The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (Full Version)

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Beetlejuice! -> The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 5:17:21 PM)

Keeping things decidedly grim (must be the weather), here's another spin-off list from my Top 100 Thread. Some films may belong to both lists I'm running down at the moment. Feel free to rate the films out of ten if you like and your vote shall be counted.

If you fancy having a look at previous lists then have a look below:

The 50 Greatest Dramas
The 50 Greatest Comedies
The 50 Greatest Fantasy
The 50 Greatest Heroic Missions
The 50 Greatest Comedy Dramas
The 50 Greatest Period Films
The 50 Greatest Science Fiction Movies
The 50 Greatest Thrillers

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 5:19:09 PM)

A type of drama that centers on the characters' inner life and psychological problems. Oftentimes, this formula dictates that characters strong in their convictions are usually pitted against each other. In Hollywood, psychological drama is usually used as an approach, merging with other larger genres that stress mental struggles over the physical -- i.e. courtroom dramas (12 Angry Men), police dramas (Homicide), film noir (Scarlet Street), or detective films (Chinatown). Conversely, foreign filmmakers generally tend to take the phrase "psychological" more literally, with an accentuation on character studies of protagonists on the edge of sanity. The source of conflict is not only the characters themselves but conflict that exists within them as well and is usually presented using expressionistic aesthetics (distorted reality, dream sequences, non-linear narratives). Predominantly, the cause is rooted in an event or trauma from the protagonist's past, one that will either be worked through or repressed and ignored to the point of mental or physical destruction. Examples include The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, Persona and Dead Ringers. Five Easy Pieces and Taxi Driver are all quintessential American models containing heavy foreign influences.

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 5:30:37 PM)

50. Falling Down (1993)
Michael Douglas has a crew cut, grabs a baseball bat and loses the plot in downtown LA. A compelling, finely scripted, tense portrait of modern-day dystopia. Particularly relevant if you're a commuter who's self-control has come close to collapsing while stuck in transit.
Very much Hollywood hokum with Duvall and Douglas rising above the material. - Beetlejuice!
Could have been something special, a really dark look at American society. It just needed a decent director. Some great performances though. - rawlinson

Like this one. Robert Duvall gives the best performance in the film. I would very much like to have sex with Robert Duvall. - MonsterCat

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 6:42:34 PM)

49. Breathless (1960)
Paris never looked more romantic than in this fractured, amoral tale of a Bogart-obsessed fantasist who shoots a cop and takes up with an old flame.
As in other Godard films, "high" and "low" culture collide once again. Here Belmondo worships Bogart and American gangster cinema while Seberg quotes from literature and longs to be a journalist. And as in his other work, Godard once again shows that the two are of equal value, with both having their beauty and their failings. Some argue that Godard doesn't seem as interested in characters here as he does in his stylistic innovations, but I don't agree, even if the characters don't have a great deal of depth they're interesting, provocative and vividly rendered, in no small part thanks to the electric chemistry between Seberg and Belmondo. In fact, it's those characters that help to keep the film interesting. As radical as A bout de souffle must have seemed 50 years ago, a wave of imitators means that it's not as startling any more. If the narrative didn't capture the imagination then this could simply be a museum piece, influential, seminal even, but not watchable for any reason other than its innovations. It's also a dazzlingly romantic film, but the romance isn't between Michael and Patricia, it's between Godard and cinema. You can sense Godard's love for the potential of the medium flow through this film and it keeps it not only a vital and important piece of cinema history, but a pure joy to watch. - rawlinson
Godard's film is a love letter to the crime genre but he started a new filmmaking style in the process with French New Wave cinema. He has fun with his direction and experiments wildly throughout with the use of jump-cuts and narrative. It was truly a boundary pusher and it's influence can be seen in a number of modern filmmakers. - Beetlejuice!
So damn cool and stylish. Belmondo looks great in a hat. - MovieAddict247


Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 6:48:54 PM)

