Chris has written 25 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ .

  • Secrets & Lies

    Secrets & Lies

    ★★★★★

    Even with my high expectations, in view of how impressed I've been by Mike Leigh's work, I was still amazed by this superlative film. In a strange way it feels like the ideal companion piece to Naked; whereas that film was all about being swallowed by darkness, Secrets & Lies is concerned with finding light in the dark and reassembling the shattered fragments of life into something whole again. The pain remains but despondency is giving way to tenderness. The deft…

  • Memories of Murder

    Memories of Murder

    ★★★★★

    Bong Joon-ho delivered something superlative with this enthralling mystery procedural about the hunt for South Korea's most infamous and elusive serial killer. What really makes this so noteworthy is that it's not particularly interested in finding out who the culprit was, but more concerned with examining why the police failed to catch him. It's an absorbing, and often damning, depicition of detectives who stick so rigidly to their bizarre ideologies that they get lost in the negligible details. The lead…

  • Fallen Angels

    Fallen Angels

    ★★★★★

    Absolutely sublime. Effectively the darker, more frenetic twin of Chungking Express; this time Wong Kar-wai turns his focus onto the outsiders and oddballs who inhabit Hong Kong's vivid underworld. Straightforward narrative is forgone in order to craft an evocative midnight aura that magnificently conveys the fractured mindsets of the characters; their existentialism, alienation, uncertainty, obscure romanticism and longing for intimacy in an increasingly detached environment. The filmmaking aspects all serve the atmosphere created perfectly; the camerawork is hypnotic (with striking…

  • Sunset Boulevard

    Sunset Boulevard

    ★★★★★

    Billy Wilder's magnificent film remains one of the best ever made about the dark side of fame and celebrity. A masterful depiction of two people at opposite ends of the Hollywood industry; the faded movie star and the desperate writer, using their manipulative relationship to examine the superficiality of stardom and how destructively it warps self-identity. Its combination of noir, satire and ghostly psychological drama is flawless; somehow managing to be creepy, witty, scathing, bleak and tragic without any of…

  • Blue Velvet

    Blue Velvet

    ★★★★★

    A disturbing, haunting, satirical, absurd and all together captivating effort from David Lynch. One which balances his trademark surrealist elements, heavy use of symbolism and unconventional stylistic choices with a gripping noir inspired mystery. The atmosphere he's crafted makes the entire film play out like its stuck halfway between a dream and a nightmare, at once beguiling and disorientating. I cannot praise the shot compositions, colour scheme, sound design and distinctive music selections enough for how well they help in…

  • JFK

    JFK

    ★★★★★

    A frantic, vehement epic that tries its hardest to piece together the splintered fragments of one of the most soul-crushing events of the time period. JFK is so much more than a simple depicition of John F. Kennedy's assassination. It's a snapshot of a country at a pivotal moment in time. A prelude as to why the Vietnam War ever came to fruition. A powerful critique of the military-industrial complex that holds the entire nation in a vice grip. A…

  • Casino

    Casino

    ★★★★★

    An enthralling crime epic that's at once an examination of how the guys from the streets lost to the indomitable corporations and an incredibly potent critique of how the capitalist system has ransacked America. People bet obscene amounts on a game that's already rigged. A place of supposed glamour is built upon mountains of dead bodies. Crooks are outraged because the money they're stealing is also being stolen. Opulence is the only thing that really matters to many. Ace does…

  • To Live and Die in L.A.

    To Live and Die in L.A.

    ★★★★★

    A gripping portrayal of a man who thinks a badge makes him indestructable. Richard Chance might be the most headstrong cop in film history; someone always willing to be bend the rules to get what he wants, ready to risk everything on instinct and who sees the thrill of the chase as half the fun. At times he's so blinded by revenge and obligation that he's hardly any different from the criminals he's after.

    I adore the mood William Friedkin…

  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★★

    An utterly absorbing, sublimely crafted film that deals with numerous concepts in the most inventive of ways. On one hand it is a fascinating study of the artistic mind. How certain people can bring inspiration, the methods used to channel the intense flow of creativity and the slump that arrives once the spark fades away. On the other hand it is the tale of a peculiar romance and the power dynamic that comes with it. Reynolds is unequivocally damaged by…

  • There Will Be Blood

    There Will Be Blood

    ★★★★★

    There Will Be Blood, perhaps the most fitting title for a film about how the lust for power can only ever lead to complete moral corruption. Some people wish to plunder the Earth so they can live in a mansion with nothing but their own emptiness, others wish to use religious ideology to control those around them. Humanity gradually dissipates when greed dominates your entire existence. I don't think any film has presented these ideas in a more gripping, darkly…

  • Back to the Future

    Back to the Future

    ★★★★★

    A supremely entertaining experience from beginning to end with an almost perfect balance of comedy, drama and thrills. This has one of the most well constructed screenplays that I can recall, not one moment of screen time is wasted as everything that happens either furthers the plot or fleshes out the characters. Robert Zemeckis' decision to rely heavily on visual storytelling and inventive foreshadowing is an inspired one as it results in a myriad of small details placed throughout that…

  • The Night of the Hunter

    The Night of the Hunter

    ★★★★★

    Echoing what everyone else has already said, it really is unfortunate that this was Charles Laughton's sole directorial effort. He was able to craft something truly exceptional with this lyrical merging of southern gothic, thriller and fairy tale. Invoking the style of German Expressionism, this is an incredible looking film packed with deep shadows, unorthodox sets and haunting imagery (from the eerie depiction of the body underwater to the entrancing journey down the river). The atmosphere has a nightmarish quality…