FILM: THE FIVE BEST FILMS

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The Independent Culture
1

The Straight Story (U)

David Lynch steadies the wheel and dabs on the brakes for this warm, folksy road-movie with a difference. Richard Farnsworth is the genial old salt heading Wisconsin way atop his little green tractor.

2

The Limey (8)

Steven Soderbergh's cinematic jigsaw amounts at times to a sort of soulful, art-house Austin Powers. Terence Stamp headlines as the sour Sixties hangover at large in Nineties LA.

3

The World Is Not Enough (2)

Leaping off a dazzling pre-credits sequence comes the best Bond in decades. Pierce Brosnan has his hands full tackling Sophie Marceau's lissom heiress and a shaven-headed Robert Carlyle.

4

Fight Club (8)

David (Seven) Fincher's anarchistic roller-coaster of a movie is flawed but fascinating; almost Ali-like in its loud-mouthed wit and quicksilver-cool. Ed Norton and Brad Pitt play their roles at top volume.

5

Cinema Paradiso (5)

Ah, Paradiso. Oh, love-song to cinema. Ah, cute nipper, loveable- grump projectionist; bumbling rustics, sugary sentiment. Oh, go see it, why don't you?

THE FIVE BEST REVIVALS

Strangers On a Train (Thur 23, 8.50pm, NFT)

Perhaps the most quintessential Hitchcock picture - a dashing, populist thriller with dark Freudian trappings. Farley Granger is the wholesome tennis ace who inadvertently criss-crosses murders with Robert Walker's psychotic playboy.

2

It's a Wonderful Life (Wed 22, 8.45pm, Riverside)

The Yuletide film par excellence, with James Stewart as the heroic everyman suffering a crisis of faith amid his snowy, picket-fence hometown. Truth be told, Capra's classic is more complex, more melancholic than legend would have us believe.

3

Mouchette (Thur 30, 9pm, NFT)

Robert Bresson's stark, lyrical tale of a neglected teen run wild amid the towns and forests of a fairytale rural France. Lynne Ramsay lifted the ending for her own (very Bressonian) Ratcatcher.

4

The General (Sun 9, 7.45pm, Riverside)

Seventy-odd years on, Buster Keaton's train-chase outing stands out as the silent era's finest hour - a sustained stretch of comedic genius which simply cries out to be seen with an audience.

5

The Ice Storm (Sat 8, 8.45pm, NFT)

The Watergate crisis rumbles as an ominous counterpoint to a more intimate meltdown in Ang Lee's sculpted, delicate, perfectly pitched essay on suburban malaise. All this and Christina Ricci in a Dick Nixon mask.

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