Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Top 20 Dramas: Part 1, #16-20

Top 20 Dramas

Most of my favorite movies are dramas. It’s largely because important stories told in a serious way tend to be dramas. Acting is generally better and the story means something. For those reasons, the stories tend to stay with me longer than other genres.

It’s incredibly difficult to rank films. Much depends on mood or which ones you have seen recently. For me, the order constantly changes and new titles are added as I see films for the first time.

With that in mind, here’s my current Top 20 in my favorite genre:

20. The Prestige (2006)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall

Nolan hasn’t disappointed me yet and The Prestige is a movie I always enjoy seeing. It’s well-acted and suspenseful. The air of mystery keeps the story interesting as it unfolds and the pacing is just about perfect. There are a few twists along the way and everything combines to make an intelligent and entertaining drama.

19. The King’s Speech (2010)
Directed by Tom Hooper
Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter

Winner of four Oscars including Best Picture, The King’s Speech was my favorite film of 2010. The subject matter sounded boring, but the film had me fully-invested throughout. Rush had tough competition and was unlucky not to win a second Oscar. The casting was done well, with Firth and Rush nailing their roles and making me believe that their friendship was real.

If you would like to know more about the film, take a look at my full review.

18. Memento (2000)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss

More Nolan and another challenging film that will make you think. The plot is fairly simple, but Nolan keeps the viewer guessing by telling two stories at once. One is told in reverse and is in color, while the other is shown in chronological order in black and white. The story is about a man unable to form new memories and the choices Nolan makes place the viewer in a similar position to that of the main character. 

17. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
Directed by Julian Schnabel
Starring Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner and Marie-Josée Croze

The true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of Elle magazine, who suffers a stroke. The story is subtitled and told in French. The thing that makes it stand out is the use of the camera. Schnabel puts the viewer in Bauby’s position by only showing what he would see. Despite its sad subject matter there are many moments of humor as we hear Bauby’s thoughts. It’s a well-conceived film and a powerful drama.

16. 12 Angry Men (1957)
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and Martin Balsam

Lumet’s made films for 50 years before passing away in April 2011. This was his first feature film and acknowledged as one of his best. All but a few minutes take place in one room and involves the discussion between jury members as they decide whether a man is guilty. Structured like a play, it’s driven by dialogue. The suspense builds and the camera angles increase the feeling of claustrophobia as the story progresses. It’s completely captivating.

See #11-15 on my list here.
See #6-10 on my list here.
See #1-5 on my list here.
Feel free to let me know what you think about my selections, and what would make your own Top 20.

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