What is the best, little-known Clive Owen film? It’s not Closer
or Croupier; those highly praised films showed us that no one does compassionate,
conflicted intensity better than Owen — a quality that made him a natural for Shadow
Dancer as an MI-5 agent who becomes disillusioned with his job.
Set in 1990’s Belfast, James Marsh’s smart, unsettling political
thriller turns on the essential question of loyalty and betrayal, which extends
to the relationship between Mac, the MI5 agent, and Colette (Andrea
Riseborough), a young mother to whom he
gives a nearly impossible choice: inform on her IRA cohorts or go to prison, leaving her small
son behind. (You can find my interview with Andrea Riseborough and James
The film keeps us guessing about both Mac and Colette’s true
motives, but in our one-on-one interview (that’s my disembodied voice you hear
while the camera stays, understandably, on Clive), he talks about what he
believes was going through his character’s mind.
As for the best unknown Clive Owen film, I nominated Antoine
Fuqua’s underrated King Arthur, while Owen himself chose a smaller, 2009 film in which
he plays a widower with two sons. You can see why the film, directed by Scott
Hicks (Shine) stumbled commercially. The title, The Boys Are Back, is awful (it
was awful as the tagline for Entourage too), and the trailer makes it look treacly
and cliched, while this delicate, lovely, powerful little film actually avoids those pitfalls. Here’s a
glimpse at the film Clive Owen wants you to catch up on:
Clive Owen Video Edited by PERRI SILVER.