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(Credit: BBC)

Film

Idris Elba named his favourite film of all time

Idris Elba is one of the most prominent acting talents of our time, known for his wonderful performances in culturally significant projects such as The Wire. In recent years, Elba has branched out into other areas and has starred in many popular superhero films such as Avengers: Infinity War as well as the 2021 version of The Suicide Squad.

However, his most tenure as Stringer Bell in The Wire remains the apotheosis of his career. Since the final seasons of the show was released, it has been constantly cited as one of the greatest television series in the history of the medium and a recent survey taken by various critics even ranked The Wire as the most influential show of the 21st century.

David Simon’s dizzying opus definitely deserves all that praise and then some more. The Wire is a thorough sociological thesis on the machinations of crime in modern America, analysed through various lenses of race and gender. The show also investigates the corrupt institutions that govern such criminal activities, often exploiting the sociopolitical issues to their advantage.

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Elba delivers the performance of his lifetime as Stringer Bell, the voice of reason running a criminal empire on the streets of Baltimore. An educated and logical individual, Bell studies economic theory to legitimise his drug empire and transform it into a clean business but he succumbs to even more dangerous criminals – the dirty politicians who run the game.

Since then, Elba has gone on to star in various projects including the 2021 Netflix western The Harder They Fall which was a revision of the genre by Jeymes Samuel who set out to make a Black western. The film was applauded by critics and audience members and even managed to win several prestigious accolades during its festival run.

During this period, Elba was also attached to a future James Bond project after Daniel Craig decided to step down from the iconic role following No Time to Die. While it was reported that the actor had engaged in informal talks with the producers and the executives, no confirmation has emerged yet about Craig’s successor who will carry the legacy of the character into a new era.

In an interview, Elba was asked to name some of the cinematic masterpieces that had the most impact on him and he started out by claiming that his favourite film of all time had been Martin Scorsese’s celebrated gem Goodfellas. However, that changed when he saw another classic from 1931.

“For a long time it was Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, and then I saw a film called The Champ,” Elba explained while talking about his preferences when it came to cinema. “It’s a tearjerker of a movie, man. It’s real old. There’s this little boy, and he’s yelling: ‘Come on, champ! You can get up in the ring again, champ!’ It’s a good one.”

Directed by King Vidor, this pre-Code gem stars Wallace Beery as a washed up boxer who struggles with alcoholism. However, he sets out on a personal quest to build his life back up just to ensure that his son leads a better life. The Champ ended up getting multiple nominations at the Academy Awards, with Beery winning for Best Actor.

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