(Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Christopher Nolan Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Christopher Nolan had such a perfect outsider journey into Hollywood filmmaking, he makes transforming into one of the world’s foremost A-list directors look simple. First, you make your requisite black-and-white feature debut for less than a half-million dollars (Following) in England. Then you come over to America, put together an inventive, almost revolutionary indie (Memento), which gets you invited into the big studio system for Insomnia, where two seasoned pros like Robin Williams and Al Pacino can recognize an up-and-coming talent and agree to star. Then, boom: You’re good to go in your new career as a rising director.

For Nolan, the next step up was a surprising move at the time: Resurrecting Bruce Wayne for Batman Begins, whose big-screen reputation had been trashed by Batman & Robin. With The Prestige, he really began to establish himself as a brand and icon whose pictures you can rely on to feature slick-as-ice style, heavy dollops of science fiction, mind-warping concepts and resolutions, and a growing repertoire of actors to fulfill his vision. Inception and Interstellar certainly fit this mold, while The Dark Knight (and its Rises sequel, to an extent) revolutionized comic book movies and pop culture fandom. And lest we think he forgot his roots, Dunkirk was a worthy movie monument to the WWII military evacuation’s inspirational stature within British society.

2020’s Tenet was a bellwether to test the lockdown winds. Its release was controversial and helped sever Nolan’s working relationship with Warner Bros. Now, he’s setting up his Oppenheimer biopic at Universal. Until that one lands, we’re ranking all Christopher Nolan movies by Tomatometer!

#11

Tenet (2020)
69%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94930%
Critics Consensus: A visually dazzling puzzle for film lovers to unlock, Tenet serves up all the cerebral spectacle audiences expect from a Christopher Nolan production.
Synopsis: A secret agent embarks on a dangerous, time-bending mission to prevent the start of World War III.... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#10

Interstellar (2014)
72%

#10
Adjusted Score: 88293%
Critics Consensus: Interstellar represents more of the thrilling, thought-provoking, and visually resplendent filmmaking moviegoers have come to expect from writer-director Christopher Nolan, even if its intellectual reach somewhat exceeds its grasp.
Synopsis: In Earth's future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#9

The Prestige (2006)
76%

#9
Adjusted Score: 83670%
Critics Consensus: Full of twists and turns, The Prestige is a dazzling period piece that never stops challenging the audience.
Synopsis: An illusion gone horribly wrong pits two 19th-century magicians, Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman), against each... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#8

Following (1998)
81%

#8
Adjusted Score: 82070%
Critics Consensus: Super brief but efficient, Following represents director Christopher Nolan's burgeoning talent in tight filmmaking and hard-edge noir.
Synopsis: Lacking prospects, a writer (Jeremy Theobald) begins tailing strangers, until he encounters a voyeuristic thief (Alex Haw).... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#7

Batman Begins (2005)
84%

#7
Adjusted Score: 95916%
Critics Consensus: Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.
Synopsis: A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he's trained in the martial arts by Henri... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#6

Inception (2010)
87%

#6
Adjusted Score: 101387%
Critics Consensus: Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.
Synopsis: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people's dreams and steal their secrets from... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 103502%
Critics Consensus: The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan's franchise in spectacular fashion.
Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night.... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#4

Insomnia (2002)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 98583%
Critics Consensus: Driven by Al Pacino and Robin Williams' performances, Insomnia is a smart and riveting psychological drama.
Synopsis: From acclaimed director Chris Nolan ("Memento") comes the story of a veteran police detective (Al Pacino) who is sent to... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#3

Dunkirk (2017)
92%

#3
Adjusted Score: 127352%
Critics Consensus: Dunkirk serves up emotionally satisfying spectacle, delivered by a writer-director in full command of his craft and brought to life by a gifted ensemble cast that honors the fact-based story.
Synopsis: In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#2

Memento (2000)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 100064%
Critics Consensus: Christopher Nolan skillfully guides the audience through Memento's fractured narrative, seeping his film in existential dread.
Synopsis: Leonard (Guy Pearce) is tracking down the man who raped and murdered his wife. The difficulty, however, of locating his... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#1

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107468%
Critics Consensus: Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.
Synopsis: With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Moonrise Kingdom

(Photo by © Focus Features)

105 Great Movies to Watch Alone

For some, staying home right now can mean curling up with a loved one on the couch for a date-night flick or gathering the whole family together for movie night. For many others, it can mean flying solo – long days and nights of streaming by yourself. We’re here to help with some movie suggestions we think are tailor-made for that latter experience.

Just like going to the movie theater alone can be a singularly joyous “treat yo self” excursion, solo home-viewing can be a great experience too – if you choose the right film. There are movies out there that actually benefit from being watched alone: It might be that they require a level of concentration and focus that distracting friends and loved ones just won’t allow you, or that the maximum scare factor is best felt when you are completely isolated – just like the babysitter being stalked on screen. It might just be that the movie has the kind of awkward/titillating sexy bits that make watching it with a first date – or, let’s say, mom – not exactly ideal. Watch it alone – no judgment, no nervous giggles.

To help those solo-fliers get through the next little while, the RT team pulled together a list of movies perfect for watching alone for all of those reasons – and a bunch that are just guaranteed to put you in an awesome mood the moment they start. Which might be the best reason of all.

What’s your favorite movie to watch by yourself? Let us know in the comments.
Click on each movie’s title to find out more, including where to stream, rent, or buy.  


BECAUSE THE MOVIE REQUIRES YOUR ABSOLUTE CONCENTRATION…

#13

Memento (2000)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 100064%
Critics Consensus: Christopher Nolan skillfully guides the audience through Memento's fractured narrative, seeping his film in existential dread.
Synopsis: Leonard (Guy Pearce) is tracking down the man who raped and murdered his wife. The difficulty, however, of locating his... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 75872%
Critics Consensus: Charlie Kaufman's ambitious directorial debut occasionally strains to connect, but ultimately provides fascinating insight into a writer's mind.
Synopsis: Life is looking pretty bleak for theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman). His wife and daughter have left him,... [More]
Directed By: Charlie Kaufman

#11

The Irishman (2019)
95%

#11
Adjusted Score: 123942%
Critics Consensus: An epic gangster drama that earns its extended runtime, The Irishman finds Martin Scorsese revisiting familiar themes to poignant, funny, and profound effect.
Synopsis: In the 1950s, truck driver Frank Sheeran gets involved with Russell Bufalino and his Pennsylvania crime family. As Sheeran climbs... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#10
Adjusted Score: 101335%
Critics Consensus: Propelled by Charlie Kaufman's smart, imaginative script and Michel Gondry's equally daring directorial touch, Eternal Sunshine is a twisty yet heartfelt look at relationships and heartache.
Synopsis: After a painful breakup, Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergoes a procedure to erase memories of her former boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey)... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#9

Annihilation (2018)
88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 108010%
Critics Consensus: Annihilation backs up its sci-fi visual wonders and visceral genre thrills with an impressively ambitious -- and surprisingly strange -- exploration of challenging themes that should leave audiences pondering long after the end credits roll.
Synopsis: Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X --... [More]
Directed By: Alex Garland

#8

Magnolia (1999)
83%

#8
Adjusted Score: 89661%
Critics Consensus: Magnolia is an ambitious, lengthy work that ultimately succeeds due to interesting stories and excellent ensemble performances.
Synopsis: On one random day in the San Fernando Valley, a dying father, a young wife, a male caretaker, a famous... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#7

12 Monkeys (1995)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 93670%
Critics Consensus: The plot's a bit of a jumble, but excellent performances and mind-blowing plot twists make 12 Monkeys a kooky, effective experience.
Synopsis: Traveling back in time isn't simple, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) learns the hard way. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#6

Zodiac (2007)
89%

#6
Adjusted Score: 100385%
Critics Consensus: A quiet, dialogue-driven thriller that delivers with scene after scene of gut-wrenching anxiety. David Fincher also spends more time illustrating nuances of his characters and recreating the mood of the '70s than he does on gory details of murder.
Synopsis: In the late 1960s and 1970s, fear grips the city of San Francisco as a serial killer called Zodiac stalks... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#5

Silence (2016)
83%

#5
Adjusted Score: 103532%
Critics Consensus: Silence ends Martin Scorsese's decades-long creative quest with a thoughtful, emotionally resonant look at spirituality and human nature that stands among the director's finest works.
Synopsis: Two 17th-century Portuguese missionaries, Father Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), embark on a perilous journey... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#4

The Deer Hunter (1978)
91%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99256%
Critics Consensus: Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film's weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino's sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.
Synopsis: In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino

#3

Parasite (2019)
98%

#3
Adjusted Score: 127464%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Synopsis: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2

The Master (2012)
84%

#2
Adjusted Score: 95045%
Critics Consensus: Smart and solidly engrossing, The Master extends Paul Thomas Anderson's winning streak of challenging films for serious audiences.
Synopsis: Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a troubled, boozy drifter struggling with the trauma of World War II and whatever inner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#8

The Game (1997)
76%

#8
Adjusted Score: 79710%
Critics Consensus: The ending could use a little work but this is otherwise another sterling example of David Fincher's iron grip on atmosphere and storytelling.
Synopsis: Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a successful banker who keeps mostly to himself. When his estranged brother Conrad (Sean... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#1

Inherent Vice (2014)
73%

#1
Adjusted Score: 83383%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#1

Burning (2018)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 105592%
Critics Consensus: Burning patiently lures audiences into a slow-burning character study that ultimately rewards the viewer's patience -- and subverts many of their expectations.
Synopsis: Jong-soo runs into Hae-mi, a girl who once lived in his neighborhood, and she asks him to watch her cat... [More]
Directed By: Lee Chang-dong

#1

Vertigo (1958)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104482%
Critics Consensus: An unpredictable scary thriller that doubles as a mournful meditation on love, loss, and human comfort.
Synopsis: Hitchcock's romantic story of obsession, manipulation and fear. A detective is forced to retire after his fear of heights causes... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#1

The Tree of Life (2011)
84%

#1
Adjusted Score: 94536%
Critics Consensus: Terrence Malick's singularly deliberate style may prove unrewarding for some, but for patient viewers, Tree of Life is an emotional as well as visual treat.
Synopsis: In this highly philosophical film by acclaimed director Terrence Malick, young Jack (Hunter McCracken) is one of three brothers growing... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#1

The Prestige (2006)
76%

#1
Adjusted Score: 83670%
Critics Consensus: Full of twists and turns, The Prestige is a dazzling period piece that never stops challenging the audience.
Synopsis: An illusion gone horribly wrong pits two 19th-century magicians, Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman), against each... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#1

Under the Skin (2013)
84%

#1
Adjusted Score: 95030%
Critics Consensus: Its message may prove elusive for some, but with absorbing imagery and a mesmerizing performance from Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin is a haunting viewing experience.
Synopsis: Disguising herself as a human female, an extraterrestrial (Scarlett Johansson) drives around Scotland and tries to lure unsuspecting men into... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Glazer

#1

Gattaca (1997)
83%

#1
Adjusted Score: 85785%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent and scientifically provocative, Gattaca is an absorbing sci fi drama that poses important interesting ethical questions about the nature of science.
Synopsis: Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) has always fantasized about traveling into outer space, but is grounded by his status as a... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Niccol


