18. Seraphim Falls (David Von Ancken, 2006)
After its viewing, one feels that “Seraphim Falls” should’ve gotten more recognition from both movie fans and critics. David Von Ancken’s unconventional western is a very unpredictable film. Just when you thought you’re watching a revenge film, it turns into a western and then turns into something mystical. Just when you thought you knew who is the bad guy and who is the good guy, your perception are overturned.
Just when you thought you figured out who’s chasing whom, the movie proves to you that you couldn’t be more wrong. Probably the best way to describe its genre is by calling it a mystical revenge-western. Apart from the surprisingly fresh story, the movie is visually stunning; the first part of the film takes place in snow covered mountains while the second part takes place in the scorching desert.
19. Into the Wild (Sean Penn, 2007)
Christopher McCandless wanted desperately to get away from it all and live pure and free in the wilderness of Alaska. This film (actor Sean Penn’s fourth directorial feature) is about him. Unfortunately, nature is cruel if you come to it unprepared and our young hero is about to learn that as his dream gets the best of him.
In the very end, it’s hard to say if he regrets his choice or not, if he is happy with what he has accomplished or not, but he does decide on one thing: “to call each thing by its right name”.
20. The Way Back (Peter Weir, 2010)
The film is inspired by the memoir book “The Long Walk”, by former Polish prisoner of war Slawomir Rawicz, who escaped from a Soviet Gulag and walked 6.400 km to find freedom.
In Weir’s film “The Way Back”, his name is changed to Janusz. Along the journey, the characters face snow, unbearable cold, mosquitoes, hunger, the desert, sand-storms and thirst. All the things a man must endure for freedom.
21. 127 Hours (Danny Boyle, 2010)
Here is a film that sits before the audience as a delightful paradox. In its essence, “127 Hours” is an adventure film about a solitaire but adventurous mountain climber named Aron Ralston.
But for the most part of the film, it is literally static. Aron is trapped under a boulder for 127 hours. Danny Boyle’s moralist film reminds us of one of the basic survival tips which is we should never take nature for granted.
22. The Grey (Joe Carnahan, 2011)
Almost every decade, there is an action movie that brings together man and the wildlife as adversaries. In the 90’s, there was “The Edge” (where Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin faced a giant bear), in the 2010’s there is “The Grey” and this time it’s wolves.
A crew of Alaskan oil-drillers find themselves in the wilderness after their plane crashes. As the crew tries to make a camp around the wreckage of the plane, they discover that they are being watched.
23. Life of Pi (Ang Lee, 2012)
An aspiring Canadian author interviews the Indian storyteller Pi Patel to hear the firsthand account of his adventures.
Life of Pi is a tale of faith, hope, and the fight to survive and remains one of the visual jewels of the 21st century deeply rooted in the philosophy of belief.
24. The Impossible (J.A. Bayona, 2012)
Based on a true survival story, “The Impossible” talks about man vs nature as much as it talks about the aftermath of this confrontation. The film is highly motivational and manages to infuse adrenaline and lust of life in the audience’s blood. The film takes place on the Christmas Eve of 2004 and follows a regular family vacation.
The main challenge on a movie like this is how do you frame such a catastrophe in human terms? How do you present a situation of pure chaos in a way that makes a compelling story? Juan Antonio seems to have found an answer and that answer is “The Impossible”.
25. Wild (Jean-Marc Vallee, 2014)
“Wild” is not a road movie, “Wild” is a walking movie. The film chronicles a woman’s 1,100 miles solo hike undertaken, despite a complete lack of experience, to recover from recent personal tragedies. As her journey progresses, scenes detailing her life before the hike start to work their way into the story thus enlightening the audience on the woman’s motivation.
This movie will make its viewer suffer, but it will reward him/her at the end when it is proven that sometimes pushing your boundaries does pay off and if you treat nature with respect, it will give you back more.