As I get a lot of negativity for my choice in favourite movies, I thought I’d go with an actor who has retired (hopefully just for now) and has a pretty good short track record, I can’t go wrong with this.. can I?
A star studded cast take a brave step in re creating the incredibly dark story of Gerry and Patrick Conlon, who were falsely imprisoned for the 1974 Guildford Pub Bombings. Conlons ability not to be beaten down by years of imprisonment and watching his father wither away and die incarcerated isn’t the easiest for a method actor such as Lewis to get into but the results are outstanding. Watching the change from Gerry’s frivolous life on the outside to years of fighting his case and adjusting to life on the inside is mind blowing. Starring alongside another veteran Pete Postlewaithe as Patrick, the two respectively bounce off each other like a classic duo, they seem so comfortable as the raw emotions flow from both equally. Lewis spends nights sleeping in a cell, asking for the crew to throw water and verbal abuse at him to prepare for the role. Despite the liberties taken with the truth, it’s still such a chilling and powerful movie with damned near perfect performances.
I feel a twinge of guilt to mentioning this movie, at times it’s incredibly whimsical and overly garish but it has core of solid actors who really give a wonderful performance sadly it’s not the two biggest named stars, but Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neilson and of course Daniel Day Lewis gave the very best performances in this tale of the origins of New York from bloody street fights, to corrupt officials, racism and living in a growing melting pot of opportunity and oppression. Lewis plays Bill the Butcher, a sociopath who’s more than a casual racist and womaniser, he’s one of the lowest of the lows but somehow Lewis manages to pull of the sincere dedication within this beast, he’s definitely determined to live and die by his own means, and somehow there’s a silver lining in him. In today’s terms he’d be that guy brown nosing Trump and Pence and yet Lewis manages to give him some credence. There’s lots of crazy trivia connected with this movie, one of the stand out pieces is that Lewis broke his nose while headbutting Leonardo Di Caprio, however I believe it was corrected that he heabutted the stage, either way he broke that nose yet again..
Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Until filming this epic Michael Man romantic adventure, Lewis had only really worked on independent films but he was already in the habit of going all out to prepare for his role, initially by living in the wilderness alone for months prior to shooting, and then hours of historical and cultural studies along with training with the army for shooting and combat skills, which really came in hand as Man wasn’t happy with using doubles. Lewis plays the adopted son of Chingachagook (Russell Means) a European who’s fully adapted to his new family and home in the Americas, living as a Mohican but befriending other settlers through their travels the three men only know friendship and peace but unwillingly get pulled into a vicious war.
Possibly one of Daniels more demanding roles physically, he is one of few actors who are more than willing to put their all into their roles, and he has always gone above and beyond, but in his early role he plays Christie Brown, an artist with cerebral palsy, a disease which renders most of his body in a debilitated state but his left foot seems to be easy to control and that’s the tool that he uses to communicate with the world. It’s a hard role to play and yet Daniel takes it in his stride, but did go through staying in character throughout filming on and off set and even managed to break two ribs.. what this man will do to get a role right..
Paul Thomas Anderson’s tragic social study of the American Oil rush and the life and aggravations of one focused and cold blooded individual, Daniel Plainview (Lewis). Loosely based on a book called Oil! by pton Sinclair, the tale of corruption is twisted around a man so fueled with greed and cunning that he sometimes appears mad but he’s at least 10 steps ahead of everyone else. Starring alongside Dillon Freasier as his son HW the two discover a potential source of oil which leads to a lifelong rivalry and turbulence with a local self styled church leader, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) which leads to some eclectic scenes such as a face slapping exorcism and a crazy bowling ending. Daniels brooding and calculated antics were crafted by Daniel Day Lewis while working on his Bill the Butcher character and refining that certain degree of gentleman bastard.