5. The Counselor (2013)
When people heard that Ridley Scott would be directing a thriller based on an original screenplay by the great Author Cormac McCarthy starring a huge cast of Hollywood’s best actors, everyone got hyped.
But then the film landed and it was just way too weird, idiosyncratic and disturbingly nihilistic to be welcomed with open arms by the public that just wanted to see Michael Fassbender and Javier Bardem in an action-packed drug-smuggling film.
But the films dedication to its own weirdness and nihilism is exactly what has attracted film buffs to it in the years since its release, it’s a totally unique and uncompromising film that can only be described as a playfully serious anti-thriller neck-deep in an existential crisis.
The film includes some of Ridley Scott’s best work as a director and shows that he has complete control over his craft, and it’s frankly awe-inspiring to witness a master flex his creative muscles in such a brilliantly weird film.
4. Horns (2013)
Horns is a brilliant dark comedy that marks the peak of director’s Alexandre Aja’s entire career, it’s actually quite amazing how he went from making the awful The Hills Have Eyes remake and the atrocious Piranha 3D remake to making such a brilliantly directed film as Horns.
The tone is perfectly balanced and the acting is beyond amazing from everyone involved, especially Daniel Radcliffe who gives a career best performance as a grieving man on the edge of a mental breakdown while also being absolutely hilarious, and he also somehow manages to balance it in such a way that the comedic notes never undermine the honesty of the more serious moments.
The film’s only flaw is that the twist is unbelievably predictable but that doesn’t really affect the film in any serious way because the journey there is just way too awesome for the revelation to bring anything down.
3. The Lone Ranger (2013)
The Lone Ranger is one of the biggest and boldest blockbusters ever made, not only is the scope of the film huge but it’s also a lot darker, more layered and idiosyncratic than most blockbusters of this size are allowed to be.
If you’re making something for 250 million dollars then you’d assume that the producers would be breathing down the director’s neck to make it as safe and conventional as humanly possible, but somehow Gore Verbinski got them toinvest this much money in a film that couldn’t have been less safe if he tried.
It’s a reboot of a long dead franchise that nobody cares about that tells a light-hearted family friendly story about genocide, greed and cannibalism and is built on the message that America was built on blood and that the government is so corrupt that the only way to find justice is to go off the grid and become a masked vigilante.
What a nice and fun film that the whole family can enjoy.
But it’s also absolutely hilarious and has some of the best and biggest action set-pieces ever made, it literally ends with a 20-minute-long chase scene between two trains that’s also a shoot-out and it’s one of the greatest things ever made.
The film is also filled to the brim with Verbinski’s signature weird moments (Random Killer Rabbits, pretty much everything with the Horse, etc.) and beautiful visual style.
It’s pretty close to being the most Verbinski-esque film Verbinski has ever directed, but that title still belongs to the great epic that is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
But The Lone Ranger is still an unbelievably awesome and beautifully weird thrill-ride that will gain it’s recognition in the years to come.
2. Only God Forgives (2013)
Only God Forgives is a slow-burn abstract fairy tale about revenge, justice and coming to terms with past trauma, it’s a multi-layered mini-epic that’s such a required taste that it’s no wonder that people didn’t really get what to make of it when it was released.
But people are slowly realizing that what Refn gave us was a truly unique cinematic experience that truly is one of the best films of the decade.
It’s a gruesome neon-soaked journey into darkness that will always polarize people because it’s basically designed to divide people into groups of those who love it and those who hate it, and that is exactly why it will become a Cult classic.
1. Sucker Punch (2011)
Sucker Punch is a film that was criminally misunderstood when it was released and that misunderstanding has followed it ever since. It has been called a nerd’s wet dream filled with sexism and gratuitous male gaze, but that just isn’t the case.
The film is actually a highly feminist film, it’s literally about a group of oppressed females regaining power over their own bodies and sexuality as they fight against an ugly and abusive patriarchal structure that’s trying to exploit them to please the male gaze.
The film isn’t really that subtle in its message and its quite unbelievable how many people have misinterpreted this film. So, when critics and audiences at the time where slamming the film and saying that it was sexist, that it objectifies women and it’s desperately playing to the male gaze then you can quite clearly see that they completely misunderstood the film and pretty much had no idea what they were saying.
But it’s also not really surprising that the initial audience hated the film because the film was intentionally mis-marketed and that has undeniably led to some of the misinterpretations, as the film was marketed as the ultimate geek fanboy anime-inspired B-movie-with-A-budget genre action extravaganza of male gaze female objectification wet dream ever made.
But that was part of the films plan as it wanted to trick as many sexist incel neck-beards to the cinema as possible only to spend the entire runtime shaming them and giving them a lecture in Feminism 101, in a way the film was the biggest cinematic trolling ever.
Sucker Punch the film is completely different from the film that was advertised and the tagline “You will be Unprepared” couldn’t be more appropriate, because everybody was pretty much expecting a more competent version of Ultraviolet and instead they got a hyper-stylized feminist version of Funny Games that takes pleasure in telling the audience they tricked into the cinema to fuck off and stop being such sexist wankers.
But that is only a single side of the multi-layered story presented in the film, and even if you don’t care much for the films thematic complexity and progressive messages then you can also just sit back and enjoy the many truly awesome action sequences or just soak in the visuals, because Sucker Punch is one of the most visually stunning films of the 21stcentury.
It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking that’s thematically rich and complex enough to warrant multiple viewings and is also just genuinely awesome and empowering that it would be a sin if it doesn’t become a beloved Cult classic.