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Back before they were the Coen Brothers,Joel and Ethan Coen decided to make amovie. That movie was 1984’s BloodSimple, and from it came a body of work to Telling the story of Texas barman Rayrival anything in post-war American (John Getz) and his affair with Abbeycinema. (Frances McDormand), the wife of his boss, Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya), the movie rather leisurely and moodily follows the gradual interweaving of its characters’ fates.
A far more intimate and contained film than the similarly London-set Hoskins starrer, The Long Good Friday, or Jordan’s more obviously shocking and internationallyDirector Neil Jordan’s successful, The Crying1986 London-set Game, Mona Lisa is athriller, Mona Lisa is woozy, bluesy movieprobably the finest film that perfectly capturesthat Jordan, and its the seedy, run-downstar, Bob Hoskins, feel of mid-80sever made. London.
When it comes to themore recentindependent wave ofthrillers, Reservoir Dogs A talky, bloody, pithy and(1991) is the undisputed pop culture-savvy piece ofdaddy of them all. Made work, Dogs gave Michaelfor a paltry $1.2m by Madsen, Steve Buscemiwriter and director and Tim Roth breakoutQuentin Tarantino, roles, revitalised theReservoir Dogs was an careers of both Harveyexocet missile across Keitel and Chris Penn,the bows of a and launched the love-complacent and overly him-or-loathe-him figure offormulaic Hollywood. Tarantino onto the world stage.
The story of themaking of RobertRodriguez’sMexican action However, that self-movie, El Mariachi mythologising(1992), with its shouldn’t detract fromless-than- what Rodriguezshoestring $7,000 managed to achievebudget, is an on a budget thatamazing story in probably wouldn’titself, and one cover the catering on abetter read in major American movieRodriguez’s own for more than a coupleself-mythologising of days.book, RebelWithout A Crew.
Famously described bydirector Bryan Singer as“Double Indemnity-meets-Rashomon”, The UsualSuspects firmly established Budgeted at a mere $6mdirector Singer, writer Chris dollars, Singer managed toMcQuarrie and star Kevin expertly manage hisSpacey as part of the resources to deliver aHollywood A-list after its picture that looked a darnOscar winning success in sight more expensive.1995.
Before theMatrixtrilogy madethemsynonymous with wire-fu, bullet- Made on atime and budget of $6mgnomic dollars andutterances imaginativelythat’d make shot byGeorge cinematographerLucas Bill Pope, Boundblush, the riffled heavily onWachowski the comic bookBrothers stylings of Frankwere simply Miller’s Sin Citythe two series, and inguys who many waysmade that paved the wayrather cool for its eventuallesbian adaptation somecrime film, years later.Bound.
While it may not behis most well-knownthriller – the Ocean’sfilms and Out Of Sight While it may not be his mostwin there – Stephen well-known thriller – theSoderbergh’s The Ocean’s films and Out OfLimey is arguably his Sight win there – Stephenmost efficient, lean Soderbergh’s The Limey isand effective stab at arguably his most efficient,the genre. lean and effective stab at the genre.
Opening the new However, the film’smillennium with a bang, most memorablethe Costa Del Crime-set character wasSexy Beast was a psychopath Donwelcome and stylish Logan. Brilliantlychange from the brought to life by Sirdepressingly Ben Kingsley, Loganmisogynistic rut that gave the film anBritish crime films had unpredictablefallen into after the energy and madesuccess of Lock, Stock the Academy Award-And Two Smoking winning actor hotBarrels and Snatch. property once again.
Based around the brilliant central conceit of a man who’s unable to form new memories, Memento is at once a classic memory loss film noir spliced with a revenge thriller, while atAfter his impressive, no- the same time serving asbudget debut, Following, a deconstruction of bothbowed in 1998, director character and narrative,Christopher Nolan with its backwardsgraduated to the big structure and hauntingleagues with the stunning depiction of a manMemento (2000). literally cut loose from cause and effect.
Featuring Hollywoodicon George Clooney inan unusually ruthlessleading role, director Using both minimalAnton Corbijn’s taut dialogue, stunning yeteuro thriller is a bleak haunting locations, and ayet hugely impressive very deliberate andfilm, which takes controlled camera style,Clooney out of his usual Corbijn evocativelycomfort zone and conjures a mood of darkteases out one of his secrets, hidden agendasmost affecting and and fatal betrayal that areimpressive forever lurking just out ofperformances. frame.