The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
With a title as revealing as this, it is the journey more than the destination that the viewer needs to savour in this exquisitely crafted epic. Brad Pitt stars as Jesse James, a notorious American outlaw of the 1800s, who puts in the near ‘performance of the film' only to be pipped marginally by the brilliant Casey Affleck who plays the coward Robert Ford. The film chronicles the last few months of the outlaw's life, his deteriorating morale, and his life-threatening friendship with an admirer who turns out to be his assassin. Awesome cinematography by Roger Deakins, competent acting, assured direction, and one of the best-ever picturised train robbery scenes make this epic a must-watch for the connoisseur of good old Hollywood cinema.
Based on the autobiography of the middleweight boxer Jake La Motta, this film chronicles the rise and fall of a boxing champion. Scorsese, himself back from the jaws of death after a drug overdose in real life, seemed to have found the perfect emotional and artistic outlet through this film. Robert DeNiro in arguably his best role ever, puts in a performance that is draining physically (he participated in real boxing matches to portray the young boxer) and emotionally. Then there is Joe Pesci a struggling actor till then, who plays Joey LaMotta, Jake's brother, and the rest as they say, is history. Famous for its perfectly choreographed boxing scenes and the black and white tone that gives the film its authenticity, Raging Bull is not as much about boxing as it is about the character study of a man driven by jealousy, insecurity, and rage which destroys his successful career and his life and that of the loved ones around him.
Long before big studios landed at his door, Christopher Nolan debuted as a director with this low-budget, exclusively shot on weekends, starring non-professionals flick. This black and white neo-noir thriller that was a precursor to many more such mindbenders to come from the Nolan stable, is a favourite because of its watertight scripting. Adopting the fractured storytelling style that was to become his signature, this film tells the story of a young aspiring writer who follows random people on the street, looking for stories. A must-watch for noir thriller fans.
Kim Ki Duk
Arguably the best film of the acclaimed Korean director, Kim Ki Duk, 3-Iron is a haunting tale of an odd couple in love, a young drifter who breaks into empty houses and an unhappily married woman. The film has minimum to no dialogues but keeps one glued to the seat because of the silent but sizzling chemistry between the lead pair and its oddball theme.
One of the best modern Malayalam commercial pictures to date, this is a psychological cum horror film. A Malayali couple based in Calcutta, come to Kerala to spend a few months in the palatial ancestral bungalow. The house is the subject of superstitions built around the ghost of an erstwhile dancer who was killed in one of the rooms by the then family chieftain. Scriptwriter Madhu Muttom mixes superstition, tantra, and modern-day psychiatry to make it a commercial success.
Those that almost made it:
Into The Wild: Sean Penn
The Shining: Stanley Kubrick
Fight Club: David Fincher
A Bittersweet Life: Kim Ji-woon
The Shawshank Redemption: Frank Darabont
Girish Haridas works in a BPO based in Coimbatore. He loves watching movies and listening to music.