Watching Daniel Craig in whitewashed jeans, a bomber jacket, and a pair of sparkly white Adidas is, frankly, bizarre. Without the assuredness earned through his tenure as 007, Craig’s starring spot in “Smoke Wrings” — an episode in the final season of Tales From The Crypt — jitters with inexperience. Craig still summons a watchable performance in what can only be described as a resume-filler. It’s not the worst episode in HBO’s horror anthology, but arriving at the tail end of its reign, it’s not the best either.
On the plus side, it’s under 25 minutes. Craig plays a cocksure young lad called Barry who bounds into the office of a reputable ad agency with the swagger of a pre-neutered tom chucked into a room full of raging lady cats. His confidence, told explicitly through his everyman aphorisms, lands him the gig and he proceeds to wow the female exec, making his predecessor look like a buffoon. Turns out Craig is roped into a scheme by the company’s scorned co-founder who was booted out and now seeks revenge by using a device that affects people’s desires.
You can’t quite say “Well that episode was a bit far-fetched wasn’t it?” because every episode of Tales From The Crypt is far-fetched. Whereas the show’s stronger stuff asks questions framed in bonkers scenarios, “Smoke Wrings” offers a sting-in-the-tail as compensation for the shonky acting and fucked-up plot contrivances which precede it.
That’s not why we’re here. We’re watching this for 1996-era Daniel Craig, for the man who would become Bond. It’s hard to believe that that unblemished youngster would ever cock a Walther PPK and seduce Monica Bellucci.