BECAUSE THE MOVIE IS GONNA MAKE YOU UGLY CRY…

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 84626%
Critics Consensus: Benigni's earnest charm, when not overstepping its bounds into the unnecessarily treacly, offers the possibility of hope in the face of unflinching horror.
Synopsis: A gentle Jewish-Italian waiter, Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni), meets Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), a pretty schoolteacher, and wins her over with... [More]
Directed By: Roberto Benigni

#12

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#12
Adjusted Score: 104442%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#11

Beaches (1988)
40%

#11
Adjusted Score: 42759%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hillary (Barbara Hershey) and CC (Bette Midler) meet as children vacationing in Atlantic City, N.J., and remain friends throughout the... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#10

Steel Magnolias (1989)
70%

#10
Adjusted Score: 71202%
Critics Consensus: Steel Magnolias has jokes and characters to spare, which makes it more dangerous (and effective) when it goes for the full melodrama by the end.
Synopsis: M'Lynn (Sally Field) is the mother of bride-to-be Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts), and as friend Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton) fixes... [More]
Directed By: Herbert Ross

#9

Stepmom (1998)
46%

#9
Adjusted Score: 49820%
Critics Consensus: Solid work from Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon isn't enough to save Stepmom from a story whose manipulations dilute the effectiveness of a potentially affecting drama.
Synopsis: Three years after divorcing Jackie (Susan Sarandon), the mother of his children, Luke Harrison (Ed Harris) decides to take the... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#8

The Color Purple (1985)
81%

#8
Adjusted Score: 82021%
Critics Consensus: It might have been better served by a filmmaker with a deeper connection to the source material, but The Color Purple remains a worthy, well-acted adaptation of Alice Walker's classic novel.
Synopsis: An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 81719%
Critics Consensus: A classic tearjerker, Terms of Endearment isn't shy about reaching for the heartstrings -- but is so well-acted and smartly scripted that it's almost impossible to resist.
Synopsis: Widow Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger), have a strong bond, but Emma marries teacher Flap... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#6

Toy Story 3 (2010)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 110116%
Critics Consensus: Deftly blending comedy, adventure, and honest emotion, Toy Story 3 is a rare second sequel that really works.
Synopsis: With their beloved Andy preparing to leave for college, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 89620%
Critics Consensus: Wise, funny, and heartbreaking without resorting to exploitation, The Fault In Our Stars does right by its bestselling source material.
Synopsis: Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), a 16-year-old cancer patient, meets and falls in love with Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a... [More]
Directed By: Josh Boone

#1

Wendy and Lucy (2008)
85%

#1
Adjusted Score: 92420%
Critics Consensus: Michelle Williams gives a heartbreaking performance in Wendy and Lucy, a timely portrait of loneliness and struggle.
Synopsis: Wendy (Michelle Williams), a near-penniless drifter, is traveling to Alaska in search of work, and her only companion is her... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Reichardt

#4

My Girl (1991)
53%

#4
Adjusted Score: 52523%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tomboy Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) has good reason to be morbid: her mother died giving birth to her, and her... [More]
Directed By: Howard Zieff

#3

Selena (1997)
67%

#3
Adjusted Score: 68589%
Critics Consensus: Selena occasionally struggles to tell its subject's story with depth or perspective, but those flaws are rendered largely irrelevant by Jennifer Lopez in the title role.
Synopsis: In this biographical drama, Selena Quintanilla (Jennifer Lopez) is born into a musical Mexican-American family in Texas. Her father, Abraham... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Nava

#2

Up (2009)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 109563%
Critics Consensus: An exciting, funny, and poignant adventure, Up offers an impeccably crafted story told with wit and arranged with depth, as well as yet another visual Pixar treat.
Synopsis: Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner), a 78-year-old balloon salesman, is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. Tying thousands of balloons to... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

#1
Adjusted Score: 110804%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
Synopsis: After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#1
Adjusted Score: 89501%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully scripted and perfectly cast, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a coming-of-age movie with uncommon charm and insight.
Synopsis: An awkward high-school senior (Thomas Mann) and a gravely ill classmate (Olivia Cooke) surprise themselves by becoming inseparable friends.... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

#1

Stories We Tell (2012)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98582%
Critics Consensus: In Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley plays with the documentary format to explore the nature of memory and storytelling, crafting a thoughtful, compelling narrative that unfolds like a mystery.
Synopsis: Through a series of revealing interviews, filmmaker Sarah Polley investigates the truth about her family history.... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Polley

#1

Old Yeller (1957)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101991%
Critics Consensus: Old Yeller is an exemplary coming of age tale, packing an emotional wallop through smart pacing and a keen understanding of the elemental bonding between humanity and their furry best friends.
Synopsis: While Jim Coates (Fess Parker) is off on a cattle drive, his wife, Katie (Dorothy McGuire), and sons, Travis (Tommy... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#1

Marley & Me (2008)
63%

#1
Adjusted Score: 67367%
Critics Consensus: Pet owners should love it, but Marley and Me is only sporadically successful in wringing drama and laughs from its scenario.
Synopsis: Newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston) leave behind snowy Michigan and move to Florida, where they buy... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 28943%
Critics Consensus: Though wholesome, the Mandy Moore vehicle A Walk to Remember is also bland and oppressively syrupy.
Synopsis: Set in North Carolina, "A Walk To Remember" follows the rite of passage of a jaded, aimless high school senior... [More]
Directed By: Adam Shankman


BECAUSE THE MOVIE WILL INSTANTLY PUT YOU IN A BETTER MOOD…

#13

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 104518%
Critics Consensus: Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best.
Synopsis: The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#12

Groundhog Day (1993)
97%

#12
Adjusted Score: 103336%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray's dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.
Synopsis: Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#11

The Goonies (1985)
77%

#11
Adjusted Score: 80849%
Critics Consensus: The Goonies is an energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.
Synopsis: When two brothers find out they might lose their house they are desperate to find a way to keep their... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 109747%
Critics Consensus: Clever, incisive, and funny, Singin' in the Rain is a masterpiece of the classical Hollywood musical.
Synopsis: A spoof of the turmoil that afflicted the movie industry in the late 1920s when movies went from silent to... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

#9

Amélie (2001)
89%

#9
Adjusted Score: 95344%
Critics Consensus: The feel-good Amelie is a lively, fanciful charmer, showcasing Audrey Tautou as its delightful heroine.
Synopsis: "Amélie" is a fanciful comedy about a young woman who discretely orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 103682%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#7

The Birdcage (1996)
81%

#7
Adjusted Score: 83794%
Critics Consensus: Mike Nichols wrangles agreeably amusing performances from Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this fun, if not quite essential, remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles.
Synopsis: In this remake of the classic French farce "La Cage aux Folles," engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 86807%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Synopsis: Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has an uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 85312%
Critics Consensus: Though there was controversy over the choice of casting, Zellweger's Bridget Jones is a sympathetic, likable, funny character, giving this romantic comedy a lot of charm.
Synopsis: At the start of the New Year, 32-year-old Bridget (Renée Zellweger) decides it's time to take control of her life... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#4

Clueless (1995)
81%

#4
Adjusted Score: 89088%
Critics Consensus: A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.
Synopsis: Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#3

The Intouchables (2011)
75%

#3
Adjusted Score: 79776%
Critics Consensus: It handles its potentially prickly subject matter with kid gloves, but Intouchables gets by thanks to its strong cast and some remarkably sensitive direction.
Synopsis: An unlikely friendship develops between a wealthy quadriplegic (François Cluzet) and his caretaker (Omar Sy), just released from prison.... [More]

#2

Tommy Boy (1995)
42%

#2
Adjusted Score: 43340%
Critics Consensus: Though it benefits from the comic charms of its two leads, Tommy Boy too often feels like a familiar sketch stretched thin.
Synopsis: After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 99432%
Critics Consensus: Little Miss Sunshine succeeds thanks to a strong ensemble cast that includes Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, and Abigail Breslin, as well as a delightfully funny script.
Synopsis: The Hoover family -- a man (Greg Kinnear), his wife (Toni Collette), an uncle (Steve Carell), a brother (Paul Dano)... [More]

#1

The Full Monty (1997)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98738%
Critics Consensus: Cheeky and infectiously good-natured, The Full Monty bares its big beating heart with a sly dose of ribald comedy.
Synopsis: After losing his job at a steel factory, Gaz (Robert Carlyle) learns that his wife wants to sue him for... [More]
Directed By: Peter Cattaneo

#1

Mamma Mia! (2008)
55%

#1
Adjusted Score: 61295%
Critics Consensus: This jukebox musical is full of fluffy fun but rough singing voices and a campy tone might not make you feel like "You Can Dance" the whole 90 minutes.
Synopsis: Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter's wedding with the help of... [More]
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

#1

Billy Elliot (2000)
85%

#1
Adjusted Score: 88273%
Critics Consensus: Billy Elliot is a charming movie that can evoke both laughter and tears.
Synopsis: The life of 11-year-old Billy Elliot, a coal miner's son in Northern England, is forever changed one day when he... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Daldry

#3
Adjusted Score: 55632%
Critics Consensus: Provides lots of laughs with Myers at the healm; as funny or funnier than the original.
Synopsis: In his second screen adventure, British super spy Austin Powers must return to 1969, as arch-nemesis Dr. Evil has ventured... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#1

Step Brothers (2008)
55%

#1
Adjusted Score: 63191%
Critics Consensus: Step Brothers indulges in a cheerfully relentless immaturity that will quickly turn off viewers unamused by Ferrell and Reilly -- and delight those who find their antics hilarious.
Synopsis: Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) have one thing in common: they are both lazy, unemployed... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 75834%
Critics Consensus: Eddie Murphy was in full control at this point, starkly evident in Coming to America's John Landis' coasting direction.
Synopsis: Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#1

Airplane! (1980)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103491%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly juvenile and silly, Airplane! is nevertheless an uproarious spoof comedy full of quotable lines and slapstick gags that endure to this day.
Synopsis: This spoof comedy takes shots at the slew of disaster movies that were released in the 70s. When the passengers... [More]

#1

Game Night (2018)
85%

#1
Adjusted Score: 99577%
Critics Consensus: With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise -- and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists -- Game Night might be more fun than the real thing.
Synopsis: Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party... [More]

#1

Pride (2014)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98190%
Critics Consensus: Earnest without being didactic and uplifting without stooping to sentimentality, Pride is a joyous crowd-pleaser that genuinely works.
Synopsis: Realizing that they share common foes in Margaret Thatcher, the police and the conservative press, London-based gays and lesbians lend... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Warchus

#1

Pitch Perfect (2012)
81%

#1
Adjusted Score: 86241%
Critics Consensus: Pitch Perfect's plot is formulaic, but the performances are excellent and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well.
Synopsis: College student Beca (Anna Kendrick) knows she does not want to be part of a clique, but that's exactly where... [More]
Directed By: Jason Moore

#1

Hot Fuzz (2007)
91%

#1
Adjusted Score: 99767%
Critics Consensus: The brilliant minds behind Shaun of the Dead successfully take a shot at the buddy cop genre with Hot Fuzz. The result is a bitingly satiric and hugely entertaining parody.
Synopsis: As a former London constable, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) finds if difficult to adapt to his new assignment in the... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#1
Adjusted Score: 43265%
Critics Consensus: Undisciplined, scatological, profoundly silly, and often utterly groan-worthy, Robin Hood: Men in Tights still has an amiable, anything-goes goofiness that has made it a cult favorite.
Synopsis: Crusading nobleman Robin of Loxley (Cary Elwes) escapes from prison in Jerusalem and returns home to find that the evil... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#1

