Thank You For Smoking

Jason Reitman

Jason Reitman’s debut movie is a suave, witty and comical satire that deals with a tricky subject like smoking in a refreshingly original manner. Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) holds the job of a tobacco lobbyist which is considered to be one of the trickiest in the world. The moral flexibility he has to undergo to perform his job is presented with some incredibly clever arguments, amazing one liners and a feel good climax.

Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino

Can masterpieces be created without providing the viewer any explicit or subtle message? Quentin Tarantino answered this question through a seven-part non-linear story, which has now become a cultural watershed, with a loud ‘Yes’. Having a taut script, garnished with tongue in cheek dialogues, splendid performances from the leads and bolstered by a soundtrack comprising popular as well as obscure recordings, this film marked the beginning of a new bold era in film making. In short, it may have intentional elements of pastiche, but Tarantino pulled it off with panache.

Aaranya Kaandam

Thiagarajan Kumararaja

Opening with a quote from philosopher Chanakya which says ‘The need of the hour is dharma’, debutant director Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s film literally portrays a day in the lives of North Madras gangsters. Depicted in a Tarantinoesque manner but without sacrificing its innate originality in the script, this film can stand on its own in any all-time list of gangster films due to its unpredictable twists and ace performances by its actors especially Guru Somasundaram who performs the role of Kaalaiyan.

Trainspotting

Danny Boyle

This black comedy about the lives of Edinburgh junkies takes the viewer for a rollercoaster ride, providing for an instantaneous high but eventually leaving you dizzy and asking for more. Adapted from Irwin Welsh’s novel of the same name, Trainspotting has become a pop-cultural phenomenon, due to its accurate as well as entertaining portrayal of heroin addiction and rehabilitation. Despite the Academy Award achievements of his later film, Trainspotting is still considered to be Danny Boyle’s chef-d’oeuvre.

Dead Poet’s Society

Peter Weir

Calling this movie inspirational is an understatement. Robin Williams’ brilliant portrayal of the freethinking mentor Peter Keating and his emphasis on the uplifting philosophy carpe diem can in fact change the lives of viewers. This high-school drama set in an elite prep school portrays the lives of adolescent teenagers stifled by the pressure of a demanding society and how their English teacher changes their attitude towards life with a tryst with poetry. The climactic scene, in which the whole class stands up on the bench chanting ‘O Captain, My Captain’, to send off their mentor, can melt hearts.

Those that almost made it:

Goodfellas - Martin Scorsese

Cidade De Deus (City Of God) - Fernando Meirelles

The Truman Show - Peter Weir

Snatch - Guy Ritchie

Memento - Christopher Nolan

Sushil Dev is a systems engineer based in Chennai. He loves watching neo-noir films.