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

If the new Belvedere Vodka commercial, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Taika Waititi, is a scene from Craig’s latest film, it will be the best scene in the movie, or at least the scene everyone is talking about. is talking Again, no one will mistake it for a movie scene. The commercial has a postmodern strike-a-pose viral aesthetic — it’s a two-minute joy frozen in time. As Craig dances through a swank hotel in Paris, it becomes the rare commercial in which the movie star isn’t being used to sell a product as much as he’s using the commercial to sell a shift in his image. Yes, the extended space is hawking vodka, and Craig probably gets a paycheck that leaves most movie star paychecks in the dust. Yet this is all beside the point. The commercial is Craig’s way of announcing who he is, or can be, now that he’s done with the role of James Bond.

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Craig, of course, has a movie coming out, so you could say that “Glass Onion: A Knife Out Sequel,” in which he returns to the role of Southern detective Benoit Blanc, is quite the image change. – He needs it. In the past 16 years, Craig has never done it that’s it Be James Bond. In addition to Blanc, he has played Mikael Blomkvist in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Hellboy Safecracker in “Logan Lucky” and Iago on Broadway. Yet the Bond brand is so legendary, and Craig, because he is a great actor, is also so powerful that it can feel like he just played the role. When an actor is haunted by that series, a question hangs over his future stardom: Can he escape the image of Bond even though it is now linked to his DNA?

Sean Connery, the greatest actor to play Bond before Craig, took a long time to find his footing after leaving 007 behind. When you see the actor Connery eventually became (in films as diverse as “The Man Who Was King,” “The Russia House,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “The Rock”), his imperial and sometimes . Playful cutthrough magnets shot with post-Bondian elan. Craig, I suspect, will do a version of the same thing. He would build his post-Bond career on the identity he built as Bond from his natural born bravado. This is the moment when he first serves that identity with a twist, hidden and maybe even tired.

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Here’s what’s so great fun about Belvedere commercials. Craig, playing “Himself” through the hotel in a funky, hot, preening dance-club style that’s so no James Bond, yet the joke is that it’s almost as if it was Bond. Craig swaps Bond’s rigid masculinity for a different kind of masculinity, one that is much more sexually fluid. Yet if you look at his old granite face, he is the same rugged king-studded fellow. In the commercial, her face tells one story and her body tells another. The story that the commercial is telling is about the interaction 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 looking down at Sean, dressed in a white suit and open white shirt. Why white? Because it comes after “No Time to Die,” where Bond died and (presumably) went to heaven. As the commercial’s terrific original song, by Rita Ora and Greggs, kicks off in a synth trance, the camera pans around Craig, letting us drink in the intensity of his features, a sharp smile that casts you He realizes that he is just playing. .

Daniel Craig flashes a smile in the new Belvedere Vodka commercial.
Belvedere Vodka

Pushing his way through an army of paparazzi (in other words: still James Bond), he climbs into the back of a Rolls Royce and then turns around, now wearing a black tank top, 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 they walk along the cobblestone bridge, the message is that Craig is reborn – as the greatest piece of bad merchandise you’ve ever seen. But sometimes even a bad trader just wants to have fun. As he flips off the sunglasses, he stretches out his arms and blinks a little, feels the shock, then moves forward, feels a little more, grabs a handkerchief from the hotel door, and smacks his own face. I sweat. I am very sexy.

Waititi, the gifted director of “Thor: Ragnarok” and its sequel, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” is a passionate and passionate filmmaker at once. It’s clear that this Belvedere commercial is a tribute to the great video that Spike Jonze made in 2001 for Fatboy Slim and Bootsy Collins’ “Weapon of Choice” – it’s where Christopher Walken gets his unusual dance moves. was shown as he bobbed and flashed his way through an empty luxury hotel. Walken was 58 when he starred in the video; Although she had a background in singing and dancing, not many people knew about it. The video played off the contrast between his middle-aged features (and the whole walking-as-robotic-tough thing that had already begun to be parodied) and the amazing balletic grace of his movements.

Belvedere Commercial does a different version of the same thing. Craig, now 54, is surrounded by the aura that was part of his mystique as Bond. The sly comedy of the commercial is that a man who looks like this shouldn’t dance like this. Craig still looks like he’s going to hit someone, but in the commercial he snaps his fingers, thrusts his hips, he spits, he boogies, he jumps, he rips clothes. He walks on water. He is Bond, that iconic 20th century creature, resurrected and reborn as a 21st century party boy (and perhaps ageless). The commercial finally brings him back to where he started (sipping an ice-cold vodka and saying “Finally”, as if these dance moves were the act, he had to fight his way to get the drink). But Waititi does it all with an inspired chuckle, telling us that Daniel Craig, with a sharp flash of gangsta gray-that-isn’t-really-a-grey, will always be too cool for the room.

What this portends for Craig’s future is anyone’s guess. Can he play music? why not? Will he play an even more icy role than Bond? The world, at this point, has his oyster with cold vodka. But the fact is that Daniel Craig has happy demons inside him that he no longer needs to put on the army. As he gives them out, they become part of who he is as an actor. Is he telling us, with a wink, “You just think you know me.” And it doesn’t get any better.



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