Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances


Idris Elba is a big and very handsome lump of charisma on-screen and in real life. He was reportedly offered a role in the next James Bond movie, and he would absolutely crush it, but they didn’t like that Elba was a bit too old. This would mean they’d only be able to milk him for two or maybe three movies. He dodged a bullet, if you ask us, as thanks to his charm and acting skills, the 50-year-old actor is now free to choose whatever role he wants without getting toxic tweets from idiots not understanding that 007 is a title.

Either way, to celebrate Idris Elba’s birthday, we’ve made a short list of his best and most memorable roles!

1. The Wire (2002-2008)

One of the best TV series in history, according to many critics and a whole army of fans. It’s about the ins and outs of the Baltimore police, who use wiretaps to fight crime. That’s the premise, but there’s much more to it: corruption, human trafficking, drugs, personal drama, etc. The still relatively unknown Elba plays an extremely slippery boss of the drug mafia who refuses to be caught.

The Wire | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar

2. Luther (2010-2019)

One of Idris Elba’s most incredible projects is, by far, Luther. In this psychological crime drama, much more focus is put on the relations between the characters than on the actual criminal cases handled by the police. John Luther, a no-bullcrap detective, has outstanding investigative skills, but at the same time, he’s a wildcard with no regard for the rules. After letting a female criminal get too close, Luther sets off a ticking time bomb that becomes more of a threat with each new season. 

Luther | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar

3. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

Danny Boyle’s successful post-apocalyptic thriller about a virus pandemic that turns people into feral killers got a sequel directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Surprisingly, it turned out quite well! The 2007 project received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the audience and a good box office haul. In the original, 28 days have passed since the beginning of the pandemic, and London is pretty much destroyed. In the sequel, it’s been 28 weeks, and by this time, Britain is being taken over by the military to begin rebuilding the country. That’s where Elba’s character comes in.

28 Weeks Later | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar

4. Molly’s Game (2017)

In this true-life crime drama, Molly Bloom had to abandon her hopes for a big sport due to an injury. In search of a job, she starts working in a large underground casino, later establishing her own, and poaching the main clients. Stakes in the casino are getting too high, so there is a high risk of pissing off powerful people. Sooner or later, such activity may cost her more than money. But with the help of Charlie Jaffey, played by Idris Elba, she might have a chance.

Molly's Game | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar

5. The Suicide Squad (2021)

James Gunn set a condition for the studio that he would work on this project only if they did not interfere with the filming process. There was no way it would be worse than “Batman v. Superman,” so DC gave Gunn their blessing. And it worked. Thanks to Gunn’s particular sense of humor, the superhero action movie turned out exactly as it should — cheerful, dynamic, spicy, and a little bit weird. It may not be Gunn’s best film, but it’s definitely worth watching, especially since Idris Elba is the main star of the show.

The Suicide Squad | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar

6. Pacific Rim (2013)

Huge monsters started appearing through a rift between the worlds formed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Humanity’s only hope for survival was the Jaeger program, which was basically developed to build gigantic robots controlled by humans. After a while, when it seemed like the monsters crawled back into their hole, things got worse, as new, bigger and badder Kaiju started appearing. Now Idris Elba, as the head of the Jaeger project, has to figure out how to defeat the new foes.

Pacific Rim | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar

7. Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Beasts of No Nation is a fundamentally different film. In a way, it summarizes the situation with the bloody and brutal wars in Africa in the 21st century without mentioning where exactly the events take place. The war destroyed the entire adult male population of one of the villages, leaving only a child, who was taken away by the soldiers, one of which was played by Elba. Now the boy will have to grow up fast because war and a happy childhood are incompatible.

Beasts Of No Nation | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar

8. Star Trek Beyond (2016)

The new “Star Trek” reboots were a real delight for the fans, and the 2016 sequel was not an exception as it had Idris Elba as the bad guy. Well, he wasn’t always evil, per se. Rather he descended into the dark side, saving the lives of himself and his crew. He used ancient technology and became the despotic ruler of an alien planet, obsessed with the thirst for revenge against the Federation, which he believed abandoned them.

Star Trek Beyond | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar

9. Thor (2011)

The first Thor movie introduced the Asgardian siblings – Thor and Loki, but aside from that, it was not all that memorable. That is, until you first lay your eyes upon the keeper of the Rainbow Bridge — Heimdall, played by Elba. On the other hand, there’s also Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin, whose acting genius should not be discounted. You know what? Maybe that movie is not as bad as people want it to be!

Thor | Idris Elba Hits 50: Top 9 Best Performances | Zestradar