48. The Kite Runner (2007)
Growing up in 1970s Afghanistan, two young boys are firm friends - until a shocking incident tears their relationship apart. A moving adaptation of the bestselling novel from director Marc Forster.
Moving and surprisingly confronting film, but it's nothing you haven't seen before. - Pigeon Army
A heart wrenching tale with two perfect children performances. - Beetlejuice!
Bland in parts, amazing in others. It'd get four stars if only the main character wasn't so dislikeable. - shawshank prisoner 

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 7:52:24 PM)

47. Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as a theatre director attempting to re-enact his life as it is occurring. From the relentless imagination of Charlie Kaufman.
Kaufman takes his favourite themes of art imitating life imitating art imitating life and the collapse of reality (or the protagonist's understanding of reality) and takes them further than he does before, with theatre director Caden (a sublime Philip Seymour Hoffman) hiring out a vast empty space for his latest project, a representation of his life and his numerous troubles. So meta it goes through the roof (Caden hires an actor to play himself and then an actor to play him) and with a charmingly loose approach to chronology (events that last mere days for Caden take place over many years for others) it's the most challenging thing that Kaufman, but not his most brilliant. That's because it's almost too challenging in places, lacking the easy hook of Adaptation of the heart and sadness of Eternal Sunshine, instead whipping by with its conceits and daring compressions of reality in a whirl of literalism and surreality (one particular character lives in a house permanently on fire, unexplained). In one way, I'm loathe to criticise a film for being too challenging, and I'm not really - it's just that unlike his previous works, Synecdoche is going to need at least a couple of further viewings before I'm fully comfortable with it. But that's a good thing. - matty_b
This is my type of film, totally offbeat with a great ensemble. - Beetlejuice!
If Requiem for a Dream is the stylistically most important movie of the decade, then Synecdoche, New York, as many submitters have audibly expressed, is the most thematically important movie of the decade. Synecdoche, New York is Charlie Kaufman's incredibly ambitious and daring directorial debut about the deteriorating life of a New York based theatre director (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Kaufman tries to do nothing less than deal with mind and the way each person lives their lives. The film has been criticised as confusing, baffling and inaccessible to the average film goer, but then this is an unapologetic colossal piece of art which provides a level of seldom seen insight into the human mind. It doesn't want you to be comfortable, it wants you to think. As one submitter said "mainstream critics don't like what they don't understand, I'm sure Synecdoche, New York will be a Vertigo/2001 A Space Odyssey deal: initially met with bafflement, but 50 years later an established canonical classic”. We sure hope he's right. - crazedmongoose

paul_ie86 -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 7:59:37 PM)

Synechdoche is amazing.

Gimli The Dwarf -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 9:05:44 PM)

No it isn't.

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 9:34:16 PM)

46. Gran Torino (2008)
An embittered racist learns to respect his Hmong neighbours and finds redemption for his past sins during the Korean War in Clint Eastwood's comic drama, his thirtieth as director.
"Aaaauuuuuunnnnnnggggggh." Clint gets in a lot of good-quality growling in this simplistic but effective message movie about a bitter, bigoted old widower - whose worldview was shaped by the Korean War - bonding with the Hmong-folk next door. The ending cleverly and attractively inverts the Dirty Harry/Unforgivenfascist bloodbath pay-off, though the supporting cast is pretty wooden. - rick_7
Some of it is quite funny, like the insults he trades with the barber, and when it tries to be lighthearted, it's fine. Completely falls apart in the more melodramatic aspects, though, which unfortunately constitute most of the film. - matty_b
This is a very Clint Eastwood film. And there's nothing wrong with that. The man is a genius at spinning out a tale and he's on top form here, both in front of and behind the camera. I'm surprised this film didn't pick up more Oscar nominations as it's very academy friendly. - Beetlejuice!

