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

If the brand new Belvedere Vodka industrial, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Taika Waititi, had been a scene out of Craig’s newest movie, it might be one of the best scene within the film, or at the least the one that everybody’s speaking about. Then once more, nobody would mistake it for a film scene. The industrial has a postmodern strike-a-pose viral aesthetic — it‘s two minutes of bliss frozen in time. As Craig saunters and dances by means of a swank resort in Paris, it turns into the uncommon industrial by which a film star isn’t getting used to promote a product a lot as he’s utilizing the industrial to promote a shift in his personal picture. Sure, the prolonged spot is hawking vodka, and Craig most likely bought a paycheck that leaves most movie-star paychecks within the mud. But that’s all form of inappropriate. The industrial is Craig’s method of saying who he’s, or may be, now that he’s performed with the function of James Bond.

Craig, after all, does have a movie about to come back out, so you might say that “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Sequel,” by which he returns to the function of the wily Southern gentleman detective Benoit Blanc, is all of the picture change-up he wants. Over the past 16 years, Craig has by no means simply been James Bond. Along with Blanc, he has performed Mikael Blomkvist in “The Woman with the Dragon Tattoo,” a hillbilly protected cracker in “Logan Fortunate” and Iago on Broadway. But the Bond model is so mythological, and Craig, as a result of he’s an important actor, merged with it so powerfully that it may really feel like the one function he’s performed. When an actor has been stamped by that sequence, a query hovers over his future stardom: Can he escape the picture of Bond even because it’s now intertwined along with his DNA?

Sean Connery, the best actor to play Bond earlier than Craig, took a very long time to search out his footing after he left 007 behind. While you have a look at the actor Connery finally grew to become (in movies as various as “The Man Who Would Be King,” “The Russia Home,” “Indiana Jones and the Final Campaign” and “The Rock”), his imperious and at occasions playful cutthroat magnetism was shot by means of with a post-Bondian élan. Craig, I believe, will do a model of the identical factor; he’ll construct his post-Bond profession on the identification he solid as Bond out of his natural-born bravura. That is the second when he first serves that identification with a twist, shaken and perhaps even stirred.

Right here’s what’s such cool enjoyable in regards to the Belvedere industrial. Craig, enjoying “Himself,” gallivants by means of the resort in a cool, sizzling, preening dance-club method that could be very a lot not James Bond, but the joke is that it’s nearly as if it had been Bond doing it. Craig exchanges the rock-hard masculinity of Bond for a unique form of masculinity, one which’s much more sexually fluid. But for those who have a look at his worn-granite face, he’s the identical rugged king-stud dude. Within the industrial, his face tells one story and his physique tells one other. The story the industrial is telling is in regards to the dialogue between the 2.

Within the opening moments, the digicam approaches Craig from the again as he stands on a bridge staring out on the Seine, wearing a white go well with and open white shirt. Why white? As a result of this comes after “No Time to Die,” the place Bond died and (presumably) went to heaven. Because the industrial’s terrific authentic music, by Rita Ora and Griggs, kicks off in a synth trance, the digicam circles round Craig, letting us drink within the severity of his options, damaged up by a fast throwaway smirk that permits you to know he’s simply enjoying.

Daniel Craig flashes a smile within the new Belvedere Vodka industrial.
Belvedere Vodka

Hustling himself by means of a military of paparazzi (in different phrases: nonetheless James Bond), he slips into the again of a Rolls Royce after which rolls out the opposite aspect, now sporting a black tank prime, silver hip-hop chain, sun shades and a black leather-based jacket that appears prefer it was designed for a Kenneth Anger remake of George Michael’s “Religion” video. As he walks alongside the cobblestone bridge, the message is that Craig has been reborn — because the roughest piece of tough commerce you’ve ever seen. However typically even tough commerce simply needs to have enjoyable. As he tosses away the sun shades, he stretches out his arms and does a bit shimmy, feeling the beat, then struts ahead, feeling it a bit extra, grabbing a handkerchief from the resort doorman and mockingly dabbing the sweat from his personal face in an I’m-too-sexy method.

Waititi, the gifted director of “Thor: Ragnarok” and its sequel, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” is a filmmaker directly passionate and prankish. It’s clear that he conceived the Belvedere industrial as an homage to the good video that Spike Jonze made in 2001 for Fatboy Slim and Bootsy Collins’ “Weapon of Selection” — the one the place Christopher Walken confirmed off his extraordinary dance strikes as he bopped and shimmied his method by means of an empty luxe resort. Walken was 58 when he starred in that video; although he had a song-and-dance background, lots of people didn’t realize it. The video performed off the distinction between his scowling middle-aged options (and the entire Walken-as-robotic-hardass factor that had already begun to be parodied) and the wonderful balletic grace of his strikes.

The Belvedere industrial does a unique model of the identical factor. Craig, now 54, has a been-around-the-block furrowed aura that was a part of his mystique as Bond. The sly comedy of the industrial is {that a} man who seems to be like this isn’t supposed to bounce like this. Craig nonetheless seems to be like he’s about to kill somebody, however within the industrial he snaps his fingers, he thrusts his hips, he struts, he boogies, he twerks, he sheds layers of clothes, he walks on water. He’s Bond, that quintessential creature of the twentieth century, resurrected and reborn as an ageing (and perhaps ageless) Twenty first-century social gathering boy. The industrial finally lands him again the place he began (sipping an ice-cold vodka and saying “Lastly,” as if these dance strikes had been the motion he needed to combat his method by means of to earn that drink). However Waititi caps all of it with an impressed kicker, letting us know that Daniel Craig, with a fast flash of a gangsta grin-that’s-not-really-a-grin, will at all times be too cool for the room.

What this portends for Craig’s future is anybody’s guess. Might he do a musical? Why not? Will he play characters even icier than Bond? The world, at this level, is his oyster served with chilled vodka. However the actual level is that Daniel Craig has pleased demons inside him that he now not must carry on a leash. As he lets them out, they may grow to be a part of who he’s as an actor. What he’s telling us, with a wink, is, “You solely suppose me.” And that no one does it higher.