Recently I told you I'd watched all the imdb top 100. Someone asked me which of the films was the best. Although techinically the list says Shawshank Redemption is the best, I think most are equally good. And so i've decided to share a few words about my views about each film here. I'll do 15 at a time then do the top 10.
100. Black Swan
I didn’t think I could be interested in a film about ballet. But by focusing on the main character with the Swan Lake swans as a metaphor for what happens in the her head, it really drew me in and surprised me a gripping psychological drama.
For the most part this is a typical Pixar adventure film. Brilliantly mad ideas with a good story and good animation. But what brings it onto this list is that you care for the characters and there are some really heartrending scenes.
98. Gran Torino
One of my favourite films on the list. Clint Eastwood plays a bitter old man who’s racist and doesn’t talk to his family. As the film goes on he draws closer to his asian neighbours and is drawn into gang fights. And the ending... well I don’t want to ruin it, but wow. Seriously amazing.
97. The Sting
The box for this film says it’s a comedy. I wouldn’t really agree, it’s more of a drama that just doesn’t take itself too seriously. The cuts in this film look great, the cast are fun and the plot is a good laugh. There’s nothing in this film that stands above the rest, but it’s just got such a great sense of fun that it deserves its place on the list.
This film is made by its casting. Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman and the other supporting cast make what could be a standard western flick into a masterpiece. And again Eastwood shows he really knows how to end a film, with the last 20 minutes my favourite western scenes in any film.
The first foreign language film on the list. This film works because of two reasons. One is the action, which looks amazing, especially the corridor scene. The second is the intrigue as to why the main character has been locked away for 15 years. And this film does not disappoint with the answer with one of the most shocking and horrific twists in movie history.
A film about Hitler’s bunker during the fall of Berlin, leading up to his suicide. This film shows Hitler as he was near the end, as a desperate madman on the edge of giving up. It really feels like you’re watching the events that happened and not just actors portraying them.
93. Inglorious Basterds
Another WW2 film, but this time from Quentin Tarantino. He brings his own style to the war film and all the different storylines entertain especially when they combine for the epic finale. As with all Tarantino films this is a mad but hugely enjoyable film. And Christoph Waltz is fantastic.
This is the first film I disagree with. At the time this must have been a revelation. It looks amazing for 1927 and would have a good story for a silent film. But I think now it’s too dated to compare. It’s too slow for today’s audience and the look of the film, although distinct, doesn’t look impressive anymore. We’ve seen better. So basically, it was at the time probably the greatest film ever, but its day has past.
91. The Apartment
This film starts as a comedy and then suddenly it’s a drama. And you don’t feel like any dramatic change has occurred. It’s just the way the film’s story goes. You really get invested in the characters and this was the first of the old 1940s-60s films I watched in my imdb quest that I forgot about watching it for the list and just enjoyed it.
I don’t have much to say about this film. It’s good, and I can tell that, but it’s not really my type of film so I don’t like it. All I can say is it’s good if you like this sort of thing. Also, listen to the music. Hans Zimmer totally didn’t rip himself off from this when he did Pirates of the Caribbean...
I hate this film. It doesn’t deserve to be on this list. I have a full written explanation of how much I hate this film, here.
88. 2001: A Space Odyssey
This is an example of a film that is more about style than substance. The first and last third are basically just images to music. It looks amazing, but it’s not what I want in a film. I want a proper story which it doesn’t deliver. If you like art films then you’ll like this. But I personally don’t. EXCEPT. I really like the middle third. That looks good and has a plot and if the whole film was like it, it would probably be one of my favourite films.
87: Bicycle Thieves
This starts as a touching tale of a father and son bonding, but as time goes on it gets more and more depressing as they get desperate and their bonds start to break. Don’t be put off by it being in Italian and black and white. This is a very good and moving film.
86: The Great Dictator
Charlie Chaplin does a parody of the Nazis. What else is there to say? It was made during the war and still works as a complete mockery of the Nazi party and Hitler. It makes you sit there laughing at them the whole way through. Apparently Hitler saw the film once and I can’t imagine how furious it would make him. It’s a well made and intelligent film and still well worth a watch.
To be continued