Sam Claflin is one of our greatest young talents. His performances in a whole array of genres have helped his career soar and accumulate a great deal of fans along the way (including us, we LOVE him,) The actor, hailing from Suffolk, bounced into our lives in television series The Pillars of the Earth. But it’s his inclusion in franchises such as The Hunger Games and Pirates of the Caribbean that launched him as one movie star to keep an eye on. Yet Claflin is unafraid to get into the dirt and excavate a grim, hapless, or villainous role. That’s what really makes him special.
Now he tackles war and mental health in Saul Dibb’s stirring drama Journey’s End. To celebrate his starring role, we’re looking at the best of the actor!
Honourable Mention: While we certainly had a few tears in our eyes during romantic drama Me Before You, we had to leave it off our main list.
The Riot Club (2014)
Perhaps the first film where you can see the intricacies of Claflin’s acting skill and how he can transform into a beastly and slimy character. In The Riot Club, Lone Scherfig’s movie about high society students acting awfully because of their entitlement, Claflin is a main draw. Here, he excels in a sea of plum voices all equally brilliant and deplorable as the next. Though his performance is perforated by that of Max Irons, Freddie Fox, Douglas Booth and the lovely Ben Schnetzer, Claflin is vilified and it’s a stunning loathed role. He captures the essence of Alistair and unravels it with ingenuity. Starting off coaxing slight empathy as he is backlashed against by his family, Iron’s Milo and is even mugged, Claflin dwindles his mad sense of entitlement in an enthralling way. Lyle’s viewpoint of his comforted world has turned into rage, one that he uses to undermine those he think are beneath him. Claflin’s talent is to not exude it with straight-on ferociousness but placates the anger so it boils under astute facial expressions and eye flickers. When that steam rises to straight-up bile from his mouth, you loathe him, which is a stellar turn from the likeable Claflin.
My Cousin Rachel (2017)
The growing talent of Sam Claflin has been a phenomenal one indeed. And he turns his astute talents to the role of Phillip, a heir who becomes enthralled with the widow of his late cousin (played phenomenally well by Rachel Weisz) These are palpable qualities that he brings to the role of Phillip. As the young heir and farm-owner, he commands the screen with is a waspish and irritable man but layered with fascinating emotions and a beguiling innocence. This is all flourished with Claflin’s performance as he dominates with Phillip, making us yearn and burn alongside him.
Their Finest (2017)
A story about screenwriters crafting propaganda during WW2 may not seem interesting but Lone Scherfig’s brilliantly layered film is greatly entertaining. Here Claflin plays Buckley, a pompous and maddening writer who has a plethora of character development that the talented (but unrecognisable) Claflin fleshes out. He is impossibly charming in his disconcerting manner, and Claflin makes him meaty and real. It helps that he has an abundance of chemistry with our leading star Arterton and their friendship sparks throughout the film.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Catching Fire is one of the best book adaptations of all time. It is also one of the greatest Young Adult films ever. It is astonishing. Kinetic, dark, beautiful, and rich with detailed themes, the movie went beyond The Hunger Games premise and crafted a masterpiece action drama. Claflin is a welcome addition to the series as Finnick Odair. A previous winner of the Games, he’s considered a “heartthrob” in the Capitol. But like many survivors of the vicious and brutish sport, he has darker elements and is considerable suspicious throughout. Claflin is great balancing this duality where you’re never sure where his loyalties lie until the bitter end.
Journey’s End (2018)
The brutal horrors of war are captured in this mournful and rage filled performance by Sam Claflin. As Captain Stainhope, he is the leader of the squadron in a bloody and brutal dugout. With hope and morale dwindling, Stainhope turns to alcohol to calm his nerves Claflin showcases an immersive talent that really inhibits the roles that he is playing. As Stainhope, he plays a man with enormous responsibility that becomes progressively twisted and rotten due to the countless deaths of his men. If this was a just and fair world, he’d have a BAFTA nominatin for this.