Sing Street (2016)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107231%
Critics Consensus: Sing Street is a feel-good musical with huge heart and irresistible optimism, and its charmimg cast and hummable tunes help to elevate its familiar plotting.
Synopsis: In 1985, a Dublin teenager (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) forms a rock 'n' roll band to win the heart of an aspiring... [More]
Directed By: John Carney

#1

Big (1988)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 102803%
Critics Consensus: Refreshingly sweet and undeniably funny, Big is a showcase for Tom Hanks, who dives into his role and infuses it with charm and surprising poignancy.
Synopsis: After a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 112581%
Critics Consensus: With a terrific cast and a surfeit of visual razzle dazzle, Crazy Rich Asians takes a satisfying step forward for screen representation while deftly drawing inspiration from the classic -- and still effective -- rom-com formula.
Synopsis: Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised... [More]
Directed By: Jon M. Chu


BECAUSE THE MOVIE’S VERY SEXY BITS WILL BE LESS AWKWARD SOLO…

#13

Magic Mike XXL (2015)
65%

#13
Adjusted Score: 74756%
Critics Consensus: Magic Mike XXL has enough narrative thrust and beefy charm to deliver another helping of well-oiled entertainment, even if this sequel isn't quite as pleasurable as its predecessor.
Synopsis: It's been three years since Mike Lane's (Channing Tatum) retirement from stripping, but the former dancer misses the excitement and... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Jacobs

#12

Basic Instinct (1992)
55%

#12
Adjusted Score: 60687%
Critics Consensus: Unevenly echoing the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Basic Instinct contains a star-making performance from Sharon Stone but is ultimately undone by its problematic, overly lurid plot.
Synopsis: The mysterious Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a beautiful crime novelist, becomes a suspect when she is linked to the brutal... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 96270%
Critics Consensus: A road movie that's not only sexy, but intelligent as well.
Synopsis: The lives of Julio and Tenoch, like those of 17-year old boys everywhere, are ruled by raging hormones, intense friendships,... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#10

The Dreamers (2003)
60%

#10
Adjusted Score: 65178%
Critics Consensus: Though lushly atmospheric, The Dreamers doesn't engage or provoke as much as it should.
Synopsis: In May 1968, the student riots in Paris only exacerbate the isolation felt by three youths: an American exchange student... [More]
Directed By: Bernardo Bertolucci

#9

Lust, Caution (2007)
72%

#9
Adjusted Score: 78086%
Critics Consensus: Ang Lee's Lust, Caution is a tense, sensual and beautifully-shot espionage film.
Synopsis: During World War II a secret agent (Tang Wei) must seduce, then assassinate an official (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) who... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#8

Sirens (1994)
74%

#8
Adjusted Score: 75455%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1930s Australia, Anglican clergyman Anthony Campion (Hugh Grant) and his prim wife, Estella (Tara Fitzgerald), are asked to visit... [More]
Directed By: John Duigan

#7

Secretary (2002)
77%

#7
Adjusted Score: 81991%
Critics Consensus: Maggie Gyllenhaal impresses in this romantic comedy with a kinky twist.
Synopsis: Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young woman with a history of severe emotional problems, is released into the care of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Shainberg

#6

Boogie Nights (1997)
93%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97458%
Critics Consensus: Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg.
Synopsis: In the San Fernando Valley in 1977, teenage busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) gets discovered by porn director Jack Horner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#5

Wild Things (1998)
63%

#5
Adjusted Score: 65010%
Critics Consensus: Wild Things is a delightfully salacious, flesh-exposed romp that also requires a high degree of love for trash cinema.
Synopsis: When teen debutante Kelly (Denise Richards) fails to attract the attention of her hunky guidance counselor, Sam (Matt Dillon), she... [More]
Directed By: John McNaughton

#4

Unfaithful (2002)
50%

#4
Adjusted Score: 55294%
Critics Consensus: Diane Lane shines in the role, but the movie adds nothing new to the genre and the resolution is unsatisfying.
Synopsis: Described by director Adrian Lyne ("Fatal Attraction") as "an erotic thriller about the body language of guilt." When Edward (Richard... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Lyne

#3

Bound (1996)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 91436%
Critics Consensus: Bound's more titillating elements attracted attention, but it's the stylish direction, solid performances, and entertaining neo-noir caper plot that make it worth a watch.
Synopsis: Sparks fly when Violet (Jennifer Tilly) sets eyes on Corky (Gina Gershon) in an elevator. Violet is the girlfriend of... [More]

#2

Swimming Pool (2003)
83%

#2
Adjusted Score: 88047%
Critics Consensus: A sensual thriller with two engaging performers demanding our undivided attention.
Synopsis: When uptight British writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) has difficulty with her new detective novel, her publisher, John Bosload (Charles... [More]
Directed By: François Ozon

#1

Mulholland Dr. (2001)
84%

#1
Adjusted Score: 90299%
Critics Consensus: David Lynch's dreamlike and mysterious Mulholland Drive is a twisty neo-noir with an unconventional structure that features a mesmirizing performance from Naomi Watts as a woman on the dark fringes of Hollywood.
Synopsis: A dark-haired woman (Laura Elena Harring) is left amnesiac after a car crash. She wanders the streets of Los Angeles... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#1

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
76%

#1
Adjusted Score: 82232%
Critics Consensus: Kubrick's intense study of the human psyche yields an impressive cinematic work.
Synopsis: After Dr. Bill Hartford's (Tom Cruise) wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), admits to having sexual fantasies about a man she met,... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#1

Weekend (2011)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 97994%
Critics Consensus: It may be a chamber piece but Weekend's revelations on modern sexuality expand far beyond the modest setting.
Synopsis: A gay man's (Tom Cullen) weekend-long encounter with an artist (Chris New) changes his life in unexpected ways.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Haigh

#1

Body Heat (1981)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100303%
Critics Consensus: Made from classic noir ingredients and flavored with a heaping helping of steamy modern spice, Body Heat more than lives up to its evocative title.
Synopsis: Shyster lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) begins a passionate affair with Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), wife of a wealthy Florida... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan

#1

Shame (2011)
79%

#1
Adjusted Score: 87680%
Critics Consensus: Boasting stellar performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, Shame is a powerful plunge into the mania of addiction affliction.
Synopsis: Successful and handsome New Yorker Brandon (Michael Fassbender) seems to live an ordinary life, but he hides a terrible secret... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen

#1

Showgirls (1995)
22%

#1
Adjusted Score: 24971%
Critics Consensus: Vile, contemptible, garish, and misogynistic -- and that might just be exactly Showgirls' point.
Synopsis: Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) arrives in Las Vegas with only a suitcase and a dream of becoming a top showgirl. She... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 35596%
Critics Consensus: While creatively better endowed than its print counterpart, Fifty Shades of Grey is a less than satisfying experience on the screen.
Synopsis: When college senior Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) steps in for her sick roommate to interview prominent businessman Christian Grey (Jamie... [More]
Directed By: Sam Taylor-Johnson

#1

Fear (1996)
46%

#1
Adjusted Score: 46649%
Critics Consensus: Fear has an appealing young cast, but their efforts aren't enough to consistently distract from an increasingly overblown - and illogical - teen stalker story.
Synopsis: When 16-year-old Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon) meets 23-year-old David McCall (Mark Wahlberg) at a Seattle nightclub, she falls in love.... [More]
Directed By: James Foley


BECAUSE THE MOVIE’S EVEN SCARIER IN PERFECT SILENCE…

#13

The Descent (2005)
86%

#13
Adjusted Score: 93860%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
Synopsis: A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#12

A Quiet Place (2018)
96%

#12
Adjusted Score: 118865%
Critics Consensus: A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that's as original as it is scary -- and establishes director John Krasinski as a rising talent.
Synopsis: If they hear you, they hunt you. A family must live in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by... [More]
Directed By: John Krasinski

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 44223%
Critics Consensus: There is indeed a good amount of tension in this French slasher, but the dubbing is bad and the end twist unbelievable.
Synopsis: A beautiful young Frenchwoman, Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco), travels out to the country to visit her family and brings along... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Aja

#10

The Strangers (2008)
48%

#10
Adjusted Score: 54443%
Critics Consensus: The Strangers has a handful of genuinely scary moments, but they're not enough to elevate the end results above standard slasher fare.
Synopsis: Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are expecting a relaxing weekend at a family vacation home, but their stay... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Bertino

#9

Hush (2016)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 95376%
Critics Consensus: Hush navigates the bloody waters of home invasion thrillers and incisive slashers for a contemporary horror puree.
Synopsis: A deaf woman is stalked by a killer in her home.... [More]
Directed By: Mike Flanagan

#8

28 Days Later (2002)
87%

#8
Adjusted Score: 94189%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#7

Alien (1979)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 108927%
Critics Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.
Synopsis: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#6

Dead Silence (2007)
21%

#6
Adjusted Score: 22876%
Critics Consensus: More tasteful than recent slasher flicks, but Dead Silence is undone by boring characters, bland dialogue, and an unnecessary and obvious twist ending.
Synopsis: After his wife meets a grisly end, Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) returns to their creepy hometown of Ravens Fair to... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 88335%
Critics Consensus: Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.
Synopsis: Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes... [More]
Directed By: Ti West

#1

The Others (2001)
83%

#1
Adjusted Score: 89447%
Critics Consensus: The Others is a spooky thriller that reminds us that a movie doesn't need expensive special effects to be creepy.
Synopsis: Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#4

Don't Breathe (2016)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 103094%
Critics Consensus: Don't Breathe smartly twists its sturdy premise to offer a satisfyingly tense, chilling addition to the home invasion genre that's all the more effective for its simplicity.
Synopsis: Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex and Money are three Detroit thieves who get their kicks by breaking into the houses of... [More]
Directed By: Fede Alvarez

#3

The Shining (1980)
85%

#3
Adjusted Score: 93380%
Critics Consensus: Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson.
Synopsis: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block.... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#2

Wait Until Dark (1967)
96%

#2
Adjusted Score: 96529%
Critics Consensus: Nail-bitingly tense and brilliantly acted, Wait Until Dark is a compact thriller that makes the most of its fiendishly clever premise.
Synopsis: After a flight back home, Sam Hendrix (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) returns with a doll he innocently acquired along the way.... [More]
Directed By: Terence Young

#1

The Conjuring (2013)
86%

#1
Adjusted Score: 93985%
Critics Consensus: Well-crafted and gleefully creepy, The Conjuring ratchets up dread through a series of effective old-school scares.
Synopsis: In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 41731%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A retired police detective (Charles Durning) hunts a deranged British seaman out to re-create a baby sitter's (Carol Kane) horror.... [More]
Directed By: Fred Walton

#1

Silent House (2011)
43%

#1
Adjusted Score: 46809%
Critics Consensus: Silent House is more technically proficient and ambitious than most fright-fests, but it also suffers from a disappointing payoff.
Synopsis: Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is working with her father (Adam Trese) and uncle (Eric Sheffer Stevens) to renovate an old family... [More]
Directed By: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 106179%
Critics Consensus: It Comes at Night makes lethally effective use of its bare-bones trappings while proving once again that what's left unseen can be just as horrifying as anything on the screen.
Synopsis: After a mysterious apocalypse leaves the world with few survivors, two families are forced to share a home in an... [More]
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults

#1

The Orphanage (2007)
87%

#1
Adjusted Score: 94026%
Critics Consensus: Deeply unnerving and surprisingly poignant, The Orphanage is an atmospheric, beautifully crafted haunted house horror film that earns scares with a minimum of blood.
Synopsis: Laura (Belén Rueda) has happy memories of her childhood in an orphanage. She convinces her husband to buy the place... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona


Thumbnail image: Everett Collection, Paramount Pictures, Focus Features

(Photo by Universal / courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Loved Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese followed his Best Picture and Director-winning The Departed with his most directly entertaining, plot twist-heavy movie, a psychological thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio investigating a remote asylum with a missing patient. Of course, it’s apparent from the beginning things aren’t as they seem…

If you’re looking for more movies like Shutter Island, why not start with the grandaddy of unreliable narrator movies: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It may be 100 (!) years old, but it still has the power to spook and captivate.

