To conclude this short series about outstanding movies, here's my very subjective top 5 list of movies released in the last quarter century. A few absolute stunners here, along with a couple unknown gems. Read on, and I promise you won't be disappointed.
Waltz With Bashir (2008)
Waltz With Bashir is a documentary and an animated feature; but most of all it is a deeply personal, incredibly moving masterpiece by Israeli director Ari Folman.
The movie follows Folman's experience after a chance encounter makes him realize he has absolutely no recollection of the 1982 Lebanon War, in which he served. This unsettling understanding leads Folman (and the viewer) through a brilliant visual journey of Middle-eastern history and conflicts.
Make no mistake: this ain't a Disney movie. Waltz With Bashir is not afraid to touch on difficult themes, and its journey culminates in one of the most powerful sequences in recent movie history. Indeed, the movie ends with Folman finding the memories he's been looking for all along; and as the movie switches back from animation to real life footage, both the director and the viewer will realize how deep some stories can cut. One of the greatest movies ever made, and an incredibly powerful experience to boot.
After this watch: Tehran Taboo, Persepolis, Syriana, The Congress
The Constant Gardener (2005)
The Constant Gardner is a movie that deserves a special place in my heart due to its themes and the way they are treated. Based on a novel by John Le Carré, it follows Justin Quayle, a low-level diplomat and keen gardener (hence the name) whose wife, Tessa, is brutally murdered in the Kenyan outback. The murder is blamed first on a robbery and then on the affair Tessa was supposedly having, and the case is quickly closed; but as Justin starts digging he discovers a major conspiracy stretching all the way back to his own government.
The Constant Gardner is based on a true story - the Kano trial, which became one of the darkest pages of health care in developing countries in the late Nineties; and it is, in my opinion, the quintessential movie about Africa. The cast and director tread very lightly on the complexities of the developing world, and they manage to deliver a movie that's as emotional and suspenseful as it is informative, and never judgmental or simplistic. Beautifully shot, and boosted by masterful performances by Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener is an amazing, albeit incredibly sad, movie. It's just perfect.
After this watch: The Interpreter, The Last King Of Scotland
In Contact, a young Jodie Foster plays doctor Ellie Arroway - a brilliant scientist who's spent her entire career chasing signals from outer space. After decades of disappointments, she's about to lose financing and close up shop, when she suddendly picks up a transmission from a galaxy far far away. Encoded in the signal are a few puzzling messages and schematics for something that looks like a vehicle. But can humanity trust the unknown, and if so, how should they answer back?
Contact was a groundbreaking movie when it first came out. Written by Carl Sagan - one of the most celebrated scientific communicators of the 20th century -, directed by Robert Zemeckis (of Back To The Future and Forrest Gump fame) and featuring a delightfully outlandish score by Alan Silvestri, it was a movie that took two decades of love and care to make - and it shows.
Like many other science fiction movies, Contact answers to the question: "are we alone in the universe?". Its take on this enigma is wonderfully detailed, highly believable and extremely entertaining, with the final 30 minutes in particular being a roller-coaster of emotions and plot twists. A true cinematic journey, and one of the best 'go humanity' movies ever made.
Known Faces: Jodie Foster (Silence Of The Lambs, Inside Man), Matthew McConaughey (True Detective, Interstellar), William Fichtner (Elysium, The Dark Knight), Tom Skerritt (Alien)
After this watch: Arrival
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
The Brothers Bloom follows the adventures of confidence brothers Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody as their ragtag crew as they try to scam young and not-so-naive heiress Rachel Weisz out of her conspicuous fortune. It is an old-school movie with an extremely modern direction, a brilliant adventure story and an all-round amazing piece of cinema.
Brothers Bloom is directed by Rian Johnson - one of the most talented filmmakers of this generation, whose masterpiece Brick also appears on this list -, but it's the cast that really brings the movie home. Ruffalo is incredibly lovable as the older Bloom brother, the chemistry between Brody and Weisz is tangible and believable, and the beautiful locations, effortless photography together with Jonhson's trademark frantic editing manage to conjure one of the most outstanding caper movies ever.
Plot twists and double-takes abound in The Brothers Bloom, and spoiling the story would be a terrible mistake - especially the final act, that easily tops the entire movie; as well as the ending, which will leave you gasping for air. Go in blind, and get ready to experience one of the most underrated gems of this decade.
Great movies also featuring Bloom #1 Mark Ruffalo: Begin Again, Where The Wild Things Are, Zodiac, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, The Kids Are Allright
Great movies also featuring Bloom #2 Adrien Brody: The Pianist, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Darjeeling Limited, King Kong
Mind Game (2004)
A criminally underrated masterpiece from one of Japan's best animation studios (4C), Mind Game follows Nishi, a regular dude on an awkward night out with his childhood crush Myon. While the sudden apparition of two Yakuza mobsters seems to give Nishi a chance to show some courage, it's at this point that the evening really goes off the rails, as Nishi's plan to show off literally backfires, he gets shot and dies.
What? If you think movies can't get weirder than this, think again. Nishi manages to parlay with God for a rematch, and this time he plays his cards well, escaping from the Yakuzas with Myon and her sister Yan in tow. Running out of options, the trio drives into the sea, only to get swallowed by a giant whale.
At this point, just 30 minutes in, Mind Game has already shown more creativity and visual flair than the entire 2000's animated production, combined. But director Masaaki Yuasa is just getting started: the final hour of Mind Game contains such an incredible amount of outlandish ideas, brilliant concepts, clever storytelling and emotional moments that it would be downright criminal for me to reveal anything more about this masterpiece. If 'sheer brilliance' was a movie, it'd probably be Mind Game.
Watch this: with beer and/or weed
Do not watch this: with your phone in one hand. Blink and you'll miss so many important details!
After this watch: The Night Is Short- Walk On Girl
Did you like this article? read also part 1 and the second part!