Yes I like action flicks, spy thrillers, heist/caper movies, and zombie movies. There’s nothing quite as diverting as a great action movie that keeps me riveted to the edge of my seat. They’re awesome. My favorite movies fall into these categories (such as Ocean’s Eleven, 28 Days Later, 300 — evidently movies with numbers in the title, haha!).
While these are entertaining stories and I would watch them again and again, I actually like another kind of movie even more… it’s not really a genre as a much as a methodology: I love movies that tell a story in a different way; I love movies that break the pattern and use innovative storytelling techniques.
Here’s a list of great movies that just do that.
- Memento: this movie is basically told in reverse. It blew my mind.
- Suicide Kings: the main character is tied to a chair for most of the movie, and yet he drives the action forward. Love it!
- Russian Ark: admittedly, this movie is hard to watch because it’s an hour and a half long and filmed entirely in one take, but it is so powerful!
- Inception: there are aspects of this movie that are weird and annoying (as cleverly explained in this Honest Trailer) but overall I liked that the move was different.
- The Matrix: this movie blew my mind. I caught it in the theater and went back the next day watch it again. The story was good but — to the point of this blog post — the groundbreaking camera work made the story so much more compelling.
- The Betrayed: was a low-budget movie that was really well acted and, with the exception of the first scene, took place entirely in one room. I think it’s hard to pull that off in a movie (and certainly this created plot holes) but overall it was still an engaging movie.
- Glengarry Glen Ross: aside from being greatest movie of all time, has a very small cast who mostly talk to each other (no other action), and there are very few sets and it all takes place over a period of less than 18 hours. This makes sense because it was a play first.
- Nick of Time and 88 Minutes: these were two attempts at making a “real time” movie and both of them fell short. But I applaud the effort. Probably the best real time movie (although it’s certainly not billed as such) was Crank. Although the movie gets silly at points, it does a good job of making you feel that you’re in the moment, living the situation with the main character.
I realize there are probably others to add to this list. Cloud Atlas looks like one of them, although I haven’t seen it yet.
I love movies that tell a great story, have lots of action and intrigue, and surprise me with an unexpected twist. But I particularly love movies that tell their story in a unique way. Yeah, most of these movies aren’t award winners and most of them aren’t popcorn-and-beer movies that you’d watch with friends, but if you want to stretch how you define “storytelling” then these are great movies to watch.