12 Angry Men (1957), Sidney Lumet

One of the best debut films in the history of cinema, Sidney Lumet’s 1957 12 Angry Men, a hymn to the voice of reason amidst a cacophony of furious prejudice, questions the very nature of the American judicial system in its pursuit of justice and its relation to the truth.

twelve-angry-men2On a sweltering, Summer day, the twelve members of a jury retire to deliberate on a murder case. What at first seems irrefutable to nearly all of them, i.e. the defendant’s guilt, soon dissipates into thin air. Rain starts to fall, cooling the day, as juror # 8, slowly convinces the others of the possible reasonable doubt in the case. As ambiguous as it can be, we never find out the truth of the matter. We are left with the not guilty verdict and we’re not sure it is the best one. Continue reading

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Milos Forman

An iconic tale of rebellion and stubbornness, Milos Forman’s 1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, challenges notions of psychic normality and deviant behaviour, while illustrating the explosive meeting of an unstoppable force with an immovable object, and its aftermath.

one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest-2What is the difference between the group therapy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and a typical dinner party across the land? Are the anxiety and neurosis shown in the film really worlds apart from the ones displayed by ‘normal’, well-adjusted individuals? There is no doubt that R. P. McMurphy is not crazy. More pertinently, is anyone in the group really insane? Billy has a self-esteem problem, but who hasn’t? Cheswick has an issue with self-control. Who somehow does not? And Harding suffers from a form of emasculation. Well, tell me about it… Continue reading

Apocalypto (2006), Mel Gibson

A morality play disguised as an action movie, Mel Gibson’s 2006 Apocalypto, which courts controversy by raising issues on race, religion and politics, is mesmerizing as a visual spectacle and deeply satisfying in its depiction of familial love and sociopolitical opportunism.

apocalypto-2The Spanish Conquistadors have anchored their ships and are now approaching the beach, bringing with them the greatest gift God has given to mankind: Christ on the cross. Jaguar Paw and his pursuers stop on their feet, exhausted, and, mystified, stare at the horizon, unable to comprehend what those men and their floating vessels mean. These bloodthirsty savages, with their horrific sacrifices, have plenty to learn from Christian piety and the idea of original sin – a superior civilization is ready to enlighten them. Is it really?! What an utter nonsense! Continue reading