James D’Arcy is a very underexposed and underrated actor. His roles which are usually small or sometimes in unsuccessful films have kept this very talented actor from becoming a household name. It’s a strange situation that just because someone’s films are either commercial failures (Jupiter Ascending), poorly directed (W.E.), or underrated (Cloud Atlas), the talents of the performers can also go unnoticed and without praise. This is an unfortunate thing to happen, after all it’s not always the actor’s fault that a film is less than satisfying, sometimes that’s down to the director, the writer, the editor, the promoters, or a combination. When it comes to D’Arcy, it’s never his performance that hampers a film’s success, in fact he is usually the person to look out for.
It’s funny that the audience and critics can’t see past an average film and notice the talent of one or two of the actors. Along with the underrated Rachel Miner, James D’Arcy played the jittery, awkward (and psychopathic) neighbour in the home invasion thriller In Their Skin very convincingly. With all the problems with the film itself (plot, script etc.) it was James’ acting that kept me engrossed. From In Their Skin, the aforementioned Cloud Atlas to playing Anthony Perkins in Hitchcock, D’Arcy’s performance for me is always enjoyable.
On a side note, in my article about Benedict Cumberbatch, I mentioned the fact that many people out there confuse these two actors. That really is a shame, especially since James D’Arcy in my opinion, is the more gifted actor of the two. To prove this confusion, after posting the Cumberbatch article, I’ve had many people navigating to it after writing search terms such as “Benedict Cumberbatch Cloud Atlas” and other annoyingly similar terms. The fact that Benedict Cumberbatch seems to be getting recognition for films he hasn’t even appeared in is very irritating to say the least.
D’Arcy these days is better known for his television roles in Broadchurch or Agent Carter rather than his film work. It’s unfortunate that he’s taken part in movies such as Let’s Be Cops or Survivor, films that must be pot-boiler work rather than those selected to showcase his skills as an actor. To break from this string of mediocre movies, James D’Arcy will appear in the upcoming Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk, but since he’s not one of the main characters, his performance may once again go unnoticed. Casting directors and the casting department in general, really need to get their act together because they are underusing one of the best actors out there right now. They instead seem to be preferring weaker and less talented people simply because they have acted in more profitable movies. That’s not how filmmaking should work, how will someone ever get out of a casting rut if nobody takes a chance and casts them in a better movie? Until someone breaks this vicious cycle, James D’Arcy will undoubtedly be part of a few more lacklustre films, but if you ignore other less important aspects of his movies and concentrate on his performance, it becomes obvious that D’Arcy is a very talented actor.