By Ellis Keipper
For this week of articles, we decided to choose 4 movies that we believe are masterpieces and explain why we think so. Disclaimer: 3 of the chosen movies have content that could be considered disturbing and all of them are rated R. If you choose to watch them, please watch at your own discretion.
American Psycho – This film follows an executive at a large bank in the 80s. His name is Patrick Bateman. The world that Bateman lives in is completely plastic. The only thing anyone around him cares about is who can get reservations at the best restaurant or who has the best business card. All of his colleagues look like him, act like him, and often get each other confused for one another. No one sees each other as real people. This lifestyle causes Bateman to become a psychopath. On the surface, he seems just like his coworkers, but beneath that, he is completely apathetic of everyone around him. Bateman only finds true joy when he’s killing people. Throughout the film, it’s unclear whether he truly committed these murders or if it all takes place in his head. Whether it’s real or not, this is an incredibly gruesome film. It is a perfect critique of capitalism and yuppie culture. This film also contains what I would consider Christian Bale’s best performance. The lengths that he went to convince viewers of this character are incredible. There is a moment in the film where he makes himself sweat on command. Overall, this is one of the greatest films of all time. If you can stomach the violence, I think you will find a lot to appreciate in what it has to say.
Mulholland Drive – David Lynch’s films are known for being dreamy and disjointed and this film gets that to a tee. It’s hard to really put into words what this film is about without revealing too much. Basically, it’s about a woman who is the sole survivor of a car crash on Mulholland Drive. She loses all her memory and finds herself wandering the streets of LA. She meets and stays with a woman who is a struggling actress. From here, any other details would ruin the reveal of the story. David Lynch is such a great filmmaker because he knows how to capture a feeling so well. This film in particular knows how to capture the feeling of a dream. Trying to make sense of what’s in front of you is useless when Lynch himself has said that he can’t decipher the meaning of it either.
Moonlight – This is a movie I think everyone needs to watch at least once before they die. It is just such a beautiful film. It tells the life story of a boy who grew up in impoverished neighborhoods in Miami. Many of the people around him as he grew up taught him hypermasculine values which he struggled to break out of as he grew up. The main conflict in the film is that this boy doesn’t know how he fits in with these values. Throughout the movie, the boy struggles with expression and learning how to accept himself. This struggle manifests itself when the boy meets a drug dealer and his wife who act in place of his missing father and drug addicted mother respectively. The relationship between the drug dealer and the son is another central conflict of the movie. This film also contains a standout performance from Mahershala Ali. In 2017, it received one of the most well deserved wins for Best Picture at the Oscars. If that’s not enough to convince you to watch this film, I don’t know what is. This is one of the most essential movies for someone to watch.
Requiem For A Dream – This is not a film for the weak stomached. This film follows four drug addicts on a downward spiral trying to do anything they can to get their hands on heroin, pills, or whatever can take the pain away. Where its British counterpart, Trainspotting, offers a more positive ending to a plot like this, this film doesn’t shy away from showing how low one can get. This film is famously hailed as one of the most depressing movies of all time. This movie also contains probably the best performances from both Jared Leto and Marlon Wayans. Darren Aronofsky’s films are often about people and the human psyche and this film is among his best, and arguably one of the best films of all time.