Part of Shutter Island‘s fun is that it encourages viewers to participate in solving the mystery, poke holes in the movie’s established reality, and look for the actual truth. It requires filmmaking mastery to create these puzzle boxes, so it’s not surprising some of our most beloved directors built their reputation on these: Alfred Hitchcock (Rebecca, Vertigo), David Fincher (The Game, Gone Girl), Christopher Nolan (Inception, Memento), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), and David Lynch (Mulholland Drive).

Movies like Shutter Island are all about building paranoia, like the hero has tapped into something true and sinister that nobody else is taking seriously. And frequently they’re told from a female perspective: Along with the already mentioned Black Swan, there’s also The Girl on the Train, the classic Diabolique, and Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, who’s convinced the missing son the police have returned to her is not her boy.

Psychological thrillers like Shutter Island differ from typical mysteries in that the nature of the film itself is the central mystery, as opposed to, say, figuring out who the murderer is. Movies in this vein include Open Your Eyes (remade as Vanilla Sky), John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (which helped drive Brian Wilson over the edge in real life), the sci-fi noir Dark City, the relentlessly scary Jacob’s Ladder, and A Scanner Darkly, arguably Keanu Reeves’ best movie made in that period between The Matrix and the Keanussance.

And if you’re looking for something more basic and primal, check out Identity or Secret Window. Not too taxing on the mind, but they’ll still give it a good twist.

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 63683%
Critics Consensus: Emily Blunt's outstanding performance isn't enough to keep The Girl on the Train from sliding sluggishly into exploitative melodrama.
Synopsis: Commuter Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) catches daily glimpses of a seemingly perfect couple, Scott and Megan, from the window of... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

#19

Secret Window (2004)
46%

#19
Adjusted Score: 51739%
Critics Consensus: Depp is quirkily entertaining, but the movie runs out of steam by the end.
Synopsis: While in the process of an ugly divorce from his wife (Maria Bello), writer Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) relocates to... [More]
Directed By: David Koepp

#18

Changeling (2008)
62%

#18
Adjusted Score: 69416%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully shot and well-acted, Changeling is a compelling story that unfortunately gives in to convention too often.
Synopsis: In 1928 Los Angeles, single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) arrives home to find her son, Walter, gone. Five months... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#17

Identity (2003)
62%

#17
Adjusted Score: 66793%
Critics Consensus: Identity is a film that will divide audiences -- the twists of its plot will either impress or exasperate you.
Synopsis: When a vicious storm breaks out in the Nevada desert, 10 people seek refuge in an isolated motel. At the... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#16

A Scanner Darkly (2006)
68%

#16
Adjusted Score: 75003%
Critics Consensus: A faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, A Scanner Darkly takes the viewer on a visual and mind-blowing journey into the author's conception of a drug-addled and politically unstable world.
Synopsis: In the near future, as America virtually loses the war on drugs, Robert Arctor, a narcotics cop in Orange County,... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#15

Jacob's Ladder (1990)
73%

#15
Adjusted Score: 77829%
Critics Consensus: Even with its disorienting leaps of logic and structure, Jacob's Ladder is an engrossing, nerve-shattering experience.
Synopsis: After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Lyne

#14

The Game (1997)
76%

#14
Adjusted Score: 79710%
Critics Consensus: The ending could use a little work but this is otherwise another sterling example of David Fincher's iron grip on atmosphere and storytelling.
Synopsis: Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a successful banker who keeps mostly to himself. When his estranged brother Conrad (Sean... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#13

Dark City (1998)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 80497%
Critics Consensus: Stylishly gloomy, Dark City offers a polarizing whirl of arresting visuals and noirish action.
Synopsis: John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) awakens alone in a strange hotel to find that he is wanted for a series of... [More]
Directed By: Alex Proyas

#12

The Machinist (2004)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 80907%
Critics Consensus: Brad Anderson's dark psychological thriller about a sleepless factory worker is elevated by Christian Bale astonishingly committed performance.
Synopsis: Factory worker Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) suffers from insomnia so severe that his condition has taken its toll on his... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson

#11

Mulholland Dr. (2001)
84%

#11
Adjusted Score: 90299%
Critics Consensus: David Lynch's dreamlike and mysterious Mulholland Drive is a twisty neo-noir with an unconventional structure that features a mesmirizing performance from Naomi Watts as a woman on the dark fringes of Hollywood.
Synopsis: A dark-haired woman (Laura Elena Harring) is left amnesiac after a car crash. She wanders the streets of Los Angeles... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#10

Black Swan (2010)
85%

#10
Adjusted Score: 96516%
Critics Consensus: Bracingly intense, passionate, and wildly melodramatic, Black Swan glides on Darren Aronofsky's bold direction -- and a bravura performance from Natalie Portman.
Synopsis: Nina (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina whose passion for the dance rules every facet of her life. When the company's... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#9

Open Your Eyes (1997)
85%

#9
Adjusted Score: 87514%
Critics Consensus: Director Alejandro Amenábar tackles some heady issues with finesse and clarity in Open Your Eyes, a gripping exploration of existentialism and the human spirit.
Synopsis: Handsome 25-year-old Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) had it all -- a successful career, expensive cars, a swank bachelor's pad, and an... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#8

Gone Girl (2014)
87%

#8
Adjusted Score: 103152%
Critics Consensus: Dark, intelligent, and stylish to a fault, Gone Girl plays to director David Fincher's sick strengths while bringing the best out of stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
Synopsis: In Carthage, Mo., former New York-based writer Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his glamorous wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) present a... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#7

Inception (2010)
87%

#7
Adjusted Score: 101387%
Critics Consensus: Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.
Synopsis: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people's dreams and steal their secrets from... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#6

Seconds (1966)
78%

#6
Adjusted Score: 84362%
Critics Consensus: Featuring dazzling, disorienting cinematography from the great James Wong Howe and a strong lead performance by Rock Hudson, Seconds is a compellingly paranoid take on the legend of Faust.
Synopsis: Banker Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) gets a call one day from a friend he thought was dead. It turns out... [More]
Directed By: John Frankenheimer

#5

Memento (2000)
93%

#5
Adjusted Score: 100064%
Critics Consensus: Christopher Nolan skillfully guides the audience through Memento's fractured narrative, seeping his film in existential dread.
Synopsis: Leonard (Guy Pearce) is tracking down the man who raped and murdered his wife. The difficulty, however, of locating his... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#4

Vertigo (1958)
94%

#4
Adjusted Score: 104482%
Critics Consensus: An unpredictable scary thriller that doubles as a mournful meditation on love, loss, and human comfort.
Synopsis: Hitchcock's romantic story of obsession, manipulation and fear. A detective is forced to retire after his fear of heights causes... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#3

Diabolique (1955)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100996%
Critics Consensus: Cruel, dark, but undeniably effective, Diabolique is a suspense thriller as effective as Hitchcock's best work and with a brilliant twist ending.
Synopsis: In this classic of French suspense, the cruel and abusive headmaster of a boarding school, Michel Delassalle (Paul Meurisse), becomes... [More]
Directed By: Henri-Georges Clouzot

#2
Adjusted Score: 114559%
Critics Consensus: Arguably the first true horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari set a brilliantly high bar for the genre -- and remains terrifying nearly a century after it first stalked the screen.
Synopsis: At a carnival in Germany, Francis (Friedrich Feher) and his friend Alan (Rudolf Lettinger) encounter the crazed Dr. Caligari (Werner... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1

Rebecca (1940)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 111165%
Critics Consensus: Hitchcock's first American film (and his only Best Picture winner), Rebecca is a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere, Gothic thrills, and gripping suspense.
Synopsis: Story of a young woman who marries a fascinating widower only to find out that she must live in the... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

He’s taken us to Gotham, inside the human subconscious, and to the furthest reaches of time and space — and this weekend, Christopher Nolan‘s putting us in the trenches with Dunkirk, about the heroic efforts of real-life British citizens to rescue stranded Allied troops during World War II. Clearly, this is the perfect time to take stock of his filmography, offering an overview of an acclaimed career’s brightest critical highlights while giving you the chance to make a ranking of your own. It’s time for Total Recall!


Use the up and down arrows to rank the movies, or click here to see them ranked by Tomatometer!

As usual, Netflix and Amazon Prime released a whole bunch of new titles at the beginning of the month, so we’ve combed through them to bring you the best of the bunch, from a Christopher Nolan thriller and an animated treat to a horror classic, a modern Woody Allen triumph, and the first three Jurassic Park movies. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

The Iron Giant (1999) 96%

Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston, and Harry Connick Jr. lend their voices to Brad Bird’s animated feature debut, about a large sentient robot who finds himself lost in a small Maine town in 1958 and befriends a young boy.

Available now on: Netflix


This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 95%

Another acclaimed directorial debut, this genre-defining Rob Reiner mockumentary follows an aging British metal band as they embark on a US tour.

Available now on: Netflix


Midnight in Paris (2011) 93%

Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and a slew of stars breathe life into Woody Allen’s dreamy romantic comedy about an aspiring novelist who, on a trip to Paris with his fiancée, is transported back to an idealized version of the city in the 1920s.

Available now on: Netflix


Jurassic Park (1993) 92%

Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur extravaganza blew audiences away back in 1993, and Netflix is streaming it now, in addition to its two non-Jurassic World sequels.

Available now on Netflix: Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III


Memento (2000) 93%

Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss star in Christopher Nolan’s breakout thriller about a man with short-term memory loss trying desperately to piece together the details of his wife’s murder.

Available now on: Netflix


Blazing Saddles (1974) 88%

Mel Brooks’ iconic western spoof stars Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder as a sheriff and gunslinger who work together to save a small town from a greedy opportunist.

Available now on: Netflix


Hap and Leonard: Season 1 (2016) 88%

James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams star in this Sundance drama about the friendship between a draft dodger and a gay, black Vietnam vet during the 1980s.

Available now on: Netflix


Kung Fu Panda (2008) 87%

Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman lead an all-star voice cast in Dreamworks’ wildly successful animated tale about a lowly panda who becomes a martial arts master.

Available now on: Netflix


Chicago (2002) 86%

Rob Marshall’s Best Picture winner stars Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones in an adaptation of the Broadway musical about a pair of dancers who meet in prison and utilize scandal for their own benefit.

