Only seldom does it happen that a great movie just passes under the radar without anyone — critics or audiences — paying much attention to it. But time works in strange and funny ways. There are films whose greatness only surfaces with time — it’s difficult to point out exactly why that happens with certain films. And this list is dedicated to 10 such films that went largely unnoticed when they released, but today they, with time, have attained a cult status. Therefore, we believe these recent movies everyone should see. If you haven’t yet, jump on the train already.
10. Killing Them Softly (2012)
With Brad Pitt as the lead, ‘Killing Them Softly’ is a story of cold war between two gangs, when one gang-leader hires a thug to disrupt a card game hosted by his competitor and the other gang leader turns to a mob enforcer to eradicate those responsible for the disruption caused. Andrew Dominik has to be one of the unluckiest directors. Everyone in the industry highly respects his talent but all his films have failed miserably at the box-office. At least his ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by Coward Robert Ford’ got some Oscar attention, but ‘Killing Them Softly’ was widely ignored in spite of being an equally great film.
9. Two Lovers (2008)
I haven’t seen a more heartbreaking love story than ‘Two Lovers’. While most of the love stories hardly linger in reality, ‘Two Lovers’ have easily relatable characters, who you may sound, look and feel familiar — and yet they are not. The pain, the agony, the desperation, the anxiety of love and heartbreak hardly ever get depicted in cinema as they do in ‘Two Lovers’. The feelings of characters feel real. The climax of the film will break you into pieces and will remain with you weeks after you have watched the film.
8. Blue Valentine (2010)
Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, ‘Blue Valentine’ is a story about a couple, who the world sees as a perfect relationship, but are actually in a downward spiral caught up between lack of ambition and retreat into self-ambition, hence slowly resulting into a failed marriage. One of the best movies about marriage, ‘Blue Valentine’ is so honest in its rendering that it is not easy to sit through the film. But if you do, you will realize what a truly exceptional film this is.
7. Birth (2004)
A taut, suspenseful drama from start to finish, ‘Birth’ is a story of a ten-year old boy who attempts to convince a woman that he is her dead husband reborn. The beauty and the merit of ‘Birth’ is not as much in its story — which has flaws — as it is in its treatment. Haunting score accompanied by extraordinarily gorgeous cinematography, ‘Birth’ works on you like a magic — slowing sucking you inside and then never letting you go. Not to mention, it features the Nicole Kidman’s career best performance.
6. Fish Tank (2009)
‘Fish Tank’ deals with the trysts & tribulations of a 15 year old rebellious girl Mia, living in a downtrodden neighborhood of London and what transpires when she starts getting attracted towards her mother’s new boyfriend. Once you start watching the film, and have let go your initial inhibitions, it won’t be long before you get completely sucked into the world of Mia – her rebellion, her fetish for hip-hop dance and her vulnerability. Easily, one of the most original films of this century.
5. Certified Copy (2010)
‘Certified Copy’ is easily one of the most original and interesting films I have seen this century. The idea that it is based upon is endlessly fascinating. In life, we are slaves to our desires and circumstances, in effect, mostly trying to be someone else. We create a perception of reality around us that may or may not exist. But does that mean we cease to be original ? Or are we just certified copy of the person we want to be. Read More ..
4. The Painted Veil (2007)
I will never understand why ‘The Painted Veil’ is so highly underrated. It is quite simply one of the best relationship dramas that you are ever going to see. Usually, love stories or romantic dramas fall under the trap of schmaltz, but not this film. It’s mature; it’s beautiful; and it’s tender. It will put you into a moral dilemma of which side to choose between the two flawed characters; but ultimately, you will realize nobody is perfect — neither you nor them. I have watched the film several times now, and every single time it breaks my heart into pieces. Read more ..
3. Amores Perros (2000)
This dazzling and fierce piece of work happens to be the début of the serial Oscar-winning director, Alejandro González Iñárritu. Not even five minutes into the film, you will realize why Iñárritu is such a maverick. Gritty and solidly engaging, the scenes in the film have been so realistically constructed — especially the dog fights — that when I first watched it, I had to confirm that I am watching a fiction and not a documentary. Read more ..
2. The Piano Teacher (2001)
A deeply disturbing examination — what else can you expect out of Michael Haneke — of desire and desperation in love, ‘The Piano Teacher’ may leave you shaken by the time it ends. Not an easy watch by any means, the film will be richly rewarding to only those who patiently and thoughtfully strive to absorb its subtle nuances — after having gotten through the initial shock. In the end, and if you look closely, Haneke’s message with this film is: Love has many shades, and not all of them are beautiful.
1. Somewhere (2010)
While Sofia Coppola is better known for ‘Lost in Translation’, one mustn’t forget that she also directed an equally beautiful film called ‘Somewhere’. The story of father-daughter bonding is quite apparently auto-biographical to Sofia’s own childhood when she used to accompany her father, the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, to different hotels and film sets. ‘Somewhere’ is one of the films that doesn’t astonish you instantly, but slowly grows upon you as you start thinking about it. Basically, it stays with you, especially after 2nd viewing. It touches the themes of solitude and loneliness — similar to ‘Lost in Translation’ in that aspect — but it will move you more because of the father-daughter chemistry, which is central to the film. To put it in short: the best father-daughter bonding movie ever made. PS: Such films hardly ever get made in the first place.