Every film critic has their favourite films.
Sometimes they can read like a who’s who of hip indie directors or hitherto unknown classics, I believe that mine are representative of my age group and perhaps suggest that the modern era of film-making is one that will come to truly contend with the early era of classics.
5) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The prequels to Peter Jackson’s multi-award winning Lord of the Rings series might not have received the love of the critics or fans, but they won over my heart with their eye-popping visuals and close attention to detail. Although the writing team of Jackson, Boyens, Walsh and del Toro departed significantly from their source material, I adored the talented cast that brought this new story to life.
Although any of Nolan’s films could have made this list, Inception is the one film of his that resonated the most emotionally with me. Leonardo di Caprio’s restrained performance as the fractured hero Cobb is the beating heart of this film. Nolan’s feat of film-making deserves repeat watching; whilst we are being dazzled by truly jaw-dropping special effects and a starry cast, we are unaware of being pulled into the emotional landscape of a man attempting to escape his own memories.
3) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Running in a similar vein to Inception, Charlie Kaufman’s Academy-Award winning screenplay explores the tragically ironic situation of a man desperately trying to hold onto his memories of a relationship that he has ordered to be deleted. Jim Carrey, in a career defining role, tumbles through his psyche with the help of Spike Jonze’s hallucinatory direction, accompanied by a mercurial Kate Winslet.
2) Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola, Academy Award winning writer-director of Lost in Translation, had a lot to prove with her sophomore effort and she didn’t disappoint. Her love letter to Americans lost in Tokyo is as much a criticism of the hosts’ oblique culture as it is of the insidious nature of vapid Western culture. Coppola wrote the part for Bill Murray and was lucky enough to snare the comedy legend so that he could turn in a stellar performance opposite Scarlett Johansson.
For the uninitiated it could be easy to criticise Paul Thomas Anderson’s third film. It’s a very long film that attempts to pull together several disparate narrative strings into one cohesive whole. Your enjoyment of it will no doubt be dependent on your patience and your taste in film. Anderson collected together a huge ensemble cast for his movie, featuring Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, to name a few, many of whom put in the best performances of their careers. It’s a sublime work that I never get tired of watching.