There are some films that you enjoy watching because of its popularity, there are those which you watch for its stars, and there are those you watch for its story. It is then truly thrilling when you find a movie that fits these categories, and you get sucked into a movie so unforgettable (well, unforgettable for a long time) that you can easily think of it whenever you are asked the question, “if you could watch 5 movies now, what would those be?”
Of course, if you’re a film fan and a movie nerd, this question would raise several more questions of subtext, genre and other factors which could narrow that list. I am no film critic, nor do i have the intensive knowledge of each and every film ever made, but these 5 films have a special place in my heart and i would very much enjoy watching them again (and again).
Brick, a film by Rian Johnson, stars the very talented Joseph-Gordon Levitt as Brendan, whose friend Emily’s death sparks the events in the film. The mood is very film noir, set against the seedy underbelly of high school. It’s remarkable in its simplicity, brilliant in its story and amazing in its characters.
From my perspective, Hanna is a gritty “coming-of-age” revenge thriller about a 16 year old trained to be an assassin by her father. Saoirse Ronan (of Atonement) plays the highly skilled, willful and intelligent Hanna, with Eric Bana as her father and Cate Blanchett as the nemesis Marissa. It’s fast paced, action packed and filled to the brim with cinematography.
If only erasing our past is as easy as this. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind may be a bit of a twisted romance to some, as it comes off as a psychological drama fantasy romance science fiction movie rolled into one. But the movie’s concept plays on a simple yet all-too-real question of pain and dealing with loss, especially of the love kind. By taking a question into a world of possibility (can you truly erase someone from your life?) , it takes you for a ride through several emotions, making you question that that innocuous question may not just have a singular answer. Brilliantly played by its cast, most notably Jim Carrey, whose Joel Barish was heartbreakingly honest you go through the emotional journey with him. Exceptional visuals add to its watch-worthiness, as well as its terrific soundtrack. Beck’s “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” still haunts me to this day. Worth the watch, and re-watch.
Before Inception, Christopher Nolan adapted younger brother Jonathan’s short story called Memento Mori, about a man with anterograde amnesia, which impairs his ability to store new explicit memories, trying to piece together the events that happened to understand the death of his wife. Cast included Guy Pearce, Carrie-Ann Moss and Joe Pantoliano. The story is a mix of psychological drama and film noir, perhaps a bit perplexing to first time viewers ( i had to do a 2nd viewing to truly understand the flow). While the cinematography cemented the unusual unfolding of events, it was the music’s synthesized score that defined the scenes, distinct in clueing in the viewer on the black and white scenes with the other. The nonlinear structure of this movie is truly unique, if not a bit confusing. This pretty much set the bar for me when viewing further films by Mr. Nolan (he hasn’t disappointed me yet).
Wristcutters: A Love Story is probably my favourite Patrick Fugit movie. I know he got famous in Almost Famous, but this very lovely movie about a boy and a girl falling in love while trying to find their way out of Purgatory is fascinating and beautiful (in spite of the somewhat macabre theme). I really love the soundtrack on this, as well as the casting. Life in the Afterlife can be Sweet, endearingly funny and yes, have a happy ending.
So, what’s your shortlist? 🙂