Available now on: Netflix


The Omen (1976) 86%

Gregory Peck and Lee Remick star in this classic horror film about an upstanding London couple who discover their young son may be the Anti-Christ.

Available now on: Netflix


Anastasia (1997) 86%

Meg Ryan and John Cusack provide the voices for this animated take on the legend about a Russian duchess who escaped the massacre of her family and grew up as an orphan.

Available now on: Netflix


Slums of Beverly Hills (1998) 81%

Yet another remarkable directorial debut, Tamara Jenkins indie comedy stars Natasha Lyonne as a teen living in Los Angeles during the 1970s who bonds with her sexually liberated older cousin (Marisa Tomei).

Available now on: Netflix


Frailty (2002) 75%

The late Bill Paxton starred alongside Matthew McConaughey in his own directorial debut, a psychological thriller about two brothers who respond very differently to their serial killer father.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) 96%

Jemain Clement and Taika Waititi co-wrote, co-directed, and co-star in this hilarious Certified Fresh, Golden Tomato Award-winning mockumentary centered on four vampire roommates and their eccentric lifestyles.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Emma (1996) 85%

Gwyneth Paltrow stars in this adaptation of the Jane Austen novel about a well-meaning woman who takes it upon herself to play matchmaker to those in her life, unaware that she has an admirer of her own.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on FandangoNOW

 

Ida (2013) 96%

This stunning, Oscar-nominated black and white drama is the story a young woman on the verge of joining a convent who discovers a dark family secret.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Lore (2012) 94%

This drama follows a group of German children who undertake a perilous escape after their Nazi-affiliated parents are arrested by Allied troops.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


The Weekend (2013) 89%

Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan star in this Certified Fresh drama about a feuding married couple who spend an eventful weekend in Paris.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010) 88%

This Certified Fresh documentary from Werner Herzog depicts everyday life in a village in Siberia.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


The Omen (1976) 86%

Gregory Peck and Lee Remick star in this classic horror film about an upstanding London couple who discover their young son may be the Anti-Christ.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Mesrine: Part II - Public Enemy 1 (2008) 81%

Vincent Cassel returns as the titular gangster, now in police custody and facing prison, who escapes and reinvents himself as public anti-hero with celebrity status.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Mesrine: Part 1 - Death Instinct (2008) 82%

Vincent Cassel stars in the first of two films about Jacques Mesrine, a former soldier in 1960s Paris who embraces the criminal lifestyle and quickly moves up the ladder.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


The Deep Blue Sea (2011) 80%

Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston star in Terence Davies romantic drama about a judge’s wife who begins an affair with a Royal Air Force pilot.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) 74%

Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston star in this spinoff of the Harry Potter series about wizard Newt Scamander’s efforts to recapture mythical creatures let loose in 1920s New York as a greater threat looms on the horizon.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


[tomatometer]MuzeID=1217219[/tomatometer]

UPDATE! Scroll to the bottom to read more about Inception‘s first
Rotten review.

“From the director of The Dark Knight.” Those words impart some serious expectations for Christopher Nolan’s Inception, not just in commercial terms (the Bat-sequel took $533 million in the US alone) but also critical stature — 2008’s Knight earned a lofty 94% “Fresh” rating on RT; the kind of numbers usually unheard of for a superhero film.

In fact, Nolan’s got a track record beyond the Bat that’s going to be just as tough to measure himself against. Consider the stats: his 1998 debut, Following, is at 80% (with 20 reviews counted); 2001’s breakthrough Memento at 93% (134 reviews); 2002’s thriller Insomnia 92% (166 reviews); and 2005’s Batman Begins boasts an 85% fresh score (254 reviews). Even the critical runt of Nolan’s litter, 2006’s duel of the magicians The Prestige, is sitting on Certified Fresh with 75% from 187 reviews.


Plenty to live up to, sure — but if the early, ecstatic reviews arriving for the film are any indication, Inception just might turn out to be Christopher Nolan’s best-reviewed film yet.

[rtimage]MapID=1217219&MapTypeID=2&photo=52&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Justin Chang at Variety writes that, “If movies are shared dreams, then Christopher Nolan is surely one of Hollywood’s most inventive dreamers, given the evidence of his commandingly clever Inception.” He goes on to call Nolan’s filmmaking “an activity devoted to constructing a simulacrum of reality, intended to seduce us, mess with our heads and leave a lasting impression,” and concludes, simply, “Mission accomplished.”

[rtimage]MapID=1217219&MapTypeID=2&photo=47&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt declares the movie, “A devilishly complicated, fiendishly enjoyable sci-fi voyage across a dreamscape that is thoroughly compelling.” Seems Inception had some major impact on the critic, too. “Sometimes originality comes at a cost though,” Honeycutt writes. “At the end, you may find yourself utterly exhausted.”

[rtimage]MapID=1217219&MapTypeID=2&photo=46&legacy=1[/rtimage]

If those reviews aren’t rapturous enough, Techland‘s Steven James Snyder awards Inception his, “Best of 2010 thus far.” And he went in with heightened anticipation: “I expected a lot, but still walked out hypnotized,” Snyder says. “Here’s a movie that’s 3 steps ahead of you, on 4 different levels, at 5 blinding speeds.”

[rtimage]MapID=1217219&MapTypeID=2&photo=45&legacy=1[/rtimage]

UPDATE: The first Rotten review came in Monday morning, with #18
breaking Inception‘s 100% streak early (comparatively, Toy Story 3
had over 100 reviews before its first Rotten).
Top Critic David Edelstein of
New York Magazine
took umbrage with Nolan’s downbeat demeanor,
claiming him “too literal-minded, too caught up in ticktock logistics, to make a
great, untethered dream movie.” Edelstein, who also panned the other two Nolan
movies he reviewed (The Dark Knight and
The Prestige), is among the critics who
recognize Inception as one more from the head than the heart, but takes
it all the way by calling it out as a movie of “brontosaurean effects [with a]
tone is so solemn [he] felt out of line even cracking a smile.”

Keep it tuned to Inception‘s page right here to find out just how the Tomatometer fares as more reviews start rolling in.



Duncan Jones

Duncan Jones has done the seemingly impossible — tell a smart, engaging and entertaining sci-fi story on a modest budget. In Britain. As his debut feature film. No wonder everyone’s talking about Moon and its tale of an astronaut (Sam Rockwell) manning a lunar base mining Helium-3. Scoring an impressive 90% on the Tomatometer – qualifying it for a Certified Fresh award we’ve still yet to send him, much to his chagrin — critics have been going wild for its sheer ambition, not to mention Rockwell’s outstanding lead performance and Jones’ assured direction. “I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s something that Sam and I, obviously, wanted to make,” he tells RT as we sit down to tap him for his Five Favourite Films. “It’s the kind of science fiction film that doesn’t get made much anymore, and something that we miss.”

His choices clearly link to his work on Moon, and will, we discover, inform his next project, the similarly-sparsely-titled Mute. For Jones, the project, which was circulating before Moon came to be, was simply too ambitious for a first film. Which is odd when you consider the ambition of Moon. “It’ll be like what Chris Nolan did, I hope. He did Memento and then he did the next one, Insomnia with Al Pacino, which was a step forward. I want to take a similar kind of step if I can.” Read on to find out more…

Click on a thumbnail below.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner

Twelve Monkeys
Twelve Monkeys

M*A*S*H
M*A*S*H

Yojimbo
Yojimbo

Fight Club
Fight Club


Duncan Jones

Blade Runner

Blade Runner

“For me, Blade Runner is the best science-fiction film ever made. Although I did just speak to StarWars.com the other day, and Star Wars was the best science-fiction film ever made. Blade Runner, for me, was the most fully realised world. Sometimes you see films, not just science fiction films, where you get the sense that if the camera were to pan just to the left or the right all of a sudden you’d be seeing light stands and crew standing around. But with Blade Runner, the beauty of it is that it felt like a real, breathing city. Science-fiction cities in general, I think, are so hard to get right, because it’s so easy to just play some cheesy music or do something that takes you right out of it, but Blade Runner got it right, and I love that about the film.

It’s a great film as well, the performances are all amazing, Rutger Hauer is incredible in it. He’s never been as cool and sexy in anything since. Harrison Ford is grim and just a great protagonist. It’s just a brilliant sexy film. The sense that there is a real world beyond the frame of the camera is something that I want to do with my next film Mute, that’s going to be very much my love letter to Blade Runner. It’s a future Berlin thriller, and it’s exactly that element of Blade Runner that I want to capture in my film.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner

Twelve Monkeys
Twelve Monkeys

M*A*S*H
M*A*S*H

Yojimbo
Yojimbo

Fight Club
Fight Club


Duncan Jones

Twelve Monkeys

Twelve Monkeys

“By Terry Gilliam, who is an amazing filmmaker anyway, and there are so many to choose from; Brazil, Fisher King… There are lots of his films that I love, but Twelve Monkeys, in particular, I thought was fantastic. I think it’s the best thing Bruce Willis has ever done, and also the best thing Brad Pitt has ever done as well. It’s just really intense, exciting and weird, and everything that I love about Terry Gilliam, so that’s up there.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner

Twelve Monkeys
Twelve Monkeys

M*A*S*H
M*A*S*H

Yojimbo
Yojimbo

Fight Club
Fight Club


Duncan Jones

M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H

“I think it’s one of the great comedies. It’s incredibly dark, and on a character side, Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould, their characters are just so believable, and I think it’s the first bromance film, I just love it. I love the relationship between those two guys, so M*A*S*H is up there too.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner

Twelve Monkeys
Twelve Monkeys

M*A*S*H
M*A*S*H

Yojimbo
Yojimbo

Fight Club
Fight Club


Duncan Jones

Yojimbo

Yojimbo

“I’m going for a bit film school-y one, because I love Akira Kurosawa films, but I don’t want to go for Seven Samurai, so i’ll go for Yojimbo or Sanjuro, those ones that all the spaghetti westerns were based on. I know it’s not fair, but that clump of Japanese samurai films were just beautiful films. Toshiro Mifune was such an elegant hero and there’s something really empathetic about him. There’s this lovely thing with his face where you really can just tell everything that he’s thinking. He doesn’t have to do much at all; you can just sense what’s going on with him. So I love those films, anything with Mifune in actually, but that period in particular, he was the best hero ever.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner

Twelve Monkeys
Twelve Monkeys

M*A*S*H
M*A*S*H

Yojimbo
Yojimbo

Fight Club
Fight Club


Duncan Jones

Fight Club

Fight Club

“It’s not the best film ever, but it is beautifully done. It’s visceral and it’s beautifully made. I like David Fincher, I love his films anyway, but that film is, to me, the best of Fincher and what he really does well. It’s stylised but it’s smart. Even though it’s stylised, you feel that there’s a real character to it, it’s something very individual, and features another great Brad Pitt role. That and Twelve Monkeys are his best bits ever. Seven is fantastic as well, although I should stop clumping films together.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner

Twelve Monkeys
Twelve Monkeys

M*A*S*H
M*A*S*H

Yojimbo
Yojimbo

Fight Club
Fight Club


Moon is out now.

The Matrix

10 Years Since 1999

1999 was one of the most important years for modern cinema. From defining originals like The Matrix and Fight Club to sleeper favourites like Office Space and Election, 1999 was a landmark year for the internet generation of movie fans and set a high standard for the big screen as we headed into the new millennium. Ten years on, we’re celebrating a remarkable twelve months of movies with new features around some of the year’s best and most important releases.

