Review: The Films of Danny Dyer by Jonathan Sothcott and James Mullinger (5/5)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Danny Dyer is Britain’s most popular young film star. Idolised by Harold Pinter and with his films having taken nearly $50 million at the UK box office, Dyer is the most bankable star in British independent films with one in ten of the country’s population owning one of his films on DVD. 

With iconic performances in such cult classics as The Business, The Football Factory, Dead Man Running, Outlaw and now Vendetta, Dyer is one of the most recognisable Englishmen in the world. 

For the first time, and with its’ subject’s full co-operation, this book chronicles his film career in depth, combining production background with critical analysis to paint a fascinating picture of the contemporary British film industry and its brightest star. Packed with anecdotes from co-stars and colleagues, as well as contributions from the man himself, The Films of Danny Dyer is the ultimate companion to the work of Britain’s grittiest star.

I am unashamedly a huge Danny Dyer fan but this book completely passed me by when it was released just a few months ago. He's definitely one of my favourite British actors. What annoys me the most is criticism about him either in the press, or from people in real life who slate him. I've had many heated discussions with people who question why I like him. Why? Because he's a brilliant actor and has remained grounded and humble despite his success. Danny has also worked for everything he's got, no handouts or nepotism here.

And he has been in what I consider to be some of the best British films. My personal favourites being The Business, Borstal Boy (a film nobody I ask has watched!) and Vendetta. Vendetta being probably, for me, one of the best British films ever made. It's just brilliant. Of course he's been in some questionable films, but he is the first to admit it. I don't think there's many actors out there who would Tweet a fan about to watch one of their films telling them that it's shit. But that's just another reason why I like him.

This book was fantastic. Jonathan Sothcott, film producer and James Mullinger are both friends of Danny and speak very highly of him. But they do stress that the book isn't all about how amazing Danny is and how fantastic his career has been. They do highlight the duds and aren't afraid to point out the negative bits. That said though the press jump on the films that haven't done well however there's reasons why for a lot of them, small cinema releases/straight to video. The book is incredibly detailed and covers all of the films Danny has appeared in and has appendixes for shorts, uncompleted films and TV appearances. I consider myself a pretty big fan of Danny Dyer but this book was so well researched, well written and detailed that there was so much in here that I hadn't read before.

Books like this I usually see as ones you can pick up intermittently or just read random parts from, well I read the whole thing from cover to cover in just over a day. It isn't just a cut and paste job with the film blurb and a few facts. It's very analytical and contains a fair bit of material taken from interviews with Danny both at the time of the films releases and since then and brilliant anecdotes from friends and colleagues. Anyone who knows him knows he has a way with words and some of the lines here were brilliant. My particular favourite being the quote about playing a gay character. I have even more respect for him as an actor and as a person after reading this book.

I think most people in the UK have an opinion of Danny. I think this book is perfect for his fans but I also think anybody who has ever had a negative opinion about him should read it too. There aren't many actors in Britain as hard working as him or as down to Earth as him and I don't think any of the bad press or bad comments he sometimes gets are warranted. Those close to him, friends, and colleagues such as Helen Mirren have nothing but praise for him and I think a few people could change their opinions should they read this book. 2011 was a bit of a worrying year for Danny with work drying up. Well along came Vendetta and then EastEnders and I think it's only going to get better for Danny. For me he has completely revitalized EastEnders with the introduction of the Carters. He is also still managing to make films alongside appearing in the show and I can't wait to see what's to come in the future (Vendetta 2!!!) This book has made me an even bigger fan and I've already got a Dyer film marathon planned for my next week off work (and speaking of work I still haven't got over the fact he was in my work a few years ago when I wasn't! Hope to meet him one day).

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