Director Showcase – Ridley Scott
With the release of what could well be the Science-Fiction film of the year looming, Tom decided to take a look at Ridley Scott’s previous films to see if Prometheus can live up to the standards set before it.
Ever since his feature film debut in 1977, Ridley Scott has been the creative force behind a number of exceptional films in a variety of genres, many of which are regarded as classics that are a must see for any film fan. His movies often garner critical acclaim and commercial success as well as countless Oscar nominations and I have high hopes that Promethues will soon join the ranks of his essential films. Despite his excellent track record, Scott’s films are often released in a number of different versions as studios have the tendency to interfere with his vision. It certainly says something when even with interference from studios his films are capable of reaching a standard that most other directors could only dream of.
In space, no one can hear you scream - has there ever been a more perfect tagline? The definitive sci-fi horror, Alien is a masterpiece in suspense that spawned three sequels and a number of disappointing spin offs as well as terrifying everyone by bringing the world the infamous chest bursting sequence which has lost none of its impact over thirty years later. When a mining ship investigate an SOS signal coming from a seemingly deserted planet they inadvertently discover a new life form far deadlier than ever imagined. Many have tried to emulate the success of Alien but it is too near to perfection to be matched and arguably remains Scott’s finest hour. If Prometheus is anywhere as good as Alien is then I will be a very happy man indeed.
Black Hawk Down
When I first saw this impeccable retelling of the true story that largely went unnoticed in the Western world I was shocked to the core and decided never to see Black Hawk Down again. The fact that the events depicted not only happened but happened during my lifetime genuinely affected me and it was not until I sought out the book two years ago that I decided I was ready to see the film again. Boy was I glad I did as it is one of the best modern war films in existence, the accuracy of the events and graphic portrayal of the carnage in Somalia make this a very harrowing but compelling watch. I would say that the Blu-ray is an essential purchase for every film fan as the 5.1 Surround sound places you in the heart of the action like no other war movie. Ridley did a fantastic job of highlighting the unpredictability of modern warfare and took home two Oscars for his troubles.
Not content with just rebooting the Alien franchise, Ridley is in talks to direct a follow up of sorts to his other Science-fiction classic Blade Runner. Based on a Philip K. Dick novel the original was a fantastic vision of a futuristic world where replicants designed to be identical to humans are hunted down by Rick Deckard, a Blade Runner tasked with exterminating them. From the visually stunning set designs to the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, everything in Blade Runner serves to emphasise the otherworldy atmosphere of an impersonal future. Many of Scott’s films have been butchered by the studios and Blade Runner is no different but this allows for alternative interpretations as all versions are widely available and well worth seeking out.
Historical epics don’t come more impressive than this Oscar winning story of a Roman general betrayed by a corrupt soldier and forced into slavery. Russell Crowe is astounding as the persecuted soldier Maximus and Gladiator contains some of the most gruesome fight scenes in modern cinema with Scott’s vivid depictions of slaves fighting for their life in a Roman Colosseum. The special effects are awe-inspiring and the huge scale of the film is realised impeccably with the Colosseum digitally restored to transport the audience to a time long past. It is a testament to Ridley’s direction that amongst all the carnage he still provides viewers with a genuinely moving story.
Matchstick Men – Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell star in this razor sharp thriller about a pair of con artists on the verge of a life changing heist whose plans have to be altered when one of their daughters arrives on the scene.
Legend – This classic eighties fantasy has surfaced in a number of alternative versions due to the studio’s decision to cut and re-score a film that would have been best left untouched. It is difficult to pinpoint a definitive version although I do have a soft spot for the Tangerine Dream soundtrack.
The Duellists – Ridley’s feature film debut is a fascinating study of a lifelong grudge between two men during the Napoleonic age and their encounters during the war. This is a remarkable debut that highlights Scott’s ambition and talent as a director from day one.
American Gangster – Ridley Scott’s epic crime saga traces the life of a drug kingpin and the dedicated detective who is working with the narcotics team to bring down his crime ring. Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington are fantastic as the detective and drug lord respectively and despite its length the film flies by in no time at all
Hannibal – The Silence of the lambs was an incredibly hard film to follow and whilst Hannibal does not meet the standards of its forerunner it is still a gripping serial killer film that is worth a second look.
Films to Avoid:
G.I. Jane – In what is a fairly impeccable track record, this film stands out as a sore thumb amongst the rest of Ridley’s filmography. It’s not an awful film but Ridley is capable of far better.
About The Author – Tom Bielby
Long time film fan and aspiring film writer, Tom is a horror fanatic who wasted far too much time at University sitting through every film in the IMDB Top 250. He is partial to foreign films and cult cinema and would love to rid the world of people who rustle their popcorn during important scenes. He can be found on Twitter under the alias @filmbantha
Are you a fan of Mr Scott? Are you looking forward to Prometheus? Comment below…