Nothing against Daniel Craig. His body of work speaks for itself but Clive Owen should have been the new James Bond (there’s still hope!). And given that Daniel Craig Bond is all rough around the edges and yet still smooth enough to seduce the ladies, Owen could easily fit in ever since Craig dismissed wanting to do more. Clive Owen was a relatively unknown in a not too distant past, but thanks in part to landing some great movie roles, he’s become a star. While he’s now doing TV moreso than anything, we haven’t forgotten his body of work in the movies. Here’s look at six of the best Clive Owen movie roles.
Theo Faron – Children of Men
Children of Men was the best movie of 2006. Period. It’s shameful that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, but at least the film received nominations for Best Cinematography (the car chase scene alone was worth this nomination) and Best Editing. Children of Men isn’t about why women can’t reproduce (which is largely irrelevant to the movie’s plot and themes), but rather, the choices people make when it appears that humanity is near its end. Clive Owen’s Theo Faron starts the movie as a mostly apathetic and somewhat bitter man, but his character develops throughout the film, ultimately playing a primary role in the sustenance of hope for all of mankind. Director Alfonso Cuaron shows us – instead of explains to us – a fully-realized dystopian future, all while exploring themes of faith and the stratification of social classes. It’s Faron’s development from an irrelevant working stiff with a penchant for swigging whiskey to a man who is willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of humanity’s future that makes this character so great.
Dwight – Sin City
“I’m Shellie’s new boyfriend, and I’m out of my mind.” In Sin City, Dwight holds his own as a tough guy, which is quite remarkable considering all the thugs and criminals that are featured in this movie. We are introduced to Dwight as he holds a razor blade to corrupt cop Jack Refferty’s face, only to then dunk Jack’s head in the toilet for a good ol’ fasioned swirlie. If that’s not enough, Dwight is associated with prostitutes, is able to hustle his way out of trouble with cops, and successfully takes on a team of savage mercenaries. Clive Owen is perfect as Dwight, conveying that deep down he’s a good dude but would not hesitate to peel your cap.
Larry Gray – Closer
Larry Gray is a pretty sweet dude: he spends his time in cybersex chat rooms, goes to strip clubs, and has no reservations asking a woman, “What does your c*nt taste like?” Hmmm…I guess that makes me a pretty sweet dude, too. Owen is terrific as the malicious Larry, and even received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role. He won the Golden Globe for the same role, but whatever. That’s like hooking up with Khloe Kardashian because Kim turned you down.
Dalton Russell – The Inside Man
Dalton Russell is the epitome of smooth. With terrified hostages and an army of cops surrounding the bank he has taken over, Clive Owen’s Russell remains calm and in control throughout The Inside Man. By burying himself in a wall for a week after the hostages are released, Russell is able to walk safely out of the bank and, presumably, to a life of wealth and freedom. Best of all, he slips Frazier (played by Denzel Washington) some bling and manages to screw over Case, who aided and abetted the Nazis during World War II. If there’s one thing we can all get behind, it’s f*cking up some Nazis.
Mr. Smith – Shoot ‘Em Up
Look, Shoot ‘Em Up kinda sucked, and the fact that there is a baby in most of the movie is a major flaw. Babies are the worst. They’re loud, they’re bald and ugly, they drool and piss and sh*t all over the place, and they can’t do a damn thing for themselves. It’s like God’s way of punishing us for having unprotected premarital sex. All that said, Mr. Smith is a pretty awesome character. There’s not a lot of guys who can engage in a massive gunfight while simultaneously going balls deep in Monica Bellucci, but Clive Owen’s Mr. Smith manages to pull it off masterfully.
The Professor – The Bourne Identity
Owen’s role as The Professor is brief but memorable in The Bourne Identity. An enemy agent, The Professor is sent to kill Jason Bourne. He doesn’t get the job done, though, and is rewarded with a couple of shotgun blasts from Bourne. Clive Owen as The Professor is a pretty cool role, but I’d like to see him play the other Professor. You know, the one from the And 1 Mixtape Tour? Oh Baby!
Honorable Mention: The Driver – The Hire
Owen + BMW + Internet = nobody saw these short films. Bah. Oh, I actually liked Derailed, by the way, but I didn’t think Owen’s character was anything special. So there.