This film would feature on many lists. This is a heart-moving tale of a man wrongly accused of murdering his wife and his life in prison. Tim Robbins' performance as the husband, and Morgan Freeman's performance as his trustworthy friend are remarkable. This period drama is perfected by both the director and the scriptwriter and when when at the end the audience realises that Andy (Tim Robbins) has spent 25 years chiselling his way to freedom using a miniature hammer it reflects how much freedom in any form is important. The selfless, intelligent, quiet demeanour of Andy touches us all. A wonderful adaptation of the novella by Stephen King.
Tom Hanks as Gump plays the role of a lifetime, in a film that encompasses post-war American life influenced by Elvis Presley, the Vietnam War, and the anti-war movement. As a man with below-average intelligence Gump's antics are both amusing and touching. His friendship with Bubba who dies in Vietnam, his prowess at table tennis and his endearing philosophy that ‘life is a box of chocolates…you never know what you're going to get' are heart-warming. With wonderful acting by Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan) and Sally Field (his mother) the film touches a core with the audience.
A feel-good film by a very gifted director, this is probably Tom Cruise's best on-screen performance. This is the story of a successful sports agent who after witnessing an injury to his lead client decides to write a memoir on how agents should empathise and take on less clients. Cruise loses his job and is left with only one client Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding Jr Tom Cruise excels whether it is putting up with the narcissistic Tidwell or his relationship with Renee Zelleweger. After the predictable success of his company at the end of the movie, he delivers one of the most beautiful dialogues in recent times to Zelleweger — “You complete me.”
The Dark Knight
This was the probably the best adaptation of a comic book into a film. Nolan is adept in adding multiple layers to his concept and he excelled at transforming Chicago into Gotham City. Christain Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne is good but is overrun by the inspired performance of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. Heath unleashes his psychopath personality to induce anarchy in Gotham becoming the very essence of chaos itself. Beautiful IMAX filming, extraordinary stunts and the large scale of the movie is astounding. But it is in the way Nolan has understood his characters that will will please all Batman purists.
Saving Private Ryan
The first half-hour of the film is a realistic depiction of war. Beginning with the almost-suicidal landing of the Allied forces on Omaha beach, to the occupation of the German bunkers, the film is fast-paced with tonnes of action. Tom Hanks, the captain of his unit and his crew of Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper Edward Burns and Vin Diesel puts across impressive performances. Photography is at its best, from the dark oceans to the rain-pelted crumbling cities to the sunshine filled vast pastures. The concept that a whole unit would sacrifice themselves to save one man is novel. A good cameo by Matt Damon as Private Ryan completes an adrenaline-filled film.
Those that almost made it:
Good Fellas: Martin Scorsese
The Siege: Edward Zwick
The Godfather: Francis Ford Coppola
Scent Of A Woman: Martin Brest
Braveheart: Mel Gibson
(S. Anand Kumar is a psychiatrist based in Tiruchi.)