My name is Luke Cordell and I recently decided to begin a personal blog about film. Seeing as though this is my first entry, rather than delve into a specific issue straight away, I have decided to share my top five favourite films of all time. This list does not include the big franchise series of movies such as the Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings or Indiana Jones films. As much as I love them, I cannot choose between the films within their respective trilogies and therefore am only choosing stand alone films. The chosen films are interchangeable in relation to their position on the list, usually altering depending on how recent they have been watched. So, with that all out of the way, let us begin…
1) Trainspotting (1995) – Although some would argue that Danny Boyle’s masterpiece is Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire, I cannot look past his second film about drug culture in Scotland for pure perfection on screen. It has been criticised for its bleak outlook, but so many things work for the film. The selection of actors from Ewan McGregor to Robert Carlyle and arguably the best soundtrack in the history of film all combine to create a narrative that never relents echoing the high octane drug taking world of the characters. Steering away from Irvine Welsh’s original story, Boyle and his team keep the essence of the book while incorporating their own original style. The sharp script allows the shocking scenes to seem tangible, especially Renton going cold turkey off herion, adding to the disturbing effects of the film. Although sometimes revolting or startling there is a constant beauty to be had, especially at the finale where, for me, it is a more uplifting denouement than It’s A Wonderful Life.
2) The Big Lebowski (1999) – The Coen brothers have made a myriad of films that could have made this list. Fargo and No Country For Old Men might have easily broke into my top five. However, it is their iconic, cult classic The Big Lebowski that pips them. There has not been much unsaid about this film but there is a reason for this, because it is so important to comedy film. Jeff Bridge’s The Dude will remain in the canon of iconic film characters until the end of time but it is also his fellow thespians, John Goodman, John Turturro and Julienne Moore that contribute to why the film is so loved. One of the funniest comedies of all time it moves from set piece to set piece while still maintaining a hilarious and coherent plot. It’s so simple that that the Dude wants compensation for his rug that has been peed on by people wanting money from another Jeffrey Lebowski. The premise leads to the escalation and exacerbation of the Dude’s predicament that becomes so bizarre yet probable simultaneously. It is just pure Genius. That is how you make a comedy.
3) Donnie Darko (2001) – The film that almost wasn’t, only to become a huge cult phenomenon, is the quintessential stay awake at night trying to decipher the clues movie. The mystery surrounding the film is not the only feature going for Donnie Darko though. The internal stories and struggles of the characters are the centre amidst the science fiction setting, perhaps why I like then theatrical cut more than the director’s cut which increases the scientific elements thereby dissipating the ambiguity of the conclusion and putting the characters to the side in favour of the time travel subplot. However, Richard Kelly’s film still stands strong to this day, ten years after its inception, and looks to be a cult classic for years to come, despite the unnecessary sequel, Samantha Darko, failing to live up to its unique predecessor.
4) Inception (2009) – The newest entry on the list, Inception catapulted itself onto the top five with its combination of intense action sequences and intellectual plotline. Every single actor in Christopher Nolan’s epic is worth their salt, with every audience member having their favourite. Mine being Tom Hardy, who with his appearances in the upcoming Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises will become the next Hollywood megastar within the next ten years. Inception has everything without ever feeling bloated and to create such spectacular and original special effects in a time where CGI is so commonplace is astounding. Beautiful visuals and an emotive script that entices while provoking so many questions are why it is possibly the greatest film in the last five years.
5) The Wicker Man (1973) – An intensely haunting yet engrossing film, even watching it multiple times the conclusion is still shocking and surprising. This is because of the fantastic build up where Edward Woodwood’s devout Sergeant Howie investigates the disappearance of a girl on the isolated island of Summerisle. The revelations and unnerving characters serve to create one of the scariest and unnerving films ever made. Christopher Lee is magnificent as Lord Summerisle and the finale will stay with the viewer long after the film has ended. Not even Neil LeBute’s remake can taint the terrifying yet tantalizing original.
So, these are my five favourite films at the time of writing. I’m sure there may be ones that will come to me later in the day as I kick myself for not incorporating them but these, I believe, are still five strong choices. Thanks for reading the first of my hopefully many blog entries.