AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999)
A walk on the weirder side of American suburbia, starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, that won five Oscars and earned the debut director the nickname of "Midas Mendes".
ROAD TO PERDITION (2002)
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Hollywood royalty in the shape of Tom Hanks and Paul Newman join Mendes for a tale of American gangsters and a son finding out what his father really does for a living.
Mendes gets boots on the ground in a Desert War-linked action movie starring Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal. The experience would come in handy when it came to Skyfall.
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (2008)
Mendes's adaptation of Richard Yates's modern classic had undoubted star power in Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, but its slow-burn style divided audiences.
AWAY WE GO (2009)
An Edinburgh Film Festival premiere for Mendes's comedy drama about a young couple facing parenthood. A world away from the Bond days to come.