Any period drama hinges on three things to become a success — the genuineness of its screenplay, the polarisation of its protagonists and the visual extravaganza. Wolfgang Peterson's Troy, based on the Greek epic Iliad, scores superbly on all these criteria, although the film didn't score that well with critics. Watch it for the ensemble cast playing their roles to perfection, the awesome battle scenes, the explosive dialogues but above all for Eric Bana in the role of Hector.
Every time I watch this Steven Spielberg masterpiece, based on a novel by Thomas Kennelly, I have discovered something new. Be it the fabulous editing where each scene merges into the next effortlessly yet meaningfully, giving the viewer a piece of perspective; the only feature in colour (the little girl in red) in the otherwise intentionally black and white movie; the nakedness, both in the figurative and the actual sense, the shocking atrocities committed on the Polish Jews by the Nazis, the rock solid characterisation of the three main protagonists and above all the dialogues which are extra ordinary. This multiple Oscar winner was declared the best movie on the Holocaust. In my opinion, it is simply everything that a movie should be.
Francis Ford Coppola
Godfather directed by Francis Ford Coppola and immortalised by the skills of Marlon Brando, Al Pacino among others is an institution in film making. This pioneering movie, based on the novel by Mario Puzo, about the Italian mafia in and around New York City was followed by two sequels and still continues to inspire many film makers across the globe. The ways and wisdom of the don are awe-inspiring and yet, he is not infallible. More than the drama it is the technical aspects of the film that keep me hooked — the camera work which actually accentuates every character is a highlight. Any movie buff, should watch this film, at least thrice.
Someone who likens life to a box of chocolates, despite being born disabled and is definitely worth lending your ears to. That's Forrest Gump. A child with low IQ he takes the viewer on a roller-coaster of a journey becomes a football star, a decorated Vietnam veteran, a ping-pong champ, the trigger to unearthing Watergate, a millionaire selling shrimp, a marathoner criss-crossing America and so much more. Yet the love of his life keeps eluding him. Tom Hanks in the title role has essayed a character which is truly unique. Just as Forrest is so many lives rolled into one, similarly the movie can't be characterised under a single genre.
Robert De Niro is widely accepted as the father of method acting and it all began with this movie, where he played the role of Travis Bickle, an ex-Marine who after serving in Vietnam drives cabs for a living in New York. Martin Scorsese delves deep into the mind of his protagonist who can never truly shake off the feeling of being a misfit in society and becomes increasingly disgusted with the dark truths of the city, which he encounters during his night rides. De Niro's embodiment of the character is one that grabs you by the gut and never lets go. Accompanied by Scorsese's fascinating camera work and the way he has depicted the big bad city, Taxi Driver will always continue to be a cult movie and a landmark of 1970s Hollywood.
Those that almost made it
Good Will Hunting: Gus Van Sant
The Dark Knight: Christopher Nolan
Blood Diamond: Edward Zwick
Gladiator: Ridley Scott
Philadelphia: Jonathan Demme
A Few Good Men: Rob Reiner
Love Actually: Richard Curtis
Kirti Swarup Rath is a senior software engineer with Cognizant Technology Solutions, Chennai.