. Also, since it's nearly 16 years old, the film also hasn't dated much.

    Which brings me on to Craig. He's playing a surprisingly passive character. But he looks so very good doing it. Firstly, he has a terrific voice which he uses to purr through the brilliant opening narration. Secondly, he's seriously sexy. He's just cool. He's (for all intents and purposes) the British Steve McQueen with as much swagger. He has that brilliant face which always draws your eye to him. Speaking of eyes, he has a terrific pair and Vaughn never misses a chance to put them on screen.

    75c0e17668102323d27ad390a0f1fd86.gif

    XXXX is lithe, laconic and charismatic. Which is pretty much what the part requires and he does expertly. He isn't your usual pretty-boy star. He's handsome in a rougher, more broken-nosed way. Craig is able to elevate a fairly underwritten character and makes playing a drug-dealer look cool.

    This is also one of those films where there isn't a weak link from a very memorial supporting cast. It be wrong to single any out as they are all outstanding. Though Sienna Miller has a scene-stealing turn in a hotel whilst 'Gimme Shelter' plays....

    2ae9613e6777787ba8591718d5a24e27.jpg

    If I had to criticise this film, I suppose you could say that the plot is convoluted and probably takes a re-watch to figure out. Just maybe its a bit too clever for it's own good (but I wouldn't say it's smug, unlike say The Gentleman). It's a bit cliched. You might want to question the lack of emotional fallout after the death of a significant character. But Layer Cake is a seriously cool movie. A really break-out performance from Craig. It's undeniable that this was the movie that made Barbara see him as 007.

    Probably my favorite Craig non-Bond film. I specifically went to see it based on the knowledge Craig was up for Bond in CR. I immediately liked him and knew he'd be great.
    I love the Q&A for LAYER CAKE on the Blu-ray extras. Some wonderful insight to this film.
  • M_BaljeM_Balje Amsterdam, Netherlands
    edited December 2020 Posts: 3,551
    So far 15 (1 mini serie, 14 movies):

    Tomb Raider
    Layer Cake
    The Golden Compass. Like it. When i finaly watched it, knowing there not going to be a sequel.
    Munich (Not Seen yet)
    Flashbacks of a Fool (Not Seen yet)
    Defiance (Not Seen yet)
    How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (Not Seen yet)
    Dream House
    Enduring Love (Not Seen yet)
    Sylvia (Not Seen yet)
    The Invasion * (Seen on tv first, not re-watched yet)
    Sword of Honour. 2 part mini series from 2001. (Not Seen yet).
    One Life (Voice) * (+ DVD) (Not Seen yet)
    Cowboys and Aliens * (+ DVD). I watched the Extented Cut on BD and whas better then i expected.
    Road to Perdition * (Seen on tv first, not re-watched yet)


    * Bluray

    Knives Out, Logan Lucky and Infamous are on my wishlist.

    If you count his vijf Bond movies, then he stay in draw with Brosnan on the moment.
    Pierce Brosnan: 20 (4 Bond, 1 mini serie, 15 movies)

    Where Tomb Raider be Daniel Craig only movie i have seen before he be Bond, with Brosnan this be Mrs Doubtfire. Layer Cake i bought in October 2005 when it was straight released to dvd and watched it on 14 August 2006, whyle i watched Casino Royale on 24 January 2007 in the cinema.
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 518
    I've taken a crack at ranking his non-Bond films that I've seen:
    1. Munich
    2. Knives Out
    3. Road to Perdition
    4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    5. Layer Cake
    6. Elizabeth
    7. Flashbacks of a Fool
    8. The Adventures of Tintin (voice)
    9. Defiance
    10. Enduring Love
    11. Dream House
    12. The Jacket
    13. Renaissance (voice)
    14. Cowboys & Aliens
    15. The Golden Compass
    16. Logan Lucky
    17. Archangel
    18. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
    19. The Invasion
    20. Kings
  • edited January 27 Posts: 4,246
    Next up...Knives Out....I watched this again last night and it really holds up. It's a proper ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 film.

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    In fact, it's probably more enjoyable and entertaining to watch a second time. Further, it's even satisfying to pick over the film and consider how neatly the plot points tie together long after it's finished.

    Part of what makes the film work is that it's neither a straight drama or a flat-out comedy. The film at times dabbles in being a parody of a typical Agatha Christie whodunnit, but it's the well-developed characters and involving emotional stakes that gives the film real drama. That is a deft trick to pull off and more Rian Johnson does expertly (he also gives the film it's own unique, quirky aesthetic). Not to mention that the comedy is genuinely very funny.

    It’s not the empty, slavish homage to 'murder mystery' fiction it could have been as Johnson knows that simply regurgitating the rules with a wink wouldn’t be enough. There’s genuinely thrilling ingenuity here to make a contemporary update to Agatha Christie's style. Especially, in regards to an early reveal to the killer's identity.

    Daniel Craig is having a ball. When he's introduced, it's delectable to see his icy blue-eyes considering his prey (Craig resembles nothing short of a white tiger in those scenes). However, the marvellous trick here is that Benoit Blanc is neither suave nor urbane. Craig is a nice comic performer, and his accent is a treat (owing more than bit to Frank Underwood). All the best dialogue and flowery monologues are reserved for Blanc and Craig has an absolute feast eating the scenery. He's so very funny in this flashy role; it's probably the best he's been in any movie. Undeniably, he steals the show here (the final drawing-room scene is particularly delicious).

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    That's quite the feat considering how stacked the supporting cast is. Everyone is terrific here. Though the film is probably a bit too clunky in it's rather overt '2019' politics. Though neither the left nor the right are not skewered. Though, half the fun of this film comes from watching this spoiled, entitled family turning on each other. They are just so vile and each actor perfectly matched to their role.

    For me, one of the chief reasons that Knives Out really works is Ana de Armas. Her Marta is such a charming, sweet and kind-hearted soul. She isn't just a pretty face, but a seriously talented actress. You really root for Marta and empathise with her dilemma. Ana de Armas is so winning in this part and is surely destined to be an A-list actress. She also has terrific chemistry with Craig. Which makes me even more excited for them to team up again.....

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  • Posts: 5,713
    This is a very good review. Wouldn't have anything to add; an amazing second viewing where you can see all the subtleties dropped throughout the script. Incredibly developed story with charming performances— an ensemble that’s on fire. I can’t wait to watch it again!
  • ImpertinentGoonImpertinentGoon Wattenscheid
    Posts: 289
    Yes, a great film and a great review.

    Things I would add:
    The undeniable style in everything. Evans and Craig clearly stand out with wardrobes that are beautiful albeit a tiny smudge more stylized then a normal person could pull off. But still, just great (see my profile picture...). But even the less "out-there" characters like the two cops played by Lakeith Stanfield and Noah Segan (btw, two of the really great performances around the margins) have some serious style going on.

    I am usually not one to focus on these types of things, but some of the editing and cinematography flourishes are really great. It's almost too broad but the way they intercut the opening examinations is really fun and the sudden shaky cam when Marta runs out of the house is really impactful.

    The "car chase" is fantastic.

    The mystery at the base of it all is really good and turns out to be surprisingly tragic.

    While I agree that the politics will fall into the "aged the worst" category in the future, some of the more subtle gags around that (like every Thrombay mentioning a different country of origin for Marta, even the "woke" ones) are quite funny.

    And finally, the way Craig say "donut hole" might be the funniest thing about this entire film.
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