Chris has written 13 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ during 2020.

  • 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…

  • Catch Me If You Can

    Catch Me If You Can

    ★★★★★

    For me this is Steven Spielberg's best film. At once an exhilarating crime caper, a striking recreation of the 1960s and a deeply moving portrayal of people trying to escape the pain that comes with having a broken family. It's supremely entertaining and funny but with a genuine sense of pathos running throughout that makes the emotional moments hit so effectively. The performances are sublime with Leonardo DiCaprio's balance of boyish charm and inner turmoil perfect for the central role,…

  • Dog Day Afternoon

    Dog Day Afternoon

    ★★★★★

    There is an authenticity to Dog Day Afternoon that is usually very difficult to capture. Sidney Lumet's documentary style direction, the confined setting, the distinctive characters, the naturalistic dialogue and the stark absence of non-diegetic music all merge to convincingly convey such a mood. Like all truly great films it also feels as relevant as ever. It deftly touches on themes of economic inequality, police brutality, media frenzy and gender identity throughout the central conflict; a conflict which moves from…

  • The Apartment

    The Apartment

    ★★★★★

    The way in which The Apartment so deftly walks the line between comedy and drama simply astounds me; so ingeniously witty as it deals with loneliness, heartbreak and suicide ideation in such a poignant manner. As you'd expect with Billy Wilder the detail on display is marvellous. The small moments of great importance, the brilliant reoccuring jokes, the sharp dialouge that flows wonderfully, the tenderness of the romance and the characters whose struggles are depicted in such a compelling style.…

  • Some Like It Hot

    Some Like It Hot

    ★★★★★

    Always a joyous experience. So much works faultlessly; the plotting, characters, dialogue, pacing and the jokes which constantly land as intended. Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Joe E. Brown and especially Jack Lemmon (whose delivery and expressions are comedy perfection) are all outstanding.

    This might well be the finest example of Billy Wilder's comedic expertise.

  • Heat

    Heat

    ★★★★★

    Michael Mann's magnum opus. An enthralling crime epic that depicts two intelligent professionals on either side of the law and the juxtaposition of their lives. Almost everything about Heat is immpecable. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in top form. The incredible supporting cast (Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Diane Venora, Wes Studi, Mykelti Williamson and Jon Voight to name a few) who add so much substance to their roles. Dante Spinotti's stunning cinematography that captures an enormous city…

  • Collateral

    Collateral

    ★★★★★

    Classic Michael Mann. A seamless blend of dynamic crime thriller and contemplative mood piece. It's possibly Mann's most high-concept work, yet he still manages to weave his thematic interest in professionals who stick closely to their own code into the plot and explore it in the relationship between the two lead characters. Filling those roles are Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx who are outstanding in against type performances.

    This is all of Mann's strengths on display. Exhilarating action sequences. Subtle…

  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★★★

    Both ingeniously witty and profoundly melancholy. A fascinating study of the fight for integrity and the grief of losing an artistic partner seen through the eyes of the flawed yet sympathetic titular musician as he struggles with the cyclical nature of his life. A superb lead performance by Oscar Isaac, an excellent supporting cast, fantastic dialogue, clever character building, beautiful cinematography and wonderful songs all convey the bittersweet mood perfectly. One of the Coen brothers very best efforts.

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Under the Silver Lake

    ★★★★★

    A masterful neo-noir mystery that develops into a blend of conspiracy thriller, horror and dark comedy. David Robert Mitchell has made a strange, meandering, cryptic film filled to the brim with ideas and influences from Hitchcock to Lynch to the Coen brothers which has understandably split audiences. It's a fantastic examination of hidden codes, urban legends, secret societies, misogyny in the entertainment industry, the vacuity of Hollywood, our relationship to worldly possessions and pursuing outlandish theories to escape the numbing pain of life. An excellent Andrew Garfield performance, dynamic direction, fantastic music, gorgeous cinematography and an eerie dreamlike tone make this a fascinating watch.

  • Psycho

    Psycho

    ★★★★★

    A classic for a reason. Hitchcock is at the top of his game as Psycho is filled with edge-of-your-seat suspense, fascinating characters, clever foreshadowing and shocking twists. The film has a restrained tone and approach which makes the sudden bursts of violence or horror all the more startling. The vibrant black-and-white photography and naturalistic dialogue add to this impeccably. The casting is spot on as Janet Leigh, Vera Miles and Martin Balsam are all excellent, with Anthony Perkins stealing the…

  • Gone Girl

    Gone Girl

    ★★★★★

    Deeply unsettling. David Fincher plays to his genre merging strengths as he creates a film that is by turns a chilling mystery and a psychological examination of a truly dysfunctional relationship. It is also a razor-sharp satire on the harmful influence of the media, how we judge people for the way they appear and how much people are willing to change for the ''perfect life''. Fincher's meticulous, clinical style is perfect for a story with so many layers. He produces…

  • Fight Club

    Fight Club

    ★★★★★

    David Fincher at his most dynamic. A film filled with amazing camerawork, memorable dialogue, stunning cinematography, a hypnotic score, fast-paced editing and surprising twists. Edward Norton and Brad Pitt fit their roles impeccably, whilst Fincher manages to craft a darkly sardonic tone to match the material perfectly. It's a fantastically unconventional satire that can be enjoyed for its caustic take on themes of consumerism, globalisation and self-identity on top of being an unpredictable and frentic adrenaline rush.