- Requiem for a Dream
Synopsis: An exploration into the human condition, into the need for love, connection, and happiness. Requiem for a Dream explores these themes through the lives of different characters who are all searching for a better life. Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) becomes addicted to losing weight, leading her to popping pills which severy harm her mental health whilst her son Harry (Jared Leto) and his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) get caught up in a lifestyle of drugs, sex, and crime.
Requiem for a Dream is an extremely devastating and hard film to watch. It shows the cruelty of addiction, the extent people will go to feel good, and the consequences of drugs. Although a fantastic film, a hard watch, but a must see.
2. Dancer in the Dark
Synopsis: Selma, a Czech immigrant is slowly going blind whilst also having to care for her son who will suffer the same fate if she cannot generate enough money so that her son can get an operation to fix his eyesight. Selma struggles with work whilst being visually impaired making her day to day life a struggle. One man decides to take advantage of her condition and accuses her of stealing, this is when her life is completely turned upside down.
Dancer in the Dark was a strange watch. The way it is filmed makes everything seem so real, making everything more intimate. The fact it is also a musical made it for a dramatic watch, giving insight into Selma’s desires and problems through music. Bjork delivered a heartbreaking performance that at times can be unbearable to watch.
Synopsis: A man is kidnapped and held captive for 15 years until he is finally released. Upon release, he has only 5 days to find his captor.
Park Chan-Wook delivers an utter masterpiece with this film, going down as one of my favourites of all time. Oldboy is full of twists, as such is hard to write about…nevertheless, Choi Min-Sik delivers an outstanding performance which will go down forever as one of the greatest roles ever performed. Oldboy is there to absolutely shock and confuse, and Park Chan-Wook does it superbly.
Synopsis: A dying middle-eastern woman named Nawal gives separate letters to both her children to read after she dies. The final two letters must be delivered to the children’s father whom they never knew and their long lost brother whom they also never met. As such, they begin their journey to the middle-east to discover the identity of these people whilst also uncovering the brutal family history that is involved with their mothers past.
Incendies takes many twists and turns before it arrives at the answer, and when it does it absolutely blows you away. The acting was tremendous, but the best aspect of this film was Dennis Villeneuve’s profound ability to tell a story in such captivating fashion.
5. A Clockwork Orange
Synopsis: Set in dystopian England, A Clockwork Orange tells the story of Alex, a psychopath imprisoned for rape and murder who in order to reduce his sentence, signs up for experimental tests that the government have implemented as a means to stop criminals. The experiments change Alex and do not go as planned.
Of course it needs no introduction, A Clockwork Orange is one of the greatest films ever made and one of Kubrick’s finest. Within the film we encounter the famous ‘Kubrick stare’ which is made so iconic by Malcolm Mcdowell, and other actors that have worked with Kubrick (Jack Nicholson, Vincent D’Onofrio ect), later to be adapted by the likes of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and many other actors. Kubrick is a pioneer at demonstrating the dark side towards an individual, thus he must be featured on this list.
6. We Need to Talk About Kevin
Synopsis: Eva struggles with her strange child, Kevin. She chooses to ignore his dangerous remarks and threats growing up until she must finally face the music when he commits an act that cannot be forgotten.
We need to talk about Kevin tackles many different issues, but its main one being the debate of nature vs nurture. It is a very intriguing, yet disturbing watch which evokes many questions and philosophical thoughts. A hard watch, but a must watch if you are intrigued by the nature vs nurture argument.