Film-making isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Talented film-makers often display extra-ordinary sense of craft in their ventures, and are able to extract subtle performances from their respective acting ensemble, apart from getting their crew of technicians to work cohesively.
I’d like to list out five individuals who have carved out a niche of their own in Hollywood, owing to their exceptional story-telling skills:
The French-Canadian writer/director grabbed Hollywood’s attention with his outstanding indie-flick ‘Incendies’ in 2010. His filmography includes the crime-drama ‘Prisoners,’ featuring two exceptional performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal; the mystery thriller ‘Enemy,’ captivating audiences with its quirky narrative and again starring Jake Gyllenhaal; ‘Sicario,’ arguably one of the best-made crime thrillers in recent times, making great use of Roger Deakins’ scintillating cinematography.
‘Arrival,’ a sci-fi drama that stayed grounded despite its improbable plot; and ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ a groundbreaking sequel to Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner,’ critically acclaimed but unfortunately a box office dud.
Renowned for his idiosyncratic filmmaking style characterized by artistic props, rare collectibles, and a vibrant use of colors, Wes Anderson has predominantly crafted offbeat comedies and in-depth character studies. Highlights from his filmography include ‘Rushmore,’ which not only launched his career but also that of Jason Schwartzman, showcasing his sublime storytelling; ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ a film delving into themes of loss, redemption, and familial disorder with a highly sarcastic touch; ‘The Darjeeling Limited,’ a poignant journey of brotherly bonding set in the moving landscape of India; ‘Moonrise Kingdom,’ a coming-of-age drama painted with strokes of eccentricity.
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ a comedy featuring neatly-written characters and a stand-out performance from Ralph Fiennes. Additionally, his stop-motion animation flick ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ earned praise for its aesthetic appeal. The anticipation is high for his upcoming stop-motion venture titled ‘Isle of Dogs,’ which boasts a massive voice-over ensemble.
This is a director that makes films as raw and real as they come, with characters behaving exactly how they would in normal life, given the circumstances. His films are delightfully optimistic and carry broad perspectives on life. He loves hitting the nostalgia bone of viewers and relishes structuring films on indefinite narratives (i.e. the beginning and closure are not clearly defined). Have a look at the ‘Before’ trilogy or ‘Boyhood’ where he has filmed actors over a span of 10+ years and incorporated changes based on their own life experiences. Linklater’s films are essentially talkathons where we get to understand characters through exchanges sprinkled with wit, honesty and sentiment. ‘Everybody Wants Some’ was a fantastic throwback to the ‘80s and featured a kick-ass soundtrack.
The American filmmaker is renowned for his set of films trademarked by deeply disturbing (and graphic) scenes, in a manner similar to Korean cult-films (of Na Hong Jin, Joon-ho Bong and Chan-wook Park). Films such as ‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘The Wrestler’, ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Mother!’ aren’t exactly the easiest to sit through. He loves teasing the viewers with perturbing scenes of psychological horror while attempting to convey the characters’ inner turmoil. Aronofsky is evidently one of the most controversial directors in Hollywood at the moment, yet he continues to get A-listers to act in all his films. He has however, been on the receiving end of both criticism as well as accolades.
M Night Shyamalan
An American screen-writer & film-director with Indian roots, familiar with viewers for films containing supernatural elements and unpredictably twisted finales. He has displayed immense capability in blending drama, horror and science fiction with psychological thrills to conjure up popular films like ‘The Sixth Sense’, ‘Signs’ and ‘Unbreakable’. His career showed a bit of a droop when he made underwhelming films such as ‘The Village’, ‘The Happening’, ‘The Last Airbender’ and ‘After Earth’ but most of them fared decently well at the box office (except for ‘After Earth’). He bounced back in 2015 with the horror-thriller ‘The Visit’ and kept his graph steady in 2016 with the psychological thriller ‘Split’ (both made on budgets less than 10 million) striking gold at the box office and winning the hearts of most critics. He is currently working on a crossover between ‘Split’ and ‘Unbreakable’ titled ‘Glass’ with lead characters from both films returning.
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Writer by Profession, Wanderer by Passion.