Sunday, July 26, 2015


This week's spotlight is on a director who is a Oscar winner, BAFTA award winner , voted best director by the National Board of Review and the first woman to win the directing category at the Saturn Awards : Kathryn Bigelow. 
She has directed 9 feature films and has directed a few short films as well. Today I will highlight three of her films. Two are lesser known movies but the third one is well known and one of the best films of the past several years. 

Near Dark (1987) - Kathryn's second full-length feature film mixes many different type of films into one :Horror, romance, western and Vampire.  In the film, a young man meets a drifter who after spending a night with her,is bitten on the next by her. He slowly finds out he has become a vampire and after meeting back up with her, he finds that she has with a roaming gang of vampires that want him to join them. 

This film is a beautifully shot film that is at times both erotic and frightening, Bigelow is able to give what could have been a terrible Twlight-ish movie genuine emotion and frights. The cast more than hold up their end as Bill Paxton steals scenes as the anti-social psycho Severen. If you are a horror fan,vampire fan or just a fan of good films, watch Near Dark.

Strange Days (1995) - Strange Days is what a lot of people would say is a gritty film. Set in the future, devices that can record people's memories and the physical sensations into little disks.  Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) is given a disc that could lead to a vast conspiracy involving police murdering a famous rapper. It's up to him and Mace (Angela Bassett) to help unravel and understand what happened.

This film has been described as "tour de force" as it is a thriller that does not let up. Bigelow is able to craft characters that are at once sleazy and brutal yet you root for them to be saved and save others. Also it is nice to see a African American character not as the victim but as a tough woman who has to save the man. Angela Bassett does a terrfic job of conveying that strength without losing her character's fierceness and vulnerability. A voyeurist thriller with a view of the future that does not let you take a moment to relax. 

Zero Dark Thirty (2011) - Kathryn's last movie she has directed as of now is also her best. The story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, we see it from the prospective of Maya (Jessica Chastain) , a cia agent in Pakistan. We go through the 10 years of looking for him as Maya's sole focus is on finding Bin Laden. 

It is my favorite film of Bigelow's as she shows us the dark side of the war on terror and the price it takes. Also the scene of Seal Team Six's raid on the Bin Laden compound is visual striking and one of the most intense scenes in movie history. Even though you know how the story ends, you can not take your eyes away from any of it thanks to Bigelow's direction and the outstanding performance of Chastain. "I'm the motherfucker who found this place. Sir." Also tons of outstanding cameos from Chris Pratt, Mark Duplass, John Barrowman to Kyle Chandler help elevate the film as well.  This is the rare film that will have you thinking about it long after it has ended. 

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