Daniel Craig’s Belvedere Vodka Ad Is a State-of-the-Art Image Shift

If the new commercial for Belvedere Vodka, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Taika Waititi, was a scene out of Craig’s latest film, it would be the best scene in the film, or at least the one everyone’s talking about. Then again, no one would mistake it for a movie theater. The ad has a post-modern viral aesthetic – it’s two moments of bliss frozen in time. When Craig dances and dances in a luxury hotel in Paris, it becomes a rare advertisement where the actor is not being used to sell a product as he is using the advertisement to sell his own image. Yes, the extended space is vodka for sale, and Craig may have earned a paycheck that leaves most movie star paychecks in the dust. However that’s all kind of beside the point. The business is Craig’s way of promoting who he is, or could be, now that he’s done playing James Bond.

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Craig, of course, has a movie coming out, so you could say that “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Sequel,” in which he returns to the role of Southern detective Benoit Blanc, is the whole picture change. – he needs. More than 16 years ago, Craig never only he was James Bond. In addition to Blanc, he has played Mikael Blomkvist in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” a safe cracker in “Logan Lucky” and Iago on Broadway. Yet the Bond brand is legendary, and Craig, because he’s such a good actor, is so strongly connected to it that it almost feels like the only role he’s ever played. While the actor has been stamped by the series, the question revolves around his future star: Can he escape the image of Bond even if it is now connected to his DNA?

Sean Connery, the greatest actor to play Bond before Craig, took a long time to find his place after leaving 007 behind. When you look at the actor Connery finally became (in various films like “The Man Who Would Be King,” “The Russia House,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “The Rock”), his strange and sometimes. the toy magnet shot through with a post-Bondian élan. Craig, I suspect, will do a version of the same thing; he will build his post-Bond career on the identity he developed as Bond due to his inherent bravery. This is the time when he serves that identity for the first time with a twist, shaken and maybe even provoked.

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Here’s the big fun about Belvedere’s announcement. Craig, playing “Himself,” fights in the hotel in the fun, hot, dance-y way that it is. it is not James Bond, but the joke is that it’s almost as if it’s Bond doing it. Craig replaces Bond’s rigid masculinity with a different kind of masculinity, one that is more fluid than sex. But if you look at his worn granite face, he’s the same stud-king guy. In business, his face tells one story and his body tells another. The story that the commercial tells is about a conversation between the two.

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In the opening moments, the camera closes in on Craig from behind as he stands on a bridge overlooking the Seine, wearing a white suit and a plain white shirt. Why white? Because this comes after “No Time to Die,” where Bond died and (presumably) went to heaven. As a fierce original song by the businessman, Rita Ora and Griggs, begins in suspense, the camera pans around Craig, letting us drink in the intensity of his features, broken by a quick throwaway smile that lets you know he’s just kidding. .

Daniel Craig shines in a new ad for Belvedere Vodka.
Belvedere Vodka

Dodging an army of paparazzi (in other words: still James Bond), he sneaks into the back of a Rolls Royce and then rolls in the other direction, now wearing a black tank top, a silver hip-hop chain, sunglasses, and a black leather jacket that looks like it was made for Kenneth Anger’s remake of George Michael’s “Faith” video. As he walks along the stone bridge, the message is that Craig has been reborn – like the worst piece of business you’ve ever seen. But sometimes even a bad business just wants to have fun. Throwing off his sunglasses, he stretches out his hands and makes a small shime, feeling the pulse, then moves forward, feeling it even more, grabbing a handkerchief from the hotel doorman and mockingly wiping the sweat from his own face. I’m very sexy.

Waititi, the talented director of “Thor: Ragnarok” and its sequel, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” is a filmmaker at once passionate and funny. He obviously started the Belvedere ad as a tribute to the epic video that Spike Jonze made in 2001 for Fatboy Slim and Bootsy Collins’ “Weapon of Choice” – in which Christopher Walken showed off his incredible dance moves while jumping and shaking. his way through an empty luxury hotel. Walken was 58 years old when he starred in the video; even though he had a song-and-dance background, most people didn’t know it. The video played up the contrast between his angry middle-aged features (and the whole Walken-as-robotic-hardass thing that had already started to be mocked) and the incredible grace of his performance.

The Belvedere brand makes a different version of the same thing. Craig, now 54, has an aura that was close to restraint that was part of his mystique as Bond. The trick commercial comedy is that a man like this shouldn’t play like this. Craig still looks like he’s about to kill someone, but in the commercial he’s snapping his toes, thrusting his hips, lunging, diving, twerking, shedding layers of clothing, walking on water. He’s Bond, that quintessential 20th-century creature, resurrected and reincarnated as an older (and perhaps ageless) 21st-century party boy. that those dances were the stage that he had to fight to get the drink). But Waititi lays it all bare with an inspired kicker, letting us know that Daniel Craig, with a quick flash of a gangsta grin that’s-not-really-sad, will always be too cool for the room.

What this portends for Craig’s future is anyone’s guess. Could he make music? Why not? Will he play characters even beyond Bond? The world, at this time, is his oysters served with chilled vodka. But the truth is that Daniel Craig has a happy demon in him who no longer needs to keep a leash. When he lets them out, they can become part of him as an actor. What he tells us, with a wink, is, “You think you just know me.” And that nobody does it better.


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