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (11/6/2012 10:57:43 PM)

45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Marlon Brando swaggers through Elia Kazan's adaptation of Tennessee Williams' sultry melodrama, with Vivien Leigh in pursuit. Winner of four Oscars, it remains a landmark in American filmmaking.
One of my favourite plays, and apart from changing the ending, the film is a damn good adaptation. - MovieAddict247
Not a fan, never have been, never will be. - Rinc
I thought, after loving On The Waterfront, I'd love this, but was a little disappointed. - DCMaximo

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (12/6/2012 12:46:35 AM)

44. The Rules of the Game (1939)
Masterpiece from Jean Renoir that satirises French class distinctions to sharp, witty and timeless effect.
In 5 minutes in Diary of a Chambermaid he presented a more compelling and intelligent class dissection than anything in this badly acted codswallop - elab49
It's all very funny (Andre's and le Cheyniest's painfully civil discussion after a full-on brawl is hilarious) and very pointed, with every character being fickle, plagued with doubts and double standards, and being unable to fully fathom the consequences of their actions to anyone other than the person they see in the mirror. - Pigeon Army
Quite simply one of the greatest films ever made - bobbyperu

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (12/6/2012 12:55:51 AM)

43. Safe (1995)
Ambiguous and unsettling horror movie starring Julianne Moore as the woman whose 'perfect' life is destroyed by environmental sickness.
Julianne Moore is outstanding in this very unusual drama. Haynes directs with a cold approach which makes the film easier to admire than like. It doesn't quite work as a whole but an interesting project none-the-less. - Beetlejuice! 
Beautifully constructed, chilling internal nightmare where every scene plays out like a little mini movie in and of itself. Brilliant. - Empire

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (12/6/2012 1:04:23 AM)

42. The Blue Angel (1930)
The great Marlene Dietrich in her first major role as Lola, the seductive star of a sleazy nightclub. A sensual tale of moral degradation.
It's a bit heavy handed at times but this is a nice tale of a fall from grace. Dietrich is delightful. - Beetlejuice!
The switch from full on ferce to darker tragdy is deftly handed, it is beautifully shot with compelling lead performances. - ElephantBoy
It is easy to see why this classic made Dietrich an international star.Emil Jannings is simply great,making the last few minutes unforgettable. - twinlorna

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (12/6/2012 10:40:21 AM)

41. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Superior sentimentality. Matt Damon stars as a maths genius struggling to leave his old life of poverty and delinquency behind.
A very nice film, no more no less with some excellent performances on show too. - Beetlejuice!
I love it. Don't know what else to say. - Dantes Inferno
Brilliant film. - WillKenobi

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (12/6/2012 3:16:46 PM)

40. A Single Man (2009)
George Falconer (Colin Firth) is a 52 year old British college professor who is struggling to find meaning to his life after the death of his long term partner.
Colin Firth is George, an uptight gay English professor grieving the loss of his lover and planning to commit suicide in 60s America. Ford's directorial debut is a simply stunning piece of cinema, as beautiful visually as it is internally. It's one of the most astonishing looking films I've ever seen, and it's not just about a superb sense of period detail, Ford creates an environment that's absolutely believable for these characters. Ford also uses colour (and the lack of it in some scenes) to suggest moods and tones expertly. Touches that may have felt extreme from another director just feel perfect here, such as that incredible shot of George and a hustler in front of a Hitchcock poster. The actors aren't overwhelmed by the style though, Nicholas Hoult is excellent in a small role as a devoted student and Julianne Moore provides an incredible supporting turn as Charley, long-time friend and neighbour, an aging beauty as unsure of her place in life as George. It's one hell of a slap in a face to remember she wasn't even nominated in the year that Mo'Nique's one-note caricature took home an Oscar. But as the title suggests, the film really is Firth's, and what a performance he gives. Moving and sympathetic, ably shifting between moods and suggesting worlds of internal grief with the subtlest of gestures. It's difficult to imagine a better moment from any actor in 2009 than the way Firth plays the phone call that tells him of his lover's death. A Single Man is an elegant and beautiful film, one of modern cinema's finest explorations of true love and the devastation caused by the loss of a partner. - rawlinson
An absolutely stunning film, directed with stylish flair but Colin Firth grounds the whole thing with a very emotional performance. Julianne Moore and Nicholas Hoult look fantastic and support the star well. Love the music as well. - Beetlejuice!
I really liked this film. Beautifully shot and it feels incredibly personal to debutant director Tom Ford. I thought the saturation and de-saturation of colour motive worked even if it makes things a bit more obvious. Eduard Grau's cinematography, whilst it does flirt with advertising territory, is fantastic as is the production design which is almost too perfect in places. This is film which loves its things and just occasionally lingers on the things rather than the characters. - Groovy Mule

