Total Recall: Daniel Craig's Best Movies
We count down the best-reviewed work of the Skyfall star.
There aren't many actors who have the depth and sensitivity to carry indie fare and enough charisma to lead a blockbuster franchise, but with one foot in the art house and the other firmly planted at the multiplex, Daniel Craig is one star who can have his Layer Cake and eat it too. With his third Bond outing, Skyfall, arriving in theaters this weekend, we decided now would be the perfect time to take another look at some of his critical highlights, Total Recall style!
Before we begin, it bears mentioning that Craig's filmography is dotted with a handful of brief appearances and cameo roles -- including parts in 2005's Fateless (92 percent) and 1998's Elizabeth (81 percent), both of which are well worth checking out, but were left off our list in an effort to focus on more Craig-centric pictures. So now let's see what did make the cut...
10. Enduring Love
Given its minuscule theatrical tally and middling reviews, it wouldn't be surprising if you'd never heard of Enduring Love, but it came with a terrific cast and a stellar literary pedigree. Adapted by screenwriter Joe Penhall from the 1997 novel by Ian McEwan and led by performances from Craig, Rhys Ifans, Samantha Morton, and Bill Nighy, the big-screen Love looked like an awards season contender on paper. Ultimately, however, most viewers ignored it -- and most critics felt the book's slowly unraveling mystery was ill-served by director Roger Michell (the Philadelphia Inquirer's Carrie Rickey said he didn't adapt it so much as "eviscerate it and wave its entrails before the audience"). But it was a favorite of scribes such as Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post, who praised it as "the best kind of movie: so alive in its storytelling that only in retrospect do you realize that the ideas represent a metaphysical inquiry."
After Casino Royale breathed new life into the Bond franchise, expectations were high for the follow-up, 2008's Quantum of Solace -- especially considering that its story picked up immediately where Royale left off. Quantum never really reached its predecessor's heights -- critically or commercially -- but it's still a solid entry in the venerable series, and it found Craig really growing into the role, as pointed out by Ben Lyons of At the Movies: "While charm and a quick wit made Connery the best of the Bonds, it's Craig's brute force and Jackie Chan-style stunts that will come to define this latest reincarnation."
A year after Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar for his work in Capote, writer/director Douglas McGrath brought his own Truman Capote biopic to the big screen -- and while it certainly suffered in comparison to its critically lauded predecessor, Infamous had plenty to offer in its own right, including the charged chemistry between Toby Jones (who played Capote) and Daniel Craig (playing Perry Smith, the convicted murderer who developed a complicated relationship with Capote). As Colin Covert put it for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Far from vanishing in its predecessor's wake, Infamous demonstrates how a potent story can inspire distinctly different interpretations."
Craig reunited with his Munich director, Steven Spielberg, for The Adventures of Tintin, the first installment in a planned trilogy of 3D motion capture computer-animated adaptations of the iconic comic series by famed Belgian artist Hergé. Playing the villainous Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (as well as his ancestor, Red Rackham), Craig joined an ensemble cast that included Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Jamie Bell, and -- of course -- Andy Serkis. Tintin faced an uphill climb with American audiences unfamiliar with the comics, but it scored a solid hit with critics like Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, who urged readers to "Think of The Adventures of Tintin as a song of innocence and experience, able to combine a sweet sense of childlike wonder and pureness of heart with the most worldly and sophisticated of modern technology."
6. The Mother
One of the more unusual -- and lesser-known -- entries in Craig's filmography, 2003's The Mother is the story of a British grandmother (played by Anne Reid) who finds her life turned upside down after her husband suddenly passes away -- and copes with it by starting an affair with a handyman (played by Craig) who also happens to be her son's best friend and her daughter's boyfriend. Though it never made much of a commercial splash beyond its limited release run, The Mother gave Craig an opportunity to play a decidedly different character, and it impressed critics like Philip Wuntch of the Dallas Morning News, who wrote, "It neither reassures nor insults its audience. These days, a film that doesn't insult your intelligence is absolutely refreshing."