Tuesday, 14 May 2013

1. Rian Johnson

Johnson shot to fame in 2005 with his high school come film noir flick, Brick, wowed the Jury at Sundance. Johnson's debut displayed his ability to mold together two completely different genres and create one fantastic film. It wasn't only his ability to mold but also Johnson has the ability to tell a great story and visualize it with ease. The dialogue in Brick echos the novels of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, while the back drop looked more like a John Hughes film. Johnson followed Brick with The Brothers Bloom, starring Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody as two con men on one final job. If Brick should what Johnson could do, then The Brothers Bloom demonstrated what Johnson shouldn't do. It didn't have the intelligence or quality that made his debut such a unique film. For his third film, Johnson looked to a short script he had been playing about with for over a decade, Looper. Looper reunited Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Johnson for the first time since Brick. Johnson's time travel film had Levitt facing off his future self, played by Bruce Willis, with some immense action scenes on the way. Looper may not have been what everyone expected and some people enjoyed picking out plot holes rather then enjoy the film but it demonstrated the promise that Johnson had shown in Brick. Give it a few years and it won't be long till Johnson becomes massive.

2. Shane Carruth
Shane Carruth can lay claim to one of have making one of the best science fiction films of the last decade. Carruth's debut Primer is so uniquely brilliant that it is difficult to describe without pouring out endless praise for Carruth. Primer centres around a group of engineers who attempt to build a machine that reduces mass yet somehow create a time machine. To explain the rest of the film would take away the film's surprises but in all honesty, the intelligence that Carruth puts into the film makes it difficult to explain exactly what happens. If you know someone who has seen Primer and they say they understood it, they are lying. The feat is made far more impressive when you learn that Carruth made the film for a micro budget of just $7,000 and went onto win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Carruth returned to our screens this year after a long haitus in which the director tried to build up funds for his next film, Upstream Color. Judging from the trailer the film is just as intelligent as Primer and thoroughly ambiguous. Without doubt, Carruth is one of the most intelligent and unique directors working in film today.  

3. Mike Cahill 

Much like Rian Johnson can lay claim to the fame of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's now immense fame, so can Mike Cahill for the attention that Brit Marling is attracting these days. Cahill's debut and first collaboration with Marling was back in 2004 with Boxers and Ballerinas, in which Marling shared writing and directing credit with Cahill. Boxers and Ballerinas takes place over two years in which the film explores the conflict between Cuba and America, through the eyes of four children sharing parallel lives. Yet it wasn't till Another Earth in 2011 that the partnership of Marling and Cahill really took off. Another Earth told the intimate story of Rhoda, played by Marling, in which a traumatic event alters her life and the only chance of salvation is winning a ticket to a new parallel Earth. The concept is as inspiring as the final film which manages to pull of such an epic idea with a great feeling of intimacy. Marling has gone to shine in The Sound of my Voice but whatever Cahill decides to follow up with will no doubt be as epically intimate.     

4. Jeff Nichols

Having written and directed two films starring Michael Shannon and Matthew McConaguhey, Nichols is will on his way to becoming one of Hollywood's hottest directors. Nichols made a name for himself with Shotgun Stories in 2007, in which Michael Shannon plays Son whose family falls apart after the death of their father. It wasn't till 2011 though, till Nichols really got to show what he was capable of with his psychological thriller, Take Shelter. Again, starring Michael Shannon as Curtis an everyman character who has hallucinations and dreams of an apocalyptic storm. The film boasts some of the most beautiful visuals of any film in the last few years with some immensely strong performances from Shannon and Jessica Chastain, as Curtis' wife. Nichols has followed Take Shelter with Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey, and centres around McConaughey's Mud and escaped convict hiding out on the Mississippi river. After reading some of the reviews of Mud, whatever Nichols does next, it will undoubtedly be worth watching.

5. David Michod

Michod's 2010 Aussie gangster film, Animal Kingdom, is easily one of the greatest films, if not the greatest film to have come from down under in the last few decades. Animal Kingdom tells the story of J, played by newcomer James Frecheville, who after the death of his mother moves in with his family, a group of bank robbers. It doesn't take long till J. Michod's debut can claim the fame for Joel Edgerton's rise through the Hollywood ranks and Ben Mendelson's presence in the likes of The Dark Knight Rises and The Place Beyond the Pines. It also gained Jacki Weaver's first ever Oscar nomination as her portrayal of the families' fierce matriarch. Michod follows up from his strong debut this year with The Rover, set in a futuristic Australia in which Michod regular Guy Pierce attempts ot get back his last possesion from a gang of dangerous criminals. Pierce is assisted by Robert Pattinson's Rey but don't expect this to be some teen flick if it packs half the velocity of Animal Kingdom then Hollywood will keep a keen eye on Michod for the forthcoming future.

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