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Daniel Radcliffe's Best Indie Movies, Ranked

The star of the recently released Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Daniel Radcliffe has had quite the acting career from a very young age. At 12 years old, he was already rising to fame as the famous titular character in the Harry Potter movie franchise. Having played the internationally loved character for over a decade, it took the British actor quite some time to shed Harry Potter’s weight on his shoulders and resist being seen only as the Boy Wizard.

Becoming one of the highest-paid actors due to his Harry Potter fame, Radcliffe went on to make a name for himself outside the franchise with movies such as The Woman in Black,Victor Frankenstein, and Now You See Me 2. Indeed, Radcliffe hasn’t shied away from joining indie movie productions, and, in fact, per CBC, has utilized this arena of filmmaking to prove his worth as an actor, divorced from Harry Potter and franchise filmmaking. Here are his best.

Directed by Jesper Ganslandt, Beast of Burden is an American crime action film starring Radcliffe in the lead role as Sean. The plot follows an ex-Air Force pilot who has to complete his last drug-smuggling mission across the U.S./Mexico border. Not only does he have to smuggle the drugs with no mishaps, he also has to deal with the cartel, Drug Enforcement Administration, and his broken marriage at the same time. Although it may not be everyone’s type of film and the reviews didn’t really do it justice, we think it deserves at least a place on our list.

Related: Daniel Radcliffe’s Best Movies That Aren’t Harry Potter

Written and directed by a New Zealand filmmaker Jason Lei Howden, Guns Akimbo is an action comedy film starring Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, and Ned Dennehy in the lead roles. Set in an alternate near-future, the story follows an underground criminal organization who streams illegal fights between deadly criminals online. Radcliffe’s character Miles Lee Harris, an IT programmer, wants to voice his distaste for the organization, but instead gets kidnapped and put against the game’s deadliest killer. The movie disassembles the action hero trope by giving Harris guns for hands as a tool of violence, which in turn makes it harder to properly dress himself. It’s probably one of the weirdest movies you’ll ever watch, but the ridiculousness of it instantly pulls you in.

Prepare for a wild ride with this one. Written and directed by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, Swiss Army Man is an absurdist black comedy starring Radcliffe and Paul Dano in the lead roles. It tells the story of Hank Thompson (Dano), a man stranded on an island, who uses Manny’s (Radcliffe) dead corpse to find his way home, but ends up befriending it once the corpse starts grasping the concept of the English language. Many tend to focus on the necrophilic aspects of the plot, but completely ignore how it’s truly about a suicidal man who learns to appreciate life by befriending a corpse. Hank arguably learns to also accept his attraction to men, as well as welcome his autism as an inseparable part of him.

Based on the book Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Prison, Escape From Pretoria is an Australian prison film co-written and directed by Francis Annan. Starring Radcliffe and Daniel Webber in the lead roles, the movie tells the real-life story about three political prisoners who manage to escape from prison in South Africa in 1979. Tim Jenkin (Radcliffe) and Stephen Lee (Webber) were two white anti-apartheid protesters who got sentenced to 12 and eight years in prison, respectively, for their political activities. It’s arguably one of Radcliffe’s best movies to date. It highlights the concept of freedom being a simple idea, yet so easily lost and snatched away from us.

Related: Daniel Radcliffe Gets Weird in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Trailer

The F Word — or released in some countries as What If — is a romantic comedy film directed by Michael Dowse. Starring Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in the lead roles, the plot follows Wallace and Chantry who happen to accidentally meet and click, but decide to be “friends,” because Chantry has a boyfriend. The movie explores the uncertainties of life, unresolved feelings, and taking the safe route to avoid disappointments or heartbreak. Despite the predictability of the movie, what sets it apart from the rest is that none of them sacrifices their career for relationships. The simplicity can get a little boring, but the heartfelt funny moments scattered throughout the movie help keep your attention and expectations.

Last but not least, we have the queer masterpiece written by Austin Bunn and directed by John Krokidas. Kill Your Darlings is a biographical drama movie starring Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan in the lead roles as the Beat generation writers Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr, respectively. It depicts the college days of early members of the Beat generation, their interactions and relationships, and, more significantly, the murder of David Kammerer by Carr himself. Although odd at times, the movie is instantly likable. The performances are stronger than they’ve ever been, the cuts in the movie are clear (especially during their drug-trips mixed with reality), and it gives a new insight into the famous generation of writers.

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