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (12/6/2012 5:04:16 PM)

39. Magnolia (1999)
Tom Cruise actually gives a credible (and wonderfully deranged) performance in this assured third feature from director Paul Thomas Anderson.
There will be frogs. Paul Thomas Anderson (not to be confused with Paul WS Anderson, or Wes Anderson) has made just five films. Magnolia was the difficult third album after his debut, Hard Eight, and his early classic Boogie Nights. Magnolia is an Altmanesque ensemble piece, bringing together a disparate group of people under the guise of coincidence, happen-stance, and luck. It's a vast, sprawling work, and so long as you're not expecting a neat three-act story, it's hugely rewarding. Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C Reilly (showing that he can act, when he's not gurning at the camera in Step Brothers - cf the recent Carnage) William H Macy, Sam Robards Jr, and the list goes on. From one character to the next, the idea of circumstances beyond control, chance meetings, coincidence, permeates each scene. Each bleeds into the next, until the ensemble come together in fourth-wall-breaking rendition of Aimee Mann's Wise Up. Perfection. - homersimpson_esq
A spellbinding mosaic of misery from PT Anderson, who continues to impress and with a few more films of this quality under his belt may very well become the best director of his generation. One of the best ensemble casts of all time. - Beetlejuice!
Wonderful in every way. - Gimli The Dwarf

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (12/6/2012 7:24:25 PM)

38. L'Avventura (1960)
When a woman goes missing, the ensuing search brings her fiance and her best friend together. Michelangelo Antonioni's breakout film is a modernist classic about the dangers of modernism.
Some beautiful women populate this odd psychological drama. - Beetlejuice!
I adore the films of antonioni and this is his best. - bobbyperu

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (14/6/2012 7:45:06 PM)

37. The Sea Inside (2004)
A quadriplegic campaigns to change the law so he may choose to end his life without recrimination for those who help him. Javier Bardem stars in this true story from Alejandro Amenabar.
Excellent performances from all, but Bardem especially. If he deserved an Oscar for any film, it was this. - Gimli The Dwarf
Beautifully filmed, beautifully acted, this is a gem and I urge you to see it. - phil billinge

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (14/6/2012 7:46:13 PM)

36. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.
Plays tend to not translate well to film, either coming across too stagey or embracing their new medium too much and losing what made the play great. Fortunately, Glengarry Glen Ross embraces what made the play great while adapting it to make it more “cinematic”. For instance, Alec Baldwin’s character was invented for the film version, but his scene fits perfectly with the rest of the film and it also provides some tension-now everyone’s selling so they don’t get fired, rather than to be placed at the top of a leaderboard. Small touches like this do wonders for the adaptation, even if it is a primarily one-set drama. That’s not particularly a problem, another film coming up is set almost entirely in one room, and indeed it adds to the claustrophobia of the piece, especially once people start plotting.  - Rebel scum
It may drag a little in places, but Mamet's dialogue has never been better, and that ensemble cast - Lemmon, Spacey, Pacino, Harris, Arkin, Baldwin, Pryce, Cicocella - is fucking amazing. Lemmon, Spacey and Arkin stand out as the best among the main cast, but when Hurricane Baldwin rolls in fifteen minutes in, destroys everything in sight with a brutally vicious performance, and rolls back out, you know you've got something special. The music and the direction may not be world-class (though the direction is superb at removing the film from its theatrical roots and getting us right in the thick of it), but they don't really need to be with that cast going at it. - Pigeon Army
The true star, undoubtedly, is Jack Lemmon, who manages to make this man – someone who we would hate to be on the phone with – incredibly likable and entirely sympathetic. He’s just trying to get by, feed his kids, and make his wife happy, but however much he tries he just can’t. And that, coupled with the fact that nobody will ever really like him, is ultimately heartbreaking. - Piles

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (14/6/2012 7:55:06 PM)

35. The Constant Gardener (2005)
Ralph Fiennes stars as a mild-mannered diplomat investigating the murder of his wife in a remote area of northern Kenya. John Le Carre adaptation from Fernando Meirelles.
The film has problems and there are understandable criticisms of it being another Hollywood presentation of the Third World, a sleek, palatable depiction of poverty and corruption in a sun drenched African country few of us will ever actually visit, there is even a bit of the ole' white people are awesome* going on and the end is a little fudged too. Having said that I find it a thrilling, entirely engrossing, skilfully constructed, deeply affecting human drama, a beautifully shot romance about rediscovering a love you once believed either false or lost, a gripping tale of betrayal and sleaze at the highest and most devastating level. I also consider it an enhancement of it's source which when you consider it's based on a pretty excellent, intricate John le Carré is quite an achievement. - impqueen
Ralph Fiennes is fantastic in The Constant Gardener - when he gets the news about Tessa, you can see his skin pale and the look in his eyes is heartbreaking. I like The Constant Gardener much more on reflection - whilst watching it, I didn't really think I liked it, but it was in my mind for days afterwards. It was overlooked by most awards, though one of the best films of 2005. - MovieAddict247
An intelligent, adult thriller well directed and some excellent performances (one of Fiennes' best). - Beetlejuice!

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 10:29:30 AM)

34. 8 1/2 (1963)
Fascinating and highly-influential masterpiece from Federico Fellini, about a troubled, semi-autobiographical filmmaker, played by Marcello Mastroianni.
Completely bonkers, I love that ending! - Beetlejuice!
Despite being a Fellini-fan, I've never liked this. I've seen it twice now, and I still not love it. I prefer the style of 8 1/2 to the style of La Strada, but my preference of the films themselves is the other way around. - Dantes Inferno

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 10:37:01 AM)

33. Autumn Sonata (1978)
An Oscar-nominated Ingrid Bergman leads this powerful chamber-piece about the reunion of a mother with her mentally and emotionally damaged daughters.
It's like emotional UFC between Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman. It's probably his least cinematic work, but probably his best script. - demoncleaner
Nice performances but extremely downbeat, maybe not a Saturday night movie. - Beetlejuice!

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 10:39:26 AM)

32. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Quality Woody Allen film that successfully manages to meld together two stories. Alongside the writer-director-star, features Martin Landau and Alan Alda.
Just cementing my high opinion of Allen's work. - paul_ie86
One of Woody Allen's best films with wonderful performances from the ensemble and great use of classical music. - Beetlejuice!
Excellent work - mingusman

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 11:41:46 AM)

31. Lady Vengeance (2005)
A kidnapper is released from prison and sets about getting her revenge. Intense drama from Chan-Wook Park.
Very intense, a little too bleak in some places but expert filmmaking nontheless. - Beetlejuice!
An excellent film, and a fitting finale to the Vengeance Trilogy. Re-watching only confirmed what a great film this is, and allowed me to catch small touches, that I'd not taken in on first viewing. The bookends of the white cake Geum-ja rejects in the introduction and the one she buries her face in at the climax, desperately seeking the purity that her vengeance was ultimately unable to provide. And when Jenny and Geun-shik stick their tongues out to catch snowflakes, reminiscent of holy communion, Geum-ja doesn't follow suit - she feels unable to regain that level of innocence or purity or spiritual connection. - Gram123
It just doesnt do a good enough job building the mystery which it hinges on. - TRM

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 12:06:42 PM)

