Friday, 3 February 2012

Buried Treasure: The Most Criminally Underrated Movies-Part 1

What are the most underrated, under-viewed, unappreciated films of all time?


Point Blank (1967)                                    

Dir: John Boorman

Starring: Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson.


Question: What film launched John Boorman as a director, gave Lee Marvin his most diverse role, and spawned an era of Unknown/Taken-esque  testosterone thrillers?

Look no further....
A stylistic homage from American genre cinema to the European avant-garde? An "F-you" to mainstream cinematic structure? All of the above. Lee Marvin boasts the testosterone of a man in constant frenzy, forsaking dough, dames, and danger in the name of revenge in this stellar classic!

Betrayed by his best friend and the woman he loves, Walker is out for clarity, redemption, and ultimate revenge. Typical premise, sure, but it's the arty sensibility of this film that represents the seismic shift from its source novel.. Shot in the blazing LA sun, it is simply one of the most beautiful films ever made. It paved the way for the style-obsessed 1970s violence-orgies like Coffy and Rolling Thunder. Thus, the film is a key text in understanding where the likes of Pulp Fiction spawned from. Seriously, it all connects....Ask Quentin Tarantino or Steven Soderberg (the latter of the two is so enamoured that he recorded guest commentary for the dvd) how important this one is!

There are no answers in this mystery, only more questions. The disappearance of Walker is as shocking as the disappearance of the film from the popular consciousness.


Hardcore (1979)

Dir: Paul Schrader

Starring: George C. Scott

"Oh my God! That's my daughter!"-Would these be your words if you had just seen your daughter star in a sleazy adult film?

This is one of the 1970s (ahem) dirtier diamonds. Tough on the outside, but passionate at the core, this movie is shockingly likable and genuinely earnest in its sentiments about family, loneliness and the vast changes within the American landscape.

You may recognise writer/director Paul Schrader (he is adapting his screenplay from his brother Leonard's novel) as the writer of Taxi Driver. Turning his attention once more to the corruption of the average American Joe The Plumber-type, this film details the plight of a conservative Mid-Western father who's daughter goes missing. Don't worry, the daughter is the shape of a drug-soaked porn star.

With the help of a virtuous call girl, the family man ventures through liberal LA's moral abyss to turn the "innocence corrupted" film ideal on its head.
Scott Weinberg called Hardcore a "stress-headache of a movie...that you can't turn off."


The Woodsman (2004)

Dir:  Nicole Kassell

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Kyra Segwick, Eve, Mos Def.


Speaking of "innocence corrupted", how is this for a headline-"Rapper Mos Def steals the show in a film about a paedophile."

Yes, the most controversial entry to this list is The Woodsman, the 2004 indie shocker from debutant director Nicole Kassell (who went on to make terrible chick flick A Little Bit of Heaven!!!) that saw Kevin Bacon play Walter, a man trying to reform his life after a 12 year prison sentence for child molestation.

The film's main question regards mercy. Is Walter an evil man or simply a sick one? Seen as a monster by his employer and a scene-stealing police officer played by Mos Def, Walter can initially only confide in his therapist (played by indie legend Michael Shannon).

Though Walter seems benevolent and finds tenderness in the arms of a trouble female co-worker, one can't escape the dreadful sense that, as Walter himself admits, the statistics are in favour of him falling into old ways.

Sensationally shot and composed, this film finds horror in the smallest of moments.

You will rarely sit through scenes so affecting.

That guy used to rap?!


Thanks for reading!

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