Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Craig List.

In just a little more than a week, Daniel Craig will reprise his role as 007, James Bond, in the latest installment of the most successful franchise in movie history, Quantum of Solace. As Craig has been forced to explain in nearly every press interview promoting the film, the unusual title refers to that moment of reconciliation when one finds an inner peace that satisfies, at least temporarily, some inner turmoil or angst. For James Bond, it's coming to grips with losing a great love as witnessed at the end of the last Bond (and Craig's first), Casino Royale. For Daniel Craig, his own personal quantum of solace may be arriving with an understanding that unlike most actors who put on the tux and slip in the Walther PPK (though I don't think they're using those anymore), he actually has an actor's life beyond Bond. Sure Connery and Brosnan had one - after leaving the franchise, and Moore had success before Bond, but it's Craig who seems to be living a double life in his acting and he's out to prove it over the space of the next three months.
Aside from next week's wide release which is positioned nicely to become the biggest box-office hit of the end of the year, Daniel Craig's film work has already been augmented this fall with Flashbacks of a Fool, a release from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Arclight Films which is currently both in limited release and just available on DVD. The film, a drama told through flashbacks, has Craig playing a washed out and angry actor who,  through dealing with news of the death of a childhood friend, must deal with past conflicts and present day redemption. The story feels compelling and Craig's image of arrogance and vulnerability nicely echo the conflict of the script.

Post Bond will be Defiance. The trailer, just reviewed on Moviedozer.com's Trailer Takes, puts Craig in the middle of a high tension drama set in Russia at the onset of World War II. Leading a community of Jews in an escape from Nazi soldiers, the film follows the odyssey of survival of a continually growing enclave holding onto its life's beliefs while constantly evading German capture. In Defiance, Daniel Craig is joined with strong support by actor Liev Schreiber. Directed by Edward Zwick who was responsible both for 2006's excellent Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly and 2003's masterful The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe, Defiance looks to be another performance driven historic piece set in convincing backgrounds and conditions. Daniel Craig looks to live up to every aspect of the past excellence that Zwick has drawn from his previous stars.

With the 007 franchise knee deep in hype over critical claims of reinvention and a new hard edged realism, it's refreshing to see its new star looking beyond the Bond girls, fast cars and high tech weaponry. Daniel Craig appears to be looking to live beyond Bond and to establish some high ground for his career and his fans. We think the last few months of 2008 will be a memorable time for Daniel Craig's career and a strong indication to his fans that there's much more of interest in what lies ahead. And of course, the Bond thing isn't about to be over anytime soon.

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