5. Matchstick Men (2003)
Scott forgets about visuals here and focuses on amazing characters. Roy (Nicolas Cage) and Frank (Sam Rockwell), both con artists, are deep into a brilliant swindle until Roy’s teenage daughter arrives and jeopardises their plans in this marvellous crime comedy from Scott. Roy suffers from OCD and panic attacks which hinder him from doing something bigger and better. Roy and Frank are mismatched in this way due to Roy’s OCD, and Frank being a general chancer. Roy’s problems start to clear up upon the arrival of daughter.
It is a much different genre for Scott but everything works brilliantly. The script is fantastically written by Nicholas and Ted Griffin. Nicolas Cage portrays his character in an Oscar-worthy performance. The film is so well constructed that the audience are immediately involved, and it never lets up.
4. Gladiator (2000)
Gladiator was a big sweeping epic, one of the most memorable films of the year 2000. Russell Crowe plays Maximus, the Roman general turned gladiator. The film could be viewed as Hollywood’s first grand Roman epic in over three decades. Joaquin Phoenix plays Commodus, the mad, sociopathic, power-hungry son of Caesar (Maximus’ boss), and unfortunately when Caesar dies Commodus takes over. Commodus takes the empire into his vicious hands, and orders the death of Maximus’ family. The film traces the trials and tribulations that Maximus is put through whilst having the constant motivation to avenge his wife and child’s murder.
Gladiator is certainly an epic, bloody and a moving film throughout. Rome is re-created on screen incredibly realistically. Not only is the cinematography perfect, but the battle sequences and sets are fantastic. This is my favourite of Crowe’s roles, he plays the part fantastically. It’s certainly an epic hero’s journey, and the audience are kept enthralled throughout up till the moving and exhilarating ending.
3. Thelma and Louise (1991)
Put-upon Thelma (Geena Davis) is stuck in a rut at home with her overbearing husband. Feisty Louise (Susan Sarandon) plays her best friend, who decides one day they’re going on a road trip. They embark on a weekend getaway. On the way they stop at a bar in the middle of nowhere where Thelma lets her hair down for the first time in a long time. However, later that night Thelma is assaulted by a patron in the car park. They end up on the run from the law after Louise shoots the attacker.
What follows is a character-based frantic journey to escape from being apprehended whilst they live life on the road. The two friends get closer through their trials and tribulations, and whilst on the run actually begin to enjoy the escape from the trivialities of normal life. The film culminates in such a moving and iconic ending that it will stick in the viewer’s head for years to come.
Davis and Sarandon were the perfect actors for Thelma and Louise, embodying them comfortably, whilst Scott’s direction of a huge and sparse America is beautifully done. The brilliant script was written by Callie Khouri, and the film introduces the now famous Mr Brad Pitt in a small role. Thelma and Louise is one of the best road movies ever made.
2. Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner was based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric sSheep? and is a masterpiece of dystopian science-fiction film-making. It is set in 2019 Los Angeles and Scott portrays it as bleak and overcrowded, with giant signs, flying cars and acid rain. Retired and cynical detective, Rick Deckerd (Harrison Ford), seeks out ”replicants,” those who pretend to be human beings. His purpose is to destroy them. Unfortunately however for him he ends up falling for one of the androids (Sean Young).
The film was a commercial flop on release in 1982, but is now viewed as a classic. According to rumours, things were not all well on set, so it is amazing that Blade Runner remains one of the most visually beautiful and stunning examples of art direction in film. It is one of the most influential science fiction films ever made, and gains a new cult following every day. Again, Scott uses his visual film-making skills to perfection making Blade Runner a classic.
1. Alien (1979)
Sigourney Weaver plays Ripley, part of the crew on the spacecraft, Nostromo. The ship and its crew are on their way back to Earth but are woken from hypersleep when the ship receives a mysterious transmission, possibly a distress signal. Due to contract regulations the crew must stop their journey home and investigate. The crew are not convinced and just want to get home, but they are told they must follow protocol or lose their money.
Ripley finds out that the transmission is a warning, not a distress signal. However, it is too late. By then the other crew have been exposed to the alien creature and from then on the crew embark on a struggle to survive. The alien creature is not in the first half of the film at all but most of the horror is in the underlying tension, and Scott builds up the sense of tension and dread incredibly. When the creature is finally revealed it is horrifying, even most of the actors didn’t know what was going to happen, and you can just see the actual horror on their faces.
Signourney Weaver took the role of Ripley, and made it her own. She remains an iconic character of film; it was one of the first times a woman played the hero and the survivor in a mainstream Hollywood film.
Alien is a masterpiece. The direction is superb, the acting is magnifying, the tension is terrifying, the script is beautifully written, the camerawork is sublime, the whole film is brilliant. Alien remains spectacular on each viewing.
Author Bio: Tessa has been a film fanatic and list writer since she learned to walk. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Television Studies, and a Masters Degree in Scriptwriting from Aberystwyth University. She has a particular interest in horror films, and is currently attempting to write her debut horror script whilst living the dream in Bristol. Follow her on Twitter @Tessicat.