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The Clive Owen roles that make us ask: where has this incredible actor been?


We love ourselves a bit of Clive Owen. The unassuming, Coventry-born star has gone on to build a massive Hollywood career, continuing this week with his role as an outer-space commander in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Still, we can't help but think we're being deprived of more Clive than is necessary. So to mark Valerian's release, we've rounded up his greatest roles.

Croupier (1999)

This gambling drama was Clive's calling card movie (pun intended), pairing him with legendary Get Carter director Mike Hodges for a shadowy look at the murky side of casino life. The actor's low-key charisma and brooding charm (Owen himself insists he acts entirely through the eyes) was already evident here.

Gosford Park (2001)

You know you've made it in the movies when cinema institution Robert Altman casts you in his latest opus. The esteemed Short Cuts director assembled an extraordinary ensemble for his slyly funny country house murder mystery, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon and Helen Mirren among them. Full credit to Clive for standing out amidst the A-listers as a secretive valet.

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Clive only has a small role in this sensational Doug Liman/Matt Damon action-thriller, one that gave the 21st century spy movie a kick in the pants. However it's a significant one, his stone-cold assassin The Professor ultimately passing onto Jason Bourne (Damon) the haunting line of dialogue that will be repeated at the end of 2007's Ultimatum.

Closer (2004)

Patrick Marber's acidic, venomous play made for scalding big screen drama under the tutelage of The Graduate director Mike Nichols. Throwing us headlong into the sexual anxieties of a group of not-altogether-sympathetic characters, it offers a plum role to Owen as self-serving dermatologist Larry, a role that scored him an all-important Oscar nomination.

Sin City (2005)

We wouldn't have associated Brit Clive with the stylised, hard-boiled noir of Frank Miller's sensational graphic novel. But the actor acquits himself well as vengeance-seeking Dwight in this eye-popping blast of violence. It's a movie full of surprises, speckling its black and white palette with the odd splash of colour, and Owen's tough performance is one of its high points.

Inside Man (2006)

Chalk up another celebrated director on Clive's CV. For this gritty bank robbery thriller he joined forces with Do the Right Thing's Spike Lee, playing the devious ringleader of a group of thieves who appears one step ahead of the police at every turn. It's ostensibly star Denzel Washington's show, but Owen steals it.

Children of Men (2006)

Clive's best film? It's got to be this, Alfonso Cuaron's despairing yet utterly engrossing look at a future Britain on the verge of collapse. Clive is superb as the ordinary Joe compelled to protect the mother of mankind's final hope, finding human resonance in both the small details (his character Theo being caught in battle without suitable shoes) and the grandiose flourishes (the extraordinary war-torn tracking shot that has since gone down in cinema history).

Shoot 'Em Up (2007)

A far more ridiculous offering from Clive, and one that's a whole lot of fun as his carrot-chomping drifter character Mr. Smith must protect a baby from Paul Giamatti's nefarious villain Hertz. The movie's deliberately outrageous violence and set-piece sequences (including lovemaking during a shootout) alienated many audiences at the time but it's gone on to achieve cult status.

Can't wait to see Clive back on the big screen? Then click here to book your tickets for Valerian and share your favourite roles of his @Cineworld.