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Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday's Top 5... Movies Based on Graphic Novels (That Aren't About Super Heroes)

#5: Ghost World

Dry as a bone, Ghost World, Terry Zwigoff's adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name, is about a teenage girl who is very smart, but maybe not as mature as she is intelligent, and the breakdown in the relationship with her best friend as their interests begin to diverge. It's a funny, complex look at that weird transition between adolescence and adulthood, and it features great performances from Thora Birch, Steve Buscemi, and Scarlett Johnasson

#4: Old Boy

Based on the manga of the same name, Old Boy is a violent, intricately assembled film from South Korