The Wolf Of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese

An adaptation of the memoir of the infamous American stockbroker Jordan Belfort, this is a movie that tingles all the senses. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Belfort, a master stockbroker who and later goes on to become a millionaire. Belfort’s lifestyle is replete with sex, drugs, money and more money. His aggressive pitching style makes him a legend in the stock-broking world. He raises the standards of living of many of his colleagues, yet comes under the FBI scanner for money laundering, corruption and fraud. His own close associate Donnie (Jonah Hill) betrays him and Belfort is imprisoned for 36 months. The film was nominated for five Oscars, but did not win any.

American Hustle

David O. Russell

From a screenplay written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, loosely based on an FBI operation in the 1980s American Hustle is irreverent, funny and satirical. It is the story of two con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), who run an illegal loan business called London Associates. When they’re busted by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), Rosenfeld and Prosser are forced to help the FBI to con corrupt politicians. But the con gets more complicated with every turn. The only way for Rosenfeld and Prosser to escape is to hustle. And hustle they do.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller

In 1939 The New Yorker published a short story of the same name written by James Thurber. Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is an employee of Life magazine and is required to find a missing cover photograph for the magazine’s last print issue. Mitty decides to head out into the world, find Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) and retrieve a negative before the deadline and this journey takes him to Greenland, Iceland and finally to the Himalayas where he finds Sean photographing a Snow Leopard. Sean asks Mitty to look for the cover shot’s negative in the wallet that he had sent Mitty. Mitty retrieves and finds out that the final cover shot was a tribute to the staff and had Walter Mitty examining the negatives.

The Tree Of Life

Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life is about the inner crisis of a tormented man in his middle years and the terrible unchangeability of his past. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of his childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence and credibility of faith. The movie portrays the concept of psychological conflict very well. It also won an award in the 2011 Cannes International Film Festival.

The Godfather II

Francis Ford Coppola

Partially based on Puzo’s 1969 novel The Godfather, the film is both sequel and prequel to The Godfather, presenting parallel dramas: one picks up the 1958 story of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), the new Don of the Corleone crime family; the prequel covers the journey of his father, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), from his harrowing childhood escape from Sicily to the desperate founding of his family enterprise in New York. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards and the first sequel to win for Best Picture, its six Oscars included Best Director for Coppola, Best Supporting Actor for De Niro and Best Adapted Screenplay for Coppola and Puzo.

Those that almost made it

The Godfather: Francis Ford Coppola

Blood Diamond: Edward Zwick

Argo: Ben Affleck

Inception: Christopher Nolan

The Life of Pi: Ang Lee

Sandeep S. is a student of journalism based in Bangalore.