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If someone approached me and demanded a list of great actors, Clive Owen would be one of the first. There’s just something about his balance of charm and grit in movies like Children of Men that grabs a hold of me and doesn’t let go. It’s been that way ever since I first became familiar with him in the early 2000s, and it will most likely remain that way for years to come.
With his recent run of hit series like Apple TV+’s Lisey’s Story and the FX anthology series Impeachment: American Crime Story, I have been taking a trip down memory lane to revisit my favorite Clive Owen movies, as well as some others I may have missed over the years. But, instead of keeping this list to myself, I’ve decided to share it with you, along with all the ways you can watch them on various streaming services.
Children Of Men (2006)
Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 movie, Children of Men, follows Theo Faron (Clive Owen), a disillusioned activist-turned-bureaucrat whose life is given new purpose when he is asked to escort a woman who is the first expectant mother since a mysterious infertility pandemic spread across the world nearly 20 years earlier. With humanity on the brink of destruction and extinction due to social unrest brought on by the mysterious plague, the weight of the world rest on Theo's shoulders.
With a perfect combination of intense action, biting social commentary, and emotion, this harrowing yet beautiful dystopian thriller is more than deserving of a revisit even if it's just to watch all those beautiful long-takes that are sprinkled throughout.
Lisey’s Story (2021)
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, the Apple TV+ horror drama series Lisey’s Story follows a widow (Julianne Moore) who is still dealing with the death of her novelist husband (Clive Owen) when one of his biggest (and most demented) fans begins stalking her and will stop at nothing to share the late author’s unfinished work with the world. But, just as is the case with the vast majority of King’s work, there is a darker and more sinister element to this eight-episode limited series, that lies beneath the surface.
Inside Man (2006)
On the surface, Spike Lee’s 2006 crime thriller, Inside Man, appears to be your standard heist film, but its nature changes completely as Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) begins to unravel the truth behind Dalton Russell’s (Clive Owen) decision to choose this particular bank. Over the course of this riveting story, with its intriguing series of revelations and tense confrontations, you learn that there is something more valuable than a vault full of cash at stake.
With outstanding performances from Christopher Plummer, Jodie Foster, and the rest of the stellar cast, as well as one of the most engaging crime stories of the past 15 years, there are plenty of reasons to revisit this gem.
Mike Nichols’ 2004 romantic drama, Closer, focuses on the interconnected lives of two couples — Alice Ayres (Natalie Portman) and Dan Woolf (Jude Law), and Larry Gray (Clive Owen) and Anna Cameron (Julia Roberts), as they randomly meet one another and begin cheating on their respective partners. As each of their stories unfolds over the course of several years, their trust and relationships begin to fall apart, creating a seemingly endless cycle of deceit.
Clive Owen received a ton of praise following the release of Closer, and took home a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for his remarkable portrayal of Larry Gary in this sprawling narrative.
Sin City (2005)
Like the graphic novel on which it is based, the Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez-directed anthology film Sin City features several interconnected stories that all take place in the dark and deadly titular city. One of the best chapters, The Big Fat Kill, follows private investigator Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen) as gets caught in the middle of a war between The Girls of Old Town and a group of mercenaries, after “Hero Cop,” Jack Rafferty (Benicio del Toro), is murdered by one of the girls.
In a movie that is filled with outstanding performances from the likes of Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, and Bruce Willis, Clive Owen’s Dwight remains one of the most memorable and iconic of the bunch.
Hemingway And Gellhorn (2012)
The 2012 HBO original film Hemingway and Gellhorn tells of the nearly decade-long personal and professional relationship shared by decorated American author Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen) and world renowned writer Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman), and the various ups and downs the couple experienced while covering wars abroad and personal battles at home. From their first meeting at a Key West bar in 1936 to Gellhorn’s decision to divorce Hemingway in 1945, anything and everything the pair experienced (both good and bad) is covered in this epic love story about two of the most prolific names of the early-to-mid 20th Century.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
Doug Liman’s 2002 spy thriller, The Bourne Identity, follows CIA operative Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) as he struggles to remember his past after being found nearly dead on a fishing boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. As the amnesiac begins to piece together the events that led to him being riddled with bullets, other members of the CIA black ops program, Operation Treadstone, are activated to hunt down their former colleague.
One of those assassins is The Professor (Clive Owen), a remarkable sharpshooter who is defeated by Jason Bourne in the French countryside. Despite being a lethal killer who goes as far as to shoot a dog to draw out his target, the character shows a great deal of humanity in his final moments thanks to Owen’s masterful performance.
Mike Hodges’ 1998 neo-noir, Croupier, tells the story of aspiring writer Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) as he finds himself getting lost in the glitz, glamour, and greed of the gambling world after taking a job at a casino. As he falls deeper into the traps that lie around the casino floor, Jack becomes enticed by a gambler’s plot to rob the casino, a plan that could make the down-on-his-luck writer a hefty sum of money. But, nothing is ever as easy as it seems, especially when it comes to money.
The Knick (2014 - 2015)
Set in the famed Knickerbocker Hospital in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century, the Cinemax series The Knick showcases the professional and personal lives of a group of surgeons who were ahead of their game, despite having a doctor’s bag full of demons and other issues. The series centers on Dr. John W. “Thack” Thackery (Clive Owen), the hospital’s chief surgeon, who is by far one of the most talented in his field even if he has severe issues with his cocaine and opium addictions.
Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)
One of the most over-the-top and entertaining additions to Clive Owen’s filmography, Shoot ‘em Up follows carrot-eating gunman Mr. Smith (Owen) as he fights tooth and nail to protect the life of an infant that is wanted for a diabolical plan to harvest babies’ bone marrow.
Michael Davis’ action film didn’t have the best theatrical run upon its release in September 2007, but movie has since become a cult classic for its unique set pieces and brilliant casting of Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti,
Gosford Park (2001)
Robert Altman’s hilarious 2001 murder mystery Gosford Park follows a group of ultra-wealthy rich and famous people as they spend a weekend at an exclusive hunting club in 1930s England. In classic whodunit fashion, there is a murder early on in the festivities and everyone from the house staff to the unique guests all have reasons to be the prime suspect.
Nominated for seven Academy Awards, Gosford Park features some of the best writing, directing, and acting the genre has to offer. I mean, where else are you going to see Maggie Smith, Charles Dance, Stephen Fry, Kelly Macdonald, and Clive Owen in a movie that plays like a combination of Clue and Downton Abbey?
Well, that should certainly be enough Clive Owen movies and TV shows to hold you over for the time being. If you’ve seen all of these already, there are other members of the Impeachment: American Crime Story cast that have plenty of movies and shows to check out.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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