The big science fiction blockbuster of 1999 was going to be Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, but by comparison to The Matrix, which took audiences by surprise on its release exactly ten years ago today, it turned out to be the most eagerly-awaited sci-fi film of 1978. The Matrix was the phenomenon which made George Lucas‘ serial-style adventure seem as quaint as tie-dye loon pants. It did the proper sci-fi job of surfing the zeitgeist exactly in every single aspect: The long leather coats and cool shades (influenced by the look of Chow-Yun Fat in John Woo movies). The pounding techno music which would have given John Williams a headache. The frenzy of paranoia about computers whipped up by the millennium bug (remember that?). The notion that a computer geek could be an outlaw rebel hero. The end-of-century sensation that an apocalypse was coming even if all our Windows 98 platform PCs kept on working. And, of course, the notion that Keanu Reeves was potentially the wisest dude on the planet.

The Matrix didn’t come from nowhere, and indeed arrived in the midst of a batch of similar projects it left standing commercially. Like Star Wars in 1977, it was the film of its moment — it even dared to set its artificial city in the late 20th Century as if aware of a sell-by date — and has seeped into subsequent movies which have either blatantly or subtly drawn from aspects of The Matrix — ranging from its action-friendly fashion sense to franchise-building business plan. Join RT as we explore ten movies released in the ten years since The Matrix came out that owe a little something to one of 1999’s most exciting releases.

X-Men


X-Men

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1097780[/tomatometer]

X-Men (2000)

Marvel’s main mutants had been stalled in development limbo for decades, handicapped as potential screen icons by their frankly naff, gaudy comic book costumes. From The Matrix, the X-Men movies took a sturdy, black-leather-based look which became the default fashion statement for angsty 2000 superheroes just as red-white-and-blue tights (or, in Wolverine’s case, yellow spandex) had been in earlier eras. The influence might have been two-way — like Star Trek‘s Holodeck and Doctor Who‘s (um) Matrix, the X-Men‘s Danger Room (a virtual reality training ground as seen in X-Men: The Last Stand) was an important precursor of The Matrix‘s Matrix.

Memento


Memento

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1105582[/tomatometer]

Memento (2000)

Like Keanu Reeves’ Neo, Guy Pearce‘s amnesiac keeps having the rug pulled out from under his reality, and learns not to trust Joe Pantoliano while getting mixed up with Carrie-Anne Moss. It wasn’t only the casting director of Christopher Nolan‘s breakthrough movie who took cues from the Wachowskis. While it uses a tricky, backwards Chinese box structure and a mental aberration rather than a computer-generated reality, Memento is able to tell its complicated story confidently because of the precedent. If audiences understood The Matrix enough to make it a big hit, then they could be trusted to follow and enjoy Memento.

Avalon


Avalon

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1126021[/tomatometer]

Avalon (2002)

The Matrix owes much to Japanese anime and s-f cinema in general, and would not have been possible without an audience who were literate in computer games — this live-action picture from anime god Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) replays the compliment, going The Matrix one better by pulling back from a virtual post-apocalypse world which is the arena of a combat game to the players’ reality, which turns out to be equally pixel-based with no end in sight. It also surrounds its protagonist with enigmatic guru figures who nag her on through her quest — the heirs of Morpheus tend to be a lot more prone to explaining things than the likes of Yoda or Gandalf.

Cypher


Cypher

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1147405[/tomatometer]

Cypher (2002)

This smart, underrated paranoia movie from Vincenzo Natali (Cube) even takes its name from one of the characters in The Matrix — the Joe Pantoliano traitor, which hints at its trickiness. Like The Matrix, it’s influenced by author Philip K. Dick as ordinary suburbanite Jeremy Northam takes another identity to infiltrate a rival corportation as a cyber-spy, only to wonder which if either of his personalities is real. With Lucy Liu in the Trinity role and the sexiest helicopters ever, this is as endearing a knockoff as the style pilot fish movies Roger Corman used to get on the market following big hits in earlier decades.

Equilibrium


Equilibrium

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1118792[/tomatometer]

Equilibrium (2002)

One of the breakthroughs of The Matrix was ‘bullet-time’, a photo-process designed entirely to show off John Woo-style gunplay (and swirling coats). This dystopian vision from Kurt Wimmer, which cops its plot from 1984 or Fahrenheit 451, elevates ‘bullet-time’ into a whole martial art called ‘gun-kata’, as mastered by futuristic killer goon turned rebel Christian Bale in a Neo-look outfit. This is a movie which literally rides on the coattails of The Matrix. The film would be po-faced were it not for the elegant, if ludicrous gun-kata scenes.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl


Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1123873[/tomatometer]

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Though worlds away from The Matrix in subject matter (if equally fond of gravity-defying duels), this franchise copped the Matrix business model (itself influenced by Back to the Future) — an unexpected, runaway success made on a moderate budget within tight restrictions, followed by two much more expensive, self-indulgent and lengthy sequels shot back to back and released six months apart with a ‘to be continued’ at the end of part two. The only thing Pirates missed was getting a bunch of cartoon visionaries to turn out The Anipirates.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1130889[/tomatometer]

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Like Memento, this could be seen as The Artimatrix — an adoption of the Matrix narrative devices by an indie-type, contemporary-based puzzle movie. Before The Matrix, it would have been difficult to sell a story told from the viewpoint of a character whose subjective perceptions (here, his memories) are being overwritten by external forces during the course of the plot — and expected the audience to follow all the threads. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet may be less cool-looking than Keanu and Carrie-Anne, and their interior worlds may be smaller, but they are in the same business of wiping and rewriting reality.

Constantine


Constantine

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1142336[/tomatometer]

Constantine (2005)

Keanu Reeves’ place on the cool-o-meter has never been secure — for every Bill & Ted or Point Break or Speed, there’s a Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Little Buddha or Johnny Mnemonic. The Matrix may have been the major spike of his career, giving him a use for his signature bewildered-but-determined look and kitting him out in an iconic coat. The comics’ John Constantine, originally drawn to look like Sting (unkind people said Freddie Starr), was another trenchcoat-wearing defier of dark forces — demons, rather than rogue robots — and Keanu took a lot of his Neo look and mannerisms over into this film version of the DC title.

The Island


The Island

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1146422[/tomatometer]

The Island (2005)

Remember the one Michael Bay film critics and audiences had trouble with because it was too clever? It’s another film which is only loosely in the same genre as The Matrix (futuristic, Earthbound sci-fi) but borrows a lot from the Wachowskis’ plot-book: a long first act set in a strange, but calm enclosed world peopled by pretty folks who don’t understand its nature — then a violent ‘awakening’ that reveals shocking truths about the way the characters are being exploited and a series of action-movie chases (with a motorway chase specifically influenced by The Matrix Reloaded) until a big conceptual crisis changes the whole world again. We’re still wating for The Island Reloaded and The Island Revolutions, though…

WALL-E


WALL-E

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1187275[/tomatometer]

WALL-E (2008)

If, as some fruit-loops have suggested, the Wachowskis have discovered the true nature of the universe and The Matrix is actually true, then our computer masters could create no more insidious and effective a propaganda movie than WALL-E. The Pixar triumph is The Matrix told from the point of view of the machines — with the human race depicted as fat, consumerist dolts who deserve to be plugged into their hover-chairs because they’re useless for anything else, and a dauntless, sensitive, intrepid robot hero who looks after the blasted remains of a planet which has been abandoned by people who used it all up and ran away.

The Matrix is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Exclusive: McG Talks Terminator Salvation

The news that one of the greatest sci-fi franchises of all time was to get a full-fat reboot predictably sent cyborg fanboys into paroxysms of joy. For about 10 minutes. That Arnie, otherwise engaged running the world’s fourth largest economy, wouldn’t be back was partly compensated for by the casting of Christian Bale. But the revelation that McG was to be at the helm put an abrupt stop to the celebrations. Recently, though, the tide’s been turning with trailers and longer assemblages revealing a gritty war movie with more in common with Mad Max and Children of Men than Charlie’s Angels. RT talked exclusively to the much-maligned McG about the rise of his machines…


Terminator Salvation

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1197277[/tomatometer]

Pitch Terminator Salvation to us.

McG: The whole idea for doing this movie is to honour the first three movies but begin again. The big difference is we’re post-Judgement Day, whereas the other pictures were all contemporary, with Terminators coming back in time. It’s deep post-Judgement Day, it’s a new beginning, and because the future is malleable, there are a great many places to go.

One of the joys of this picture is it explores the space between Judgement Day and the becoming of the T800. So we get to see all the research and development that went into the proficiency of the T800. It’s like an Apple computer; the first ones you got 15 years ago had 2 megs of memory, and they weren’t so fast. And now today it’s the Macbook air and it does back flips. You know, it’s the same thing with the Machine world. And it suggests a world that’s less based in science fiction than it was when Jim Cameron was making the movies.

How do you mean?

McG: Well we live in a time where if you have an arthritic shoulder, they’ll give you a new one. We can make a 70-year-old woman pregnant, and deconstruct the human genome. And certainly the days of talking to a psychiatrist about your mommy and daddy issues are over — they just want to manipulate your serotonin levels. And therefore it’s real — it’s here. It’s now. That wasn’t the case when Ridley Scott made Blade Runner, or the first Terminator pictures, or even when the first Matrix came out. So in response our film was designed to have that tactile reality of Children of Men, or even the Bourne franchise.

Terminator Salvation
Christian Bale and Sam Worthington in Terminator Salvation.
Click here for more Terminator Salvation images.

Are there obvious elements in the previous movies that have to come back into play in yours?

McG: Certainly. We pay off a great many things that are established — particularly with Kyle Reese. We talk about the mythology of his shotgun strap, his proficiency for stealing cars, and we see where he learned a lot of these skills. And it wasn’t from Connor, it was from the Marcus character, which is one of the joys of the picture. We cite “Pain can be controlled, you just disconnect it,” you know, and we realise where he got that, and there’s a great many tidbits for the hard-core fans out there. But it’s designed as well for people who don’t know that much about the ins and outs of the first films.

Any “Hasta la vista, baby” moments?

McG: We’re working on a few. But I would never be so bold as to say we’ll have that good fortune of, you know, stuff sticking around to that degree. [Laughs]

You’ve got a really talented team of writers on board.

McG: Yeah, we wanted it to be written with the deftest pens possible. There’s a writing team called Ferris and Brancato that wrote the original draft. Then when I got involved, I brought in Paul Haggis, we worked for about 2 months on the script, with Christian as well. He taught us a great deal about character. Then we brought in Jonathan Nolan — who wrote the Batman pictures, Prestige, and largely Memento. So it’s a very cerebral bunch that’s here to make a film of the highest quality.

Continue onto the next page as McG talks about the challenges of shooting the film, his approach to CGI and whether he could take Linda Hamilton in a fight.

Exclusive: McG Talks Terminator Salvation


Terminator Salvation

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1197277[/tomatometer]

What were the most complicated scenes to shoot?

McG: Well a lot of the scenes take place in one shot, and figuring out places to hide the cuts… Again, I go to Children of Men — the car sequence, where the motorbikes come, and Julianne Moore is shot, and the whole thing plays in one shot. Figuring that out is very difficult, and you’ve got to figure out exactly where you’re going to have your blend points; you need to measure everything off, and consult with the visual effects people.

