Give me the cult over the blockbuster
We live in the age of the blockbuster where film franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have taken over. And while we love these big screen blasts; cinema should be about more than just superheroes and reboots.
So where do we turn to? Cult movies, of course – it is these films that will survive the test of time.
Here’s five cult classics from the past, and five that could join them.
Cult films from the past:
The film centres on the story of Leonard, played by Guy Pearce, as he attempts to find the man who attacked and murdered his wife – but he’s not helped by bouts of amnesia. Already displaying an appetite for innovation in only his second feature film, Christopher Nolan’s tense thriller is accompanied by an ingenious narrative structure, with a grandiose performance from Pearce.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Jake Gyllenhaal’s teenage character finds himself on a mind-bending journey. Who is the large bunny rabbit and can Donnie alter his destiny? A charmingly puzzling tale leaves much room for interpretation and searching for answers throughout. Despite an initially poor box-office showing in the US, Donnie Darko was acclaimed by critics. And like many cult movies, it soon earned a considerable fan base - it was second in Empire magazine’s “50 Greatest Independent Films of All Time.”
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Coen brothers know how to make a cult classic and this film with the inimitable Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” is no exception. Mistaken identity, White Russians, larger-than-life bowling buddies and a ruined rug; funny business never looked this cool, and all with a cast of awesomely quirky characters.
Run Lola Run (1998)
Franka Potente as Lola has twenty minutes to raise 100,000 Deutschmarks and get across the city to her boyfriend Manni before he does something desperate. Director Tom Tykwer’s breath-taking action thriller deservedly received rave international recognition, winning a string of accolades across the globe.
Life of Brian (1979)
An instant classic from the Monty Python lot, as an average young Jewish man named Brian is mistaken for the messiah. The tongue-in-cheek style and anarchic fun showcase British humour at its very best.
Films since 2010 with cult potential
A young Spanish woman and four local Berliners come together on a night out, but little does she know about their dangerous secret in this exhilarating heist thriller. Director Sebastian Schipper’s production style - a single continuous take - earned Victoria rave reviews at his native German Film Awards where it won six categories including Best Feature.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s former thief stumbles into a new career as a cameraman, and with the help of a police scanner searches out grisly crimes across Los Angeles. The neo-noir thriller explores the dark secrets of the Californian metropolis in the hunt for sensationalist news coverage. Nightcrawler was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay but it was Gyllenhaal’s performance in the lead role that had many acclaiming as the best of his career.
Ryan Gosling is the unnamed Hollywood stuntman who happens to do some getaway driving on the side. A man of few words – who cares when the soundtrack is this good? – he is caught in the middle of a job gone wrong and must now protect the ones he loves. Based on the 2005 novel by James Sallis, the gloomy thriller with its atmospheric setting was named film of the year by Empire magazine.
The Intouchables (2011)
The French comedy follows the unlikely friendship that grows between a wealthy quadriplegic and his caretaker from the projects. Based on a true story, the warm-hearted film with plenty of belly laughs proved a surprise success throughout Europe.
Black Swan (2010)
Faced with competition from newcomer Lily for a lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”, Natalie Portman’s ballerina Nina struggles to maintain her sanity as her dark side slowly surfaces. Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller offers an impressive trip through the dark side of human existence, while Portman mesmerises in a role that won her the Oscar for Best Actress.