North by Northwest
This 1959 thriller is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best, and it is without doubt one of the most entertaining films ever made. The film stars Cary Grant as Roger Thornhill, an ordinary man who becomes a victim of mistaken identity. What follows is a chase across America, ending in a thrilling climax at Mt. Rushmore. The memorable ‘crop-duster scene’ has been adapted in many other movies. Hitchcock’s direction, Grant’s debonair performance, Bernard Herrmann’s score and the cinematography are the other highlights.
3 Idiots by Rajkumar Hirani is perhaps the best film made about friendship. The story tells how two friends, Farhan (R. Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi) go in search of another, Rancho (Aamir Khan), and en route, they recall memories of their college days. The superb acting by the leads (and Boman Irani) the melodious songs, the hilarious dialogues, and of course, the message of pursuing your passion that the movie gives make this film a classic of Bollywood.
12 Angry Men
Sidney Lumet makes this courtroom drama which ironically does not take place inside a courtroom. 12 Angry Men is about how one man in the jury tries to convince 11 others that a boy accused of murder may be innocent. Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb have given their best performances. It is a real time film, shot entirely inside the jury room. Yet, the dialogues, acting, and the way the actors empathise with their characters make the film a great psychological thriller. The film is a classic case study on crowd mentality, groupthink and the power of influence.
This Ashutosh Gowariker film is the third from India to be nominated for Best Foreign Film. The British challenge a small group of villagers to a cricket match, with a promise of abolishing the tax if the villagers win. Aamir Khan (in his career-best performance) and Gracy Singh play the lead roles. The first-rate acting, the memorable songs by A.R. Rahman and the roller-coaster cricket match (with a thrilling finale) are the things to look out for in this magnificent film. No film blends sport and drama like Lagaan.
Memento is Nolan’s magnum opus, in my view. Guy Pearce stars as Leonard Shelby, a man with short-term memory loss, who is in search of his wife’s murderers. He tattoos important information all over his body and also uses Polaroid photos to remember things. Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pontoliano play the supporting roles in the film. What makes the film unique is the narrative structure — which uses reverse chronology — the brilliant acting, and the ambiguous twist in the ending. Memento is a thinking man’s thriller.
Those that almost made it
Psycho: Alfred Hitchcock
Thillu Mullu: K. Balachander
The Prestige: Christopher Nolan
The Shawshank Redemption: Frank Darabont
Raiders of the Lost Ark: Steven Spielberg
K.R. Kumaresh is a student of Class XI living in Chennai. He loves watching movies across all genres.