Before 99: Mr Mendes mainly worked in the theatre with directing credits on things such as Cabaret, Oliver! And Twelth Night. He switched to film in 1999.
The 1999 film: American Beauty, treading similar lines to Fight Club, this was a gentler approach with the satire focussed on suburban America. Kevin Spacey in a role turned down by Tom Hanks, changed his career completely with his sensitive, funny and likeable turn as Lester Burnham who in his early forties is awoken from a slumber by his daughter’s teenage friend and then re-discovers weed and working out and realises that something horrible has been happening with his family the whole time. American Beauty is a classic, no question, the writing, the directing and everything come together to make Alan Ball’s wonderful script really sing. It rightfully won a whole heap of awards and was a sleeper hit worldwide.
Post 1999: Mendes came back to cinema in 2002, working with Tom Hanks on the underrated graphic novel adaptation Road to Perdition, the film never really got its due but has one of Hanks best turns anyway and crucially it was the first time he worked with Daniel Craig. Mendes next three films received mixed responses and went under most radars, Jarhead seemed to lack a point and then there was bruising marriage collapse drama Revolutionary Road and the charming indie road trip Away We Go. Mendes returned to more widespread acclaim in 2012 with the best Bond movie in decades in Skyfall which he will follow-up with another Bond sometime in 2015.