Is method man Daniel Day-Lewis the finest actor of his generation? Very possibly so. He's one of the few, who need nothing more that a decent script to turn in a mesmerizing performance.
In the Name of the Father
In his portrayal of Jerry Conlon, who served 16 years in a British prison for a trial he didn't commit, Day-Lewis gets the Northern Irish accent spot on, which is no easy task. The range of emotions displayed by the character encompass the full spectrum and mostly in the minimalistic setting of a prison cell.
There Will Be Blood
An Oscar-winning performance as Daniel Plainview could only ever have been played by Day-Lewis. This is his film, from its compelling opening to its nihilistic conclusion, every minute belongs to Day-Lewis. Respect also to Paul Dano for a support performance that fully enables Plainview's fury to flourish. This scene gave us the wonderful 'I drink your milkshake'meme.
The Gangs of New York
Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting is possibly the angriest man in film and the great thing about Day-Lewis' performance is that he did it quietly. An exercise in acting with what you don't say rather than what you do, this is Day Lewis at his best in a film that promised so much yet failed to deliver in so many ways.
The Insurance Man
A 1986 British television film in which Day-Lewis plays the title character, an insurance man who is called to investigate a claim by a young dye worker that his job is responsible for his illness. The main character was modelled on Franz Kafka and although, at the very beginning of his career and somewhat raw, his talent is wholly evident. A low-budget production, you can see a chasm of difference between Day-Lewis and the supporting cast.
My Left Foot
The film won him his first Oscar and catapulted him into super stardom. He plays the real life Irish artist and writer Christy Brown who suffered from cerebral palsy. Directed by Jim Sheridan, Day-Lewis famously stayed in character for the whole filming, never leaving his wheel chair