– Part nine is ALL about unique narrative structures and different ways to shoot a film
– Kurosawa’s second Shakespeare adaptation on the list with “Throne Of Blood”
– Paul Schrader with two of his best screenplays here and two of the best scripts on the entire list
Throne of Blood (1957)
Director: Akira Kurosawa (4th)
In one of Mifune’s most eccentric roles as the Macbeth figure, his unconfident, bold, easily influenced portrayal alongside the powerful and brilliant Isuzu Yamada makes for some of the best drama put on film. In the best film adaptation of Shakespeare ever conceived, the use of dreams and nightmares play right into Kurosawa’s idea for the narrative. It’s absolutely genius and is beautifully directed, shot, and produced by Kurosawa and company.
Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (1985)
Director: Paul Schrader (1st)
Mishima is Paul Schrader at his best. An account of the famous Japanese author and political figure Yukio Mishima’s last day, told as unconventional biopic that interweaves his narrative work and life struggle. A story told through Mishima’s drastic ideas on life that translate into gorgeous imagery explained in detail through his writing. Mishima is one of Schrader’s best scripts and the film features one of the most slept on original scores ever produced by Phillip Glass
Director: Richard Linklater (1st)
Not only is the 12 year shooting schedule an impressive narrative feat, but went a long way in capturing the authenticity of life growing up. What once felt as a gimmick, worked brilliantly as a narrative device that works as an engaging and relatable experience. At times, it felt like I was back in elementary school, reliving some of the most tense experience of growing up. It’s that well produced. It helps that Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke both deliver stunning and real performances. Definitely a special film.
Director: Christopher Nolan (2nd)
Here’s the best example of what makes Christopher Nolan such a narrative genius and able to convey his uniquely structured chronologically ordered stories. Memento is entirely creative and works on a different level than most narratives, using devices such as black-and-white and reversing the structure to convey and idea or message. Guy Pierce’s character and his subsequent tragedy is told through the most effective lens imaginable and the emotion and understanding come at such a cerebral pace that the payoff is magnificent. One of the most clever films ever.
Raging Bull (1980)
Director: Martin Scorsese (2nd)
Raging Bull is up-and-down a masterfully made film that hits on every aspect of the production. It’s not my favorite Scorsese, but it’s undoubtedly his best directed as the intensity and passion never ceases throughout the film and Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Jake Lamotta feels like a ticking time bomb, never knowing it when he’ll go off. The message at the heart of the film is so meaningful while exposing the dangers of a person like LaMotta. It’s a great Schrader script, but Michael Chapman’s cinematography is some of the best ever.