30. The Insider (1999)
Worthy but powerful expose of the tobacco industry starring a plumped-up, pre-Gladiator Russell Crowe as a real-life whistle-blower and Al Pacino as the idealistic investigative journalist.
Remember when Russell Crowe was a genuinely exciting presence in a film and not something that just elicited groans of disappointment? There's a moment in Mann's film where he, as the doctor blowing the whistle on dangerous practices in the tobacco industry, is having dinner with Al Pacino's news producer and they're discussing their fathers. Crowe eulogises about his, but is then brutally cut short by Pacino's withering assessment of his father - it's a brilliant moment, of two actors sparking off each other and making what seems like fairly rudimentary dialogue sing and sparkle. Mann's film is actually full of moments like this, in a film that is mainly composed of men in rumpled suits having very serious conversations and shouting matches with each other and it's probably the best thing he's ever done. Intelligent, tense, driven, edited forcefully - there are few films where a simple bit of nighttime golf practice can become something deeply threatening. If there's a flaw, it's that Mann streamlines the first two hours of the film so well, that the final half hour feels like its lagging - he's hurtled towards the finish line with such intent that it's blowing its cheeks out and stumbling over itself by the end. It's not an ending that derails the rest of the film, but it is a shame that it doesn't finish as brilliantly as it should do and chooses to end on an ultra-cheesey slo-mo shot instead. However, Pacino has rarely been as good as this in the last 20 years or so and Crowe's crumpled, flawed but fundamentally decent man, being crushed under unbelievable pressure from forces out of his control is a performance for the ages. - matty_b
It was good. I like Crowe's performance a lot as well and the film as a whole is excellent - most unusual for Michael Mann. - rick_7
Enjoyed the performances much more than the film. - Dicklauranrtisdead

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 2:00:11 PM)

29. The Social Network (2010)
Told through a series of flashbacks and court-room depositions, David Fincher presents competing accounts of the genesis of what is currently the world's largest social network:
Second favourite Fincher. - impqueen
Very good. Eisenberg sarcastically checking the lawyer's maths kills me everytime. - matty_b
Impressive on the whole. - ElephantBoy

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 4:07:56 PM)

28. Breaking the Waves (1996)
Lars Von Trier won a sackful of plaudits and awards for this disquieting and confrontational film. A howling commentary on love, religion and death.
Emily Watson is probably the closest thing modern screen acting has to a genius. That is, a performer of "extraordinary creative power". And I'd say she's on a par with Lillian Gish as the flat-out best actress that we've seen. As with another genius of the cinema, Orson Welles, Watson's reputation rests largely on a remarkable, bravura debut. Her turn in Breaking the Wavs, as a repressed, religious Scotswoman seeking a miracle through sexual degradation, is the most audacious, original, unspeakably sad characterisation put on screen since the movies learned to talk. It really is that good. - rick_7
Watson is ridiculously brilliant in Breaking the Waves, I'm still not sure how I feel about the film but Watson excels. - impqueen
Tremendous lead performance in this distubing drama. - Beetlejuice!

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 8:22:02 PM)