There’s a big gas station sequence that had that, and that was very, very tedious, and very, very technical filmmaking. And that’s why I love this film — one day we’re shooting a very intimate, character-driven scene, and there’s nothing going on but Connor and his wife in a room, and she’s the only one he can talk to about what’s on his mind. And then the next day we’re, you know, blowing up half of New Mexico, and going to a place of extraordinary action. So those are decidedly different hats to wear, day in, day out.

Do you deliberately do as much physically as you can? George Lucas would shoot the whole thing on a green screen, with guys wearing ping-pong balls…

McG: I say with respect to George Lucas, who I adore, I don’t like that at all. This is why Stan Winston‘s team is here. We do as much practically and in camera as possible. I want the machines to be real and we built all the machines. We built all the prosthetics. And then they’re accentuated and added to, certainly.

Terminator Salvation
Christian Bale in Terminator Salvation.
Click here for more Terminator Salvation images.

McG: I believe in visual effects completely. But I just don’t believe in saying, “throw up the green screen, and let’s make it happen.” I think the audience has become so skilled in recognising that – they sniff it out and it loses its potency. We’re going to have 800 CGI shots in this — I mean it’s a CG festival, that’s why I brought in the best minds in the business to come in and get it done – but we don’t just say, “put a blue sleeve on the Marcus character,” I mean — the guy spent six hours in make-up.

How do you inject humour and warmth into this universe?

McG: I don’t. There’s not a great deal of humour and warmth in this universe. It’s very largely influenced by the Cormac McCarthy novel The Road. It’s designed to feel that way — detached and existential, it’s got a great deal of Camus’ The Stranger in it. But there’s a gallows humour. We could all be in a bunker somewhere, and every now and again, you elbow the guy next to you and you make a wisecrack — what else are you going to do? It’s one of the defining characteristics of being human, even in the face of death. But the movie is designed to be very serious and very credible.

Could you take Linda Hamilton in a fight?

McG: Most certainly not. After those pull-ups in the psychiatric ward, I don’t think I could make that happen.

Terminator Salvation is released in the US on 21st May, in the UK on 3rd June and in Australia on 4th June.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a complex tale of heroism (Clint Eastwood‘s "Flags of Our Fathers," starring Ryan Phillippe), a story of dueling magicians (Christopher Nolan‘s "The Prestige," starring Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, and Hugh Jackman), a yarn about a girl and her horse ("Flicka," starring Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw), and a post-punk-scored period piece about the least punk human being ever (Sofia Coppola‘s "Marie Antoinette," starring Kirsten Dunst). What do the critics have to say?

Is America a great country? Yes. Do the soldiers who fought in WWII, the Greatest Generation, deserve our utmost praise for their sacrifices? Without a doubt. Is the truth often more complicated than the myth? Definitely. Clint Eastwood‘s latest, "Flags of Our Fathers," tells the story of that famous photo of the servicemen raising the flag atop Iwo Jima, and the trials and tribulations their celebrity caused. Critics say the film is so rich with historical information and inherent drama that it’s occasionally a little too much, but strong performances and Eastwood’s sure directorial hand keep things on track. At 69 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flags" may not reach the heights of Eastwood’s last film, "Million Dollar Baby" (92 percent), but it’s still flying pretty high. (Check out our feature on Clint’s filmography here.)


Clint Eastwood pays tribute to the Greatest Generation.

With "Memento," Christopher Nolan made a name for himself by holding his secrets close to the vest to the bitter end. Now comes "The Prestige," in which the director again serves up a brain-teaser, this time involving a pair of public manipulators in their own right. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman star as bitterly competitive magicians in turn-of- the-century London who play a deadly game of one-upmanship. While some scribes say the movie is uneven in spots, "The Prestige" is winning praise for its remarkable production design, sharp performances, and more than enough cinematic sleight-of-hand to keep audiences interested. At 68 percent, this is Nolan’s worst reviewed film, and it’s still getting its share of prestige.


"Headlines don’t sell papes. Newsies sell papes."

There is no shortage of stories involving adolescents and their beloved equine friends, from Steinbeck‘s "The Red Pony" to "The Black Stallion" to last year’s "Dreamer." Critics say "Flicka," itself a remake, is a strong and affecting entry into this sub-genre. The film stars Alison Lohman as a 16-year-old who loves her untamed horse and the freedom of the open range, and Tim McGraw as her father, a man with different ideas about her future. Some critics say "Flicka" is an old-fashioned, solid family drama with a notable lack of schmaltz, but others say the material is too well-trodden to really hit home. At 60 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flicka" ain’t Secretariat, but it’s not ready for the glue factory, either.


"Flicka": Full of horsing around!

In the song "Natural’s Not In It," the socialist British post-punk band Gang of Four sarcastically lamented "the problem of leisure / what to do for pleasure," words that are especially resonant if you’re a teenage monarch ruling a country you know little about, and your subjects are calling for your head. Sofia Coppola‘s long-awaited (and already controversial) "Marie Antoinette" tells the story of the queen (Kirsten Dunst), her inattentive husband, Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), her gossipy, silver-tongued court, and all the empty fun she had before she gets her head chopped off. Critics say Coppola’s film offers a wealth of visual riches and makes Marie’s hardships somewhat empathetic, but they’re split over its apparent lack of substance, as well as the anachronistic use of music by the likes of New Order, the Strokes, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. At 64 percent on the Tomatometer, this is definitely a cut (pun intended) below Coppola’s last feature, "Lost in Translation" (95 percent), but it’s still a pretty tasty piece of cake.


"A new royal family / A wild nobility / We are the family."

Also opening this week in limited release: "51 Birch Street," a documentary exploring the hidden lives of the filmmaker Doug Block’s parents, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; "Requiem," a German tale of epilepsy/demonic possession, is at 100 percent; Tim Burton‘s stop motion anti-holiday classic "The Nightmare Before Christmas," getting a re-release, is at 96 percent; "Sweet Land," a sweeping tale of the American immigrant experience, is at 93 percent; "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple," a documentary about cult leader Jim Jones and his flock, is at 92 percent; "Hair High," a perverse animated comedy about a strange high school, is at 63 percent; "Sleeping Dogs Lie," Bobcat Goldthwait‘s sweet, taboo-busting rom-com, is at 59 percent; and "Running with Scissors," a tale of therapy and growing pains starring Annette Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow, is at 17 percent.

Recent Clint Eastwood-Directed Movies:
————————————————-
92% — Million Dollar Baby (2004)
86% — Mystic River (2003)
56% — Blood Work (2002)
78% — Space Cowboys (2000)
50% — True Crime (1999)

Recent Kirsten Dunst Movies:
————————————–
28% — Elizabethtown (2005)
62% — Wimbledon (2004)
7% — Kaena: The Prophesy (2004)
93% — Spider Man 2 (2004)
93% — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Recent Christian Bale Movies:
————————————
59% — The New World (2005)
84% — Batman Begins (2005)
85% — Howl’s Moving Castle (2005)
72% — The Machinist (2004)
68% — Laurel Canyon (2003)

Now that we know who’s playing The Joker in "The Dark Knight" (it’s Heath Ledger), all the Batfan speculation is now pointed towards the character of Harvey "Two Face" Dent. Previous buzz indicated that Liev Schreiber was "the guy," but now there’s a new name invovled: Christopher Nolan‘s old pal Guy Pearce.

From Batman-on-Film.com and Cinematical: "From the ever-vigilant folks over at Batman-on-Film comes a new casting rumor for Chris Nolan’s upcoming sequel … Liev Schreiber has long been the frontrunner for the role of Harvey Dent (the man who would be Two-Face), and … The newest rumor regarding the role reports Schreiber is out of the running and Guy Pearce (who worked with Nolan on Memento) is now the new favorite."

Click here for the full scoop.

Last time Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale got together, they made one heck of a fine comic book movie. They’re collaborating again, and this time they’ve enlisted Hugh Jackman to tell the story of two turn-of-the-century magicians who dabble in some pretty dangerous competitions. Check out the trailer right here.

"From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan ("Memento," "Batman Begins"), comes a mysterious story of two magicians whose intense rivalry leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy full of obsession, deceit and jealousy with dangerous and deadly consequences."

Co-starring Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson, "The Prestige" opens on October 27th.

It’s been out on UK DVD for almost a year now, so if you’re growing a little impatient on Neil Marshall‘s "The Descent," I can’t say I’d blame you. Lionsgate will release the brilliant horror film on August 4th, but if you happen to live in one of these cities, you can attend an advanced sneak preview on July 26th.

Sponsored by Fangoria and Lionsgate, the sneaks will also deliver some juicy-sounding "bonus material" that won’t be present when the flick opens wide on 8/4.

Starring Shauna MacDonald and Natalie Mendoza, "The Descent" is about a group of six brave, smart, and sexy women who decide to go cave exploring … and end up stalked by some decidedly unpleasant cave-dwellers. Simple plot, phenomenal delivery. Trust me.

Click here for more info on the pre-screenings.

Director John Hillcoat had a big ambition when he undertook "The Proposition": a Western with a truly Aussie sensibility.

"It’s the Australian West," he said. "We’ve tried to reclaim it for ourselves."

"The Proposition," opened in limited release in the U.S. on May 5 after an enthusiastic response at the Toronto and Sundance film festivals.

In the film, set in the Outback in the late 1800s, Charley Burns (Guy Pearce) is captured by the authorities, and given an ultimatum by Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone): if he slays his older brother Arthur (Danny Huston) within a week, his younger brother Mikey will be set free. If not, Mikey dies.

"The Proposition" is filled with sharp supporting performances by the likes of Emily Watson and John Hurt, as well as some startling cinematography, a haunting score by Nick Cave (who wrote the screenplay), and fascinating characters, whose capacities for good and evil deeds shift convincingly.


Guy Peace in "The Proposition"

Australia’s colonial history leant itself to a lot of potential for drama, from the harshness of the climate to the settlers’ condescending, often violent attitudes toward the Aboriginal population. Hillcoat said he wanted to make a film that was true to history but also worked dramatically.

"It’s been a dream to do a film out in the elements like that and trying to tackle that part of our history because it hasn’t really been seen on the screen like that," he said.

Hillcoat said he was inspired by revisionist Westerns of the 1970s, and films that displayed a realistic, sometimes harsh frontier, like Robert Altman‘s "McCabe & Mrs. Miller," Sam Peckinpah‘s "The Wild Bunch," and Terrence Malick‘s "Days of Heaven."

"What I loved about Peckinpah and Altman and Malick is there’s a link to reality, and what the times were, a kind of truthfulness about what it would have been like back then," he said.

For years, Hillcoat had wanted Cave to do the score for such a Western in an Australian setting. They agreed that Cave would have a go at the script, but Hillcoat thought it would be a loose outline that would later be fashioned into a screenplay. Over a matter of a few weeks, Cave came up with the scenario.

"Once he started, out it came, the story of the brothers and the central conflict that we could hang all this stuff on," he said. "Nick surprised me and himself."


Nick Cave and John Hillcoat

When Pearce got the script, he thought it was something special.

"It was so beautifully written," he said. "It was so poetic and so evocative, which is very rare. It was very easy for my imagination to be fueled and to get a sense of what it was they were trying to tell."

Pearce was also attracted to the moral complexity of the story.

"Obviously the scenario is quite extreme and rather harrowing," he said. "It almost seems like an impossible task to contemplate how one might choose one brother over another or one family member over another, particularly when it comes to having to kill [someone]."

The moral ambiguity and violence in the script, as well as the plan to shoot the film in the Outback, made the film a tough sell, Hillcoat said.

"It was incredibly hard to finance because of the tone and the script," he said. "The financers knew it was a logistical risk to go out there and build sets in that kind of territory. By the time the money got together and we finally had everyone ready to go, we had slid into the beginning of the summer."

Trouble struck early when Hillcoat and several members of the crew were involved in a serious car accident, in which their vehicle hit some rough terrain and rolled over three times.

"They’d thought I had broken my neck," he said. "Twenty-four hours later, I greeted the key cast that had arrived on a charter flight. I had a neck brace and black eyes. That was just the beginning."


Guy Pearce and Danny Huston

The environment posed many serious challenges; temperatures reached well into the 100s, and many scenes were shot at night because the cameras were too hot to touch. The week after production, fierce winds leveled the majority of the sets. So as rough as the conditions were, things could have been worse, Hillcoat said.

"Luck has a major part when it has to do with the developments," he said. "Those strong winds could have come at any moment when we were shooting, so we were lucky."

And the difficulty of the shoot created both a sense of camaraderie among the cast members and a greater feeling for the material.

"All that stuff adds to what you’re doing," Pearce said "The environment really informs what you’re doing. The environment and the world that these people live in and the level of survival is far more extreme than what we know it to be today, [although] certainly [it is] for some cultures, not for others. It was a real fascinating sort of journey to enter into that."

"It was one of those situations where everyone knew it was going to be quite extraordinary," Hillcoat said. "Everyone kind of bonded rather than tore each other apart."

Much of the good feeling on the set came from Hillcoat’s method of directing, Pearce said.

"He really knows what he wants, and what he wants is very true and honest performances," he said. "He’s very open to having you find that very true and honest place. He certainly doesn’t limit you in your honest interpretation of the work. He’s my kind of director."


Guy Pearce and John Hurt

And in getting to the truth of the material, the film often depicts some very graphic floggings, shootings, and spearings. But Pearce said it’s the tone of the film, the sudden but inevitable flare-ups, that make the violence seem more shocking.

"Some say, ‘Oh, the film is violent.’ I think on some level, people are inadvertently complimenting the film by saying that, because we’re talking about the fact that it actually is effective," he said. "There are plenty of films out there that are violent, where people run around with machine guns and shoot the hell out of everybody, and there’s no aftermath. To me, that’s disrespectful in film. It’s just like a video game.

"To me, this feels complete in the addressing of violence: You have the lull before the storm, you have the really horrific storm, and you have the cleanup afterwards," he continued. "There’s probably less violence in this film than in the majority of other films. It’s just that when it happens, it feels real."

The violence feels more real because of the setting, Pearce said.

"It’s kind of a looming violence," he said. "We know that this world is a harsh and dangerous one, and it’s one that’s fraught with all sorts of difficulties in regards to surviving. You feel quite troubled at the idea that potentially anything violent could happen. It’s that looming violence that adds up for people when they watch it."

Regardless, Pearce said he feels American audiences will find a lot in the story that will resonate.

"I feel it should particularly appeal to Americans because on some level, there’s a similar frontier environment, [with] people really being out of place and trying to make a home in such a harsh environment that’s not their own," he said. "And really, the story’s about human emotion rather than necessarily a historical document."


Emily Watson

Those complex emotions are in some ways incongruous with the idea of the Western in film, with exception of the 1970s anti-Westerns, Hillcoat said.

"Your sympathies keep swinging between some of the characters, and that’s very unusual because normally the American West is put into very black and white terms," he said.

And Hillcoat said he feels that dealing in black and white is a problem in today’s political climate, one that "The Proposition" refutes.

"Life isn’t like that," he said. "I know Bush is trying to tell everyone life is like that. Part of the mood of all that in a political context [is] empire building and the consequences of violence. I’m hoping it will ring a chord here [in the U.S.]."

And it has certainly made a big impression on Pearce; he said the film, from the cinematography to the music to his co-stars’ performances make "The Proposition" a particularly special film for him.

"It’s by far my favorite film that I’ve ever been in," he said. "Look, that’s not to take anything away from ‘Memento‘ or ‘L.A. Confidential,’ because I think they’re both extraordinary pieces of work. But there’s something about this that moves me in a way I haven’t felt before.

"I have to be fair, because I haven’t watched the other [films] for a couple years," he continued. "[But] there’s something so raw. Maybe it means more to me because it’s an Australian story."

Still, Pearce said, "It’s a story about human emotions, so it doesn’t really matter where it’s set."

Tag Cloud

HBO Go marvel comics Musicals jamie lee curtis anthology heist movie cults Arrowverse Netflix Sneak Peek Pop doctor who talk show period drama X-Men Mystery science fiction Music Apple TV Plus cancelled TV series Marvel Television reviews BET Awards hidden camera remakes Tags: Comedy ABC Awards Tour independent Shudder Apple TV+ robots MTV action-comedy scene in color telelvision lord of the rings TCA Winter 2020 art house monster movies Schedule Nat Geo Red Carpet 71st Emmy Awards Paramount all-time Country Infographic critic resources japan Prime Video nfl CBS TCA batman screenings Biopics Writers Guild of America Logo asian-american richard e. Grant Turner Classic Movies teaser theme song Family Trivia TV Land miniseries laika debate VICE Set visit HFPA harry potter transformers Peacock high school Legendary TV One casting Tokyo Olympics Trailer 2016 Pirates spanish Mudbound facebook TBS romance Bravo Ghostbusters Marathons Fox News adenture Lifetime Christmas movies blockbuster dark Year in Review 90s BBC One christmas movies based on movie worst movies Superheroes Mary Tyler Moore DC Comics know your critic blockbusters adaptation The Walking Dead fast and furious Film Festival cinemax Cannes Elton John dceu 45 Lifetime zombie kaiju Sundance Now BBC America Certified Fresh DGA a nightmare on elm street Mary Poppins Returns foreign crossover Universal 93rd Oscars cats vampires Paramount Plus halloween politics hispanic marvel cinematic universe game of thrones Starz game show target boxing popular true crime television BET WarnerMedia ViacomCBS NBC saw Polls and Games quibi Hallmark CW Seed CMT cooking parents Nominations venice VOD Turner Ellie Kemper PaleyFest cops screen actors guild Freeform series Instagram Live satire ABC Family Premiere Dates pirates of the caribbean police drama suspense Adult Swim Star Trek Netflix Christmas movies Disney TV renewals singing competition Amazon space king kong live action blaxploitation cancelled Binge Guide football President GLAAD dexter reboot Sci-Fi Hollywood Foreign Press Association sequels mockumentary directors chucky Brie Larson unscripted Song of Ice and Fire medical drama Comedy cars 2018 criterion Pride Month IFC Television Critics Association OneApp Baby Yoda Captain marvel Universal Pictures MSNBC spain ABC Signature revenge 007 E3 stoner 72 Emmy Awards what to watch scorecard prank GIFs joker mission: impossible ratings Nickelodeon king arthur sag awards Epix Amazon Prime james bond canceled discovery E! Sony Pictures Exclusive Video canceled TV shows APB Superheroe Walt Disney Pictures Neflix comic royal family green book serial killer Opinion TruTV documentaries AMC Plus animated Comic-Con@Home 2021 Marvel Studios San Diego Comic-Con spider-verse cartoon TV concert Black History Month indie Britbox Extras social media Academy Awards Women's History Month Sundance FX on Hulu Anna Paquin Martial Arts Pacific Islander natural history Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt obituary Lucasfilm universal monsters Countdown zero dark thirty renewed TV shows 20th Century Fox Heroines Masterpiece TCM comedies Winners leaderboard Western comiccon HBO Max cancelled TV shows Calendar Image Comics YouTube Premium 2020 Mindy Kaling Rocky rt labs DirecTV werewolf Thanksgiving best YouTube 1990s child's play stop motion ESPN VH1 witnail Stephen King children's TV worst Sundance TV jurassic park 4/20 black comedy trailers 2017 Showtime kong documentary Animation Tumblr TCA Awards live event emmy awards Shondaland Acorn TV elevated horror streaming Spike Hear Us Out finale Toys Best and Worst dragons feel good disaster halloween tv spinoff Video Games Columbia Pictures superman binge basketball psychological thriller fresh Chernobyl mcc FX strong female leads wonder woman First Look RT21 Comics on TV political drama 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards kids 2021 Food Network Musical TV movies crime thriller Trophy Talk docudrama Black Mirror psycho spy thriller Summer TNT Tarantino war Pet Sematary Fall TV History Spring TV American Society of Cinematographers Rocketman Holidays USA Network genre dramedy book Hulu Action YouTube Red anime 99% sopranos historical drama Lionsgate Box Office comic book movie Holiday Grammys die hard zombies diversity movie Emmy Nominations Rock new york PBS Comedy Central sequel franchise Mary poppins comics 24 frames dreamworks Fargo The Purge LGBTQ YA stand-up comedy FOX composers Star Wars olympics legend HBO Television Academy critics rom-coms 79th Golden Globes Awards El Rey festivals Dark Horse Comics Cartoon Network IMDb TV Amazon Studios TCA 2017 ITV Crackle The Academy A24 Disney streaming service slashers Vudu Fox Searchlight golden globe awards australia Ovation Tubi Travel Channel Emmys Quiz dc classics technology Horror Comic Book ghosts international indiana jones Interview Crunchyroll rotten movies we love FXX toronto latino comic books CBS All Access Amazon Prime Video rotten Christmas Film posters nbcuniversal twilight vs. BAFTA festival razzies rt labs critics edition NBA book adaptation WGN slasher GoT Rom-Com supernatural hist movies RT History DC streaming service DC Universe streaming movies SDCC The Arrangement Avengers rt archives name the review cancelled television Drama Endgame Wes Anderson Tomatazos Classic Film golden globes The CW SundanceTV Awards Podcast USA tv talk Character Guide Warner Bros. Syfy italian aapi hollywood aliens adventure docuseries scary TIFF comic book movies The Witch Disney Channel The Walt Disney Company films Winter TV travel japanese Fantasy Paramount Network gangster godzilla nature LGBT 73rd Emmy Awards thriller spider-man Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spanish language 21st Century Fox 2015 video on demand Oscars MCU CNN biography boxoffice Apple ID Kids & Family Spectrum Originals Valentine's Day trophy 2019 deadpool Alien new star wars movies hispanic heritage month new zealand Reality Competition romantic comedy video women black mutant Discovery Channel justice league free movies versus Teen Broadway crime toy story OWN See It Skip It NYCC superhero Disney Plus Funimation dogs Reality TLC Super Bowl south america Cosplay award winner young adult mob First Reviews Esquire Election Pixar Hallmark Christmas movies crime drama archives National Geographic AMC BBC news Photos breaking bad Watching Series SXSW sports Marvel french PlayStation A&E IFC Films New York Comic Con scary movies Pop TV sitcom biopic Creative Arts Emmys Disney+ Disney Plus