More Than Bond: Daniel Craig’s Best Performances to Rewatch Before No Time to Die

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The official release of No Time to Die is ahead of us as it will hit theaters on October 8. It will be the last time Daniel Craig will portray the intelligent and sexy British Secret Service agent created by Ian Flaming. The English actor will officially say goodbye to the iconic character after a run that started with 2006’s Casino Royale and spanned over four more movies. While the general public perceives the 53-year-old actor as James Bond, his career includes more than one performance that is worth rewatching beyond his 007 roles ahead of No Time to Die.

RELATED: No Time to Die Review: Daniel Craig Thrills in Farewell James Bond Film

Road to Perdition

More Than Bond: Daniel Craig's Best Performances to Rewatch Before No Time to Die

Set during the Great Depression, Craig portrays Connor Rooney, the son of an Irish mob boss played by the legendary Paul Newman. Connor is a jealous and unstable man who desperately seeks his father’s love, hating Tom Hanks’ Michael Sullivan for being the old gangster’s favorite out of all his enforcers. After Sullivan’s son, Michael Jr., witnesses a crime committed by Connor, the blond gangster takes it upon himself to kill Sullivan’s family in a desperate move to rise in his father’s eyes. But Sullivan is the most dangerous gunslinger in Rock Island, Illinois, and won’t go down without putting on a fight.

The British actor made his mainstream debut in 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, but this movie consecrated him as a credible actor to Hollywood. It was also the first time director Sam Mendes and the Englishman worked together before joining forces again for Skyfall and Spectre. Craig’s performance builds a reputation as a killer machine with a gun in his hands. The actor’s icy eyes turn the scene when Connor enters the bathroom and finds the hiding Sullivans into a living nightmare.

Layer Cake

More Than Bond: Daniel Craig's Best Performances to Rewatch Before No Time to Die

The English actor plays an unnamed mid-level cocaine dealer who wants to retire from the criminal life in London. However, it’s easier said than done as he becomes a pawn on the chess table of two gangsters at war, Kenneth Cranham’s Jimmy Price and Michael Gambon’s Eddie Temple. While attempting to retrieve a large shipment of ecstasy pills, XXXX will learn how to stay ahead of the mob game and why being on at the top of the layer cake is better than being at the bottom.

A couple of years before being cast as James Bond, Craig put on his most convincing performance as a leading actor. He acted under the keen eyes of the debuting director Matthew Vaughn in the 2004’s adaptation of J. J. Connolly’s eponymous novel. Fans already knew that Craig could swing a gun like nothing, but he adds even more layers to his character. This time, he acts as a very smart gangster who has to think three steps ahead to survive. Additionally, it’s one of his last performances before bulking up for the 007 roles. Overall, the movie features an impressive cast with some of the best British actors — Tom Hardy, Ben Whishaw, and Sienna Miller, among others.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

More Than Bond: Daniel Craig's Best Performances to Rewatch Before No Time to Die

In 2011, the actor teamed up with David Fincher for the second live-action adaptation of Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist victim of a libel suit against him. Christopher Plummer’s Henrik Vanger hires him to investigate the disappearance of his grandniece, Harriet, which happened more than 40 years before on Hedestad Island. While working on the Vanger family estate, Mikael meets Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth, a problematic yet brilliant hacker who will help the journalist unveil a hidden and terrible truth.

Craig stepped away from action movies for a while and dug into himself to bring a character tormented by doubt on-screen. Only after taking arms against his share of troubles, he moves out of his headlock and finds some deliverance. The actor did a great job adding his British charisma to an otherwise emotionally distant and as-cold-as-winters-in-Sweden journalist. Fans can see much of Blomkvist in Skyfall’s 007.

Knives Out

More Than Bond: Daniel Craig's Best Performances to Rewatch Before No Time to Die

After wealthy mystery writer Harlan Thrombey is found dead in his chamber the morning after his 85th birthday party, Craig’s private detective Benoit Blanc is hired by an unknown client to investigate what looks like a suicide case. It soon turns out that all the family members had a reason to want the patriarch dead. And Harlan’s immigrant nurse behaves suspiciously in addition to having a physical reaction every time she lies.

Arguably the most mature performance by Craig so far, picking up a nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards. His character needs no introduction in the story because watchers already know the actor’s legacy. In addition to joking with much irony on his skills, he fills the film with his charisma, almost attracting all the cast to his persona like a magnet. At the same time, he knows when to leave the floor to his colleagues and let them shine, especially when he shares the scene with Ana de Armas’ Marta and Chris Evans’ Hugh. Luckily, fans will see the Englishman reprising the character in the upcoming sequel.

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