27. Donnie Darko (2001)
An astonishingly imaginative, poignant, genre-defying tale of teen love, insanity and time travel. The feature debut of US filmmaker Richard Kelly, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Sometimes, the more you explain, the less impact you have. That is what Richard Kelly found when his director's cut of his wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey cult classic failed to engage with anyone on the level that his debut had done on its initial release. It seems that the more ambiguous Donnie's story was, the more there was to see and to explore and there's a lesson to be learnt there, I think. On the surface, the film is about Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) and the therapy he's undergoing to understand why he's having hallucinations about a man in a rabbit suit that tells him the end of the world is coming in a matter of weeks. But on the other hand, it might really be about wormholes in time and pre-destination. Or maybe it's really about faith versus science. Or maybe it's about education in school being under threat from personal ideology rather than the exploration of ideas. Or maybe it's a David Lynch-esque look at 80s America and how under the veneer of idyllic small-town life that we see here, there's a seething mix of personal jealousies, political hatred and sexual perversion boiling away. Maybe it's all those things, and the most astounding thing about Kelly's film is that it takes all these various strands, and where other, lesser, films would simply collapse into a mess (hell, other films don't try to do half as much as Donnie Darko and are still a mess), it instead ties them together into a glorious, looping, chaotic-yet-strangely logical tale of time travel, exploding jet engines and giant rabbits that somehow makes perfect sense at the end of it. And it does this in such a way that though you're sure you've understand what you've just seen, you want to see it again as soon as possible just to confirm your own thoughts on it. And it does all this with a brilliant soundtrack, too. Gyllenhall is excellent as the troubled teen at the centre of it, with great support from Mary McDonnell as his mother, sister Maggie as his, er, sister, Noah Wyle as a teacher sympathetic to his problems but scared of how they'll impact upon the school, Beth Grant as a hysterical parent at his school and Patrick Swayze as Jim Cunningham, lifestyle guru making inroads at the school and, as it turns out, pervert with a rather nasty secret stash of kiddie porn. What this points to is that despite the fact that this is a film named after the titular character, it's not actually about him at all. Sure, there are numerous, teen-savvy scenes about him and his girlfriend, Gretchen, but the film has the uncanny ability to make every scene a mini-movie all by themselves. An antagonistic school teachers and parents meeting that descends into anarchy could be the heart of the film. The Sparkle Motion dance contest could be. The fire that destroy's Jim's house could be. All these things and more add up to a bewitching, enticing, head-spinning whole that, much like Donnie in the superbly eerie opening soundtracked by Echo and the Bunnymen's The Killing Moon, is likely to leave you flat on back wondering just what the hell happened? - rawlinson
An instant cult classic that somehow manages to catch the mood and energy of the new millennium - even though its set in the '80s. Odd comment I know.
Jake Gyllenhaal is excellent in the lead as is Mary McDonnell as his patient, loving mother. That music is excellent! - Beetlejuice!
This film has two things I feel cool, lots of heart, and an intresting logic for you to get involved. - fernetcontonica

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 10:00:01 PM)

26. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Powerful New York story of addiction and self-destruction from the cult writer of 'Last Exit To Brooklyn' and director Darren Aronofsky.
Grim but brilliant. - Harry Tuttle
It's very, very good but such a tough watch. - garvielloken
Darren Aronofsky's second feature, after the rather excellent [image][/image], Requiem for a Dream is a somewhat disturbing tale of multi-generational drug abuse which is astonishing for a number of reasons. 1) It was lambasted for glorifying drug use - probably by the Daily Mail - despite showing drug abuse to be horrible and debilitating beyond belief. 2) That scene near the end involving Jennifer Connolly, another actress, and, well, yes. 3) Teasing a good performance out of ___ Movie alumnus Marlon Wayans. It is not a film you would necessarily watch many times, but it should be prescribed viewing for children as a morality tale against drug abuse. Harrowing. - homersimpson_esq

Beetlejuice! -> RE: The Empire Forum's 50 Greatest PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMAS (15/6/2012 11:27:47 PM)

25. The Seventh Seal (1957)
The great Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal features one of cinema's greatest images - a knight taking on Death in a game of chess.
I can understand the parodies of The Seventh Seal, Bergman created a film about death, suffering and God. It's the thing satires are created for, and there's nothing wrong with someone pricking the bubble of the film a little. I just dislike when people dismiss this film, and Bergman in general. The Seventh Seal tackles mankind's fear of death, of a spiritual void, of the destruction of humanity. It even works as an allegory for fears about the effects of modern warfare. Despite its seeming ubiquity and it's standing as Bergman's most famous work, I think The Seventh Seal is underrated, most people know of it, but most don't seem to appreciate it. I just wish more would watch it with an open mind. - rawlinson
He was better in Bogus Journey TBH - hubu_phonk
A favourite of mine - impqueen

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