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Six Definitive Films: The ultimate beginner's guide to Jude Law

Throughout his prolific career, English actor Jude Law has worked with the best and the brightest, ranging from Steven Spielberg and Sam Mendes to Wong Kar-wai and Martin Scorsese. Law’s filmography is more impressive than many of the biggest stars today, with the actor eventually branching out into mainstream projects such as the Fantastic Beasts franchise as well as other television work.

Born in South London, Law was attracted to the performing arts from an early age and joined the National Youth Music Theatre when he was a teenager to take on acting parts in productions. Since his early days, Law was recognised as a promising young talent who earned nominations for coveted accolades such as the Laurence Olivier Award.

Recently, Law has appeared in a wide variety of projects such as The Rhythm Section and The Nest. During the pandemic, he also prepared for the highly-anticipated next instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series and is also set to take on the iconic role of Captain Hook in Peter Pan & Wendy. “I’m so proud of how quickly the British film industry got back up and got all these people back to work,” Law said.

Check out a list of some of the definitive works starring the endlessly talented Jude Law.

Jude Law’s six definitive films:

Gattaca (Andrew Niccol, 1997)

Andrew Niccol’s 1997 sci-fi project Gattaca is often hailed as an underrated masterpiece which was ahead of its time. It imagines a perfectly possible world where children are engineered rather than given birth to, created through careful genetic selection to ensure that the best product is manufactured.

In this dystopian world, as a consequence, there are social distinctions which separate those with the perfect genes from the rest. Ethan Hawke stars as one of the latter, having to face discrimination for his genetic makeup but getting by with the help of his friend (Law).

The Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella, 1999)

Although Alain Delon’s Mr. Ripley will forever be the definitive rendition of this charismatic character, Matt Damon is surprisingly competent as Ripley – a confidence artist who scams his way into elite society by committing every morally questionable act possible which the elite often get away with.

It all starts when a wealthy man asks Ripley to convince his son (played by Law) to return from Italy where is currently enjoying life and spending his time in the company of beautiful women. Ripley ends up borrowing that very personality to make his mark in life.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg, 2001)

Steven Spielberg’s 2001 film A.I. was a project that had been handed to him by another pioneer of the sci-fi genre, Stanley Kubrick. Spielberg neither disappointed Kubrick nor the audiences, constructing an emotionally moving story about an android in the body of a child who has been programmed to love.

Law is fantastic as a robot which is used as a male sex worker, an object of desire created by humans and then abused by them. He forms a special connection with the young child who slowly learns about the difficulties of living in a society where human prejudices dominate the cultural fabric.

Closer (Mike Nichols, 2004)

Closer is a cinematic translation of a celebrated play by Patrick Marber which was intended to be a modern interpretation of an opera by Mozart. Revolving solely around the dramatic work of the stellar central cast, Closer is an intense psychological treatment of the romantic drama genre.

Starring alongside the likes of Julie Roberts, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen, Closer tells the story of four people whose lives intersect in strange ways. Creating a romantically charged, psychosexual environment where human interactions are amplified, Closer features some of Law’s best acting work.

My Blueberry Nights (Wong Kar-wai, 2007)

My Blueberry Nights is thought of as an anomaly in the filmography of Wong Kar-wai by many, even referred to as his “first critical failure.” Such claims usually follow up with the statement that Wong’s journey into the American landscape as well as the unfamiliar terrain of English-language filmmaking did not translate well.

However, My Blueberry Nights is a beautiful film which retains its magic if it is not constantly compared to some of Wong’s other achievements like Chungking Express because it was intended to be different. Jude Law is downright dreamy as Jeremy, a heartbroken lover from Manchester who runs a quiet café in New York.

Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

Martin Scorsese’s Hugo was an interesting landmark in the revered director’s career because it was the first time that he tried his hand at making a film which was going to be viewed through 3D technology. According to Scorsese, the 3D element brought out more of an emotional force from the actors.

There may be some truth to that claim because Hugo is a fascinating cinematic experience, chronicling a mysterious series of events involving a young boy who struggles to draw the connections between his father’s (played by Law) mechanical creations and the cinematic pioneer Georges Méliès.