Adam Driver's Most Underrated Movies, Ranked

2022-07-20 10:00:14 By : Ms. Evelyn Wang

Adam Driver might be best known for his roles in Girls and the Star Wars sequels, the actor shines in even smaller and more underrated movie parts.

Adam Driver has become one of the most in-demand and well-respected actors in the past few years. A former marine who served for two years and eight months, Driver was medically discharged with the rank of Lance Corporal after he fractured his sternum while mountain biking just before he was to be shipped to Iraq. He then attended Julliard and graduated in 2009, and started appearing in plays on and off Broadway. His breakout role came in 2012 when he was cast in the hit HBO series Girls. Since then Driver has worked with some of the biggest directors in the industry like Spike Lee, Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, The Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch, and Clint Eastwood.

Driver's most popular role is without a doubt Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which catapulted the actor to international superstardom. He has earned two Academy Award nominations, one for Best Supporting Actor in 2018's BlackKklansman and then the following year for Best Actor in 2019's Marriage Story. He recently earned notice for his role in 2021's Annette and will in Noah Baumbach's White Noise, which is set to release on Netflix sometime in 2022 and has been cast in Francis Ford Coppola's passion project Megalopolis. The actor is so popular the popular HBO news series Last Week Tonight With John Oliver made an entire season-long joke about the main host expressing his attraction to the actor (with Driver of course appearing after many call-outs).

Driver has had an incredible career, especially considering it's really been a mere decade, even if he's done more significant work than most actors do in a lifetime. However, he brings a brilliance to even his smaller roles and less acclaimed or popular movies. These are some of Adam Driver's most underrated performances that should not be slept on.

Before Driver was playing Kylo Ren torturing Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron for information about the Resistance, the two co-starred in the Coen Brother's Inside Llewelyn Davis where Isaac plays a folk singer trying to break out in the music scene in the 1960s. Driver appears in one scene as Al Cody and records the song 'Please Mr. Kennedy' with Isaac's and Justin Timberlake's characters.

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Driver makes the most of his one scene as it is both a showcase for the actor's comedic ability with a humorous accent and exaggerated facial expressions that impact his inflection to the song making it both catchy and humorous. A great actor only needs one scene to make an impression, and in this one scene, Driver made it known he was a talent to watch out for.

Due to Driver's sticking appearance and 6ft 2 height he is often cast in intense dramatic roles or characters with a sinister edge to them, so it is nice to see Driver show a different side in the 2013 romantic comedy The F Word (released in some countries as What If) where he plays Allan, the best friend of Daniel Radcliffe's character Wallace and cousin of Zoe Kazan's Chantry.

Driver's role is that of the wacky best friend in many romantic comedies, and what makes it work is that Driver is far from the typical pick for this archetype, but that contrast makes the performance stand out. Driver's low voice oscillating with booming shouts become comedic elements, and him playing the part of a high-sex drive friend in an over-the-top relationship with Mackenzie Davis' Nicole is a great example of just how impactful going against type can be. This film showcases that Driver has the kind of range that, if he wanted to, he could easily be a comedic actor or a new rom-com leading man.

While the last two roles were more comedic, Silence is at the opposite end of the spectrum and is a fully dramatic role in a devastating movie. Silence was a passion project of director Martin Scorsese and tells the story of two 17th-century Jesuit priests Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Driver), who travel from Portugal to Edo-era Japan to locate their missing mentor Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) and spread Catholicism. Garfield is the lead of the film, but Driver is an important supporting character, in many ways acting as the more pragmatic of the duo.

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Driver is only in the first half of the film, and his character meets a tragic end, but the final scene he gets, shot entirely from a distance as the viewer sees from Garfield's POV, illustrates Driver's talents as a performer that even without dialogue and close-ups he can project so much with his body to get every beat across. Silence is filled with powerful performances by Garfield, Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Shinya Tsukamoto, and Issey Ogata, and Driver doesn't only hold his own but stands out in an ensemble cast of some of the best actors working today.

The Last Duel has one of the trickiest roles for any actor to pull off. Directed by Ridley Scott, the film tells the story of a duel between former friends Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) after Carrouges's wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accuses Le Gris of rape, and the story is told from the three characters' perspectives, showcasing the contrasting views of the situation, but with Marguerite's rightfully treated as the true account. Driver has a difficult role to balance, as he has to play the same version of a character from three different perspectives, offering slight variations while also making sure they are believable extensions.

His act of sexual violence also makes him the villain of the story and needs to show the two different perspectives in the account that showcase his crime and how he justifies it to himself. The role was originally written for Ben Affleck, as he would star opposite his friend Matt Damon, but Affleck wisely takes the role of Count Pierre d'Alençon, fitting his persona. Driver can take the roguish good looks that earned him legions of fans as Kylo Ren to his advantage, at first creating a disarming quality to him as the good contrast to Damon's at-time boorish knight. However, the film uses that to pull the rug out from underneath the audience, with Driver using his height, intensity, and low voice to eventually create a terrifying character.

Much like The Last Duel itself, which was a box office disappointment grossing $30 million worldwide against a budget of $100 million and released at the beginning phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, Driver's performance was overlooked by many but is one that should not be forgotten. It certainly made an impact on director Ridley Scott as he cast him in his following movie, House of Gucci, which because of the COVID-19 pandemic was also delayed, and was released the following month after The Last Duel.

Richard Fink is a writer who graduated from Arizona State University in 2016 with a degree in Film and Media Production. He loves the finer things in life, like cold Diet Coke on a hot summer day. Richard is a fan of all things Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and Film History.