Consider a painter specializing in modern art whose canvasses are the work of bold, broad brush strokes. The strokes reek of vivid colors, combinations, and contrasts that are equal parts mesmerising, shocking, and otherworldly. Yet these are not mere strokes of color, they combine to portray layer upon layer of sly and playful insinuations - interwoven windows overlooking the myriad corners of humanity. And finally, the points where the different strokes meet are themselves masterclasses in clarity: deliberate, punctuated, and effective. This briefly sums Yorgos Lanthimos' exquisite body of work, particularly, "The Favourite".
Best movies from every year of my life.
So, this activity is doing the rounds on Twitter, so I figured I'd take a shot at it. Just so I could go nostalgic for all the wonderful movies that have been made over the years and for the times I discovered them. Two disclaimers though, one, this may not be an all encompassing list and only covers the flicks that I've had the pleasure of watching. The second, owing to my love for the budding genre, I've tried including as many examples of possible of world class Indian Cinema.
1990 - Internal Affairs | Goodfellas
1991 - JFK | Silence of the lambs | Terminator 2 : Judgement Day
1992 - Roja
1993 - Dazed and Confused | Schindler's List
1994 - Pulp Fiction
1995 - Leaving Las Vegas | Casino
1996 - Fargo | Trainspotting | Ninne Pelladatha
1997 - Lost Highway | L.A. Confidential
1998 - Run Lola Run | The Big Lebowski | Ronin
1999 - Eyes Wide Shut | The Matrix | The Mummy | Sarfarosh
2000 - Almost Famous | Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon | Cast Away | Requiem for a Dream
2001 - Enemy at the Gates | Monsoon Wedding | Dil Chahtha Hai
2002 - The Pianist | The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers | The 25th Hour
2003 - Lost in Translation
2004 - Finding Neverland | Ayutha Ezhuthu | Swades
2005 - Kingdom of Heaven | Munich | Sarkaar
2006 - The Departed | Casino Royale | Rang De Basanti
2007 - Into the Wild | Manorama... Six Feet Under
2008 - Slumdog Millionnaire | The Hurt Locker
2009 - Inglourious Basterds | Dev D | Kaminey
2010 - Udaan | The American
2011 - Rockstar | Drive
2012 - Skyfall | Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
2013 - Her | Lootera
2014 - Ex Machina | Birdman | Haider
2015 - Sicario | Mad Max : Fury Road | Detective Byomkesh Bakshi | Tamasha | Piku
2016 - Arrival | Pellichoopulu | Udta Punjab
2017 - Dunkirk | Baby Driver | A Ghost Story | A Death in the Gunj | Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri | Angamaly Diaries
2018 - A Star is Born | First Man | Isle of Dogs | A Quiet Place | Tumbbad | C/O Kancharapalem
2019 - Jojo Rabbit | 1917 | Parasite | Midsommar | Gully Boy
I've always had a love-hate relationship with the films of Christopher Nolan. On one hand, they're brilliantly put together: gorgeously shot, with wallowing sound design, thorough writing, apt performances, and superlative vision. On the other hand, there's always too many storylines in the narrative, fighting for time and attention. They've always felt like montages and not movies, with the dialogue a tad bit expository, the editing aimed at thrills, and the moments too short to deliver soul. As a blockbuster filmmaker, he is unmatched. As a pure propeller of cinema, I'd others to choose over him. I'd like to believe, somewhere along the making of "The Dark Knight Rises", he had listened to this invisible criticism. The much maligned shot of Matthew McConaughey staring at the video of his grown up daughter while bursting out in tears was for me, proof of this. I think "Dunkirk" is the most soulful film he has ever made.
Great cinema is often not about the content, but what is made of the content. For starters, Nolan does resort to his usual technique of a non-linear narrative. But there is convergence and it works. Three characters anchor the three juxtaposed timelines that culminate in one point of deliverance, of survival, of duty and responsibility. We are taken up close to these characters and are egged to be with them, to feel what they go through, to experience their moments. It doesn't matter where the bullets, the bombs, and the chaos come from. What matters is that it is all there. To be shell shocked by. Maybe it is the advantage offered by having just three narratives, but Nolan relaxes his filmmaking to stay longer with the frames, spending more time with each of these characters. In the process, he finds an unsaid soul to these characters that he just doesn't have time for in his previous films.
Atlantic City says so much about two people in a relationship, without saying too much.
A comedy that is fun, while being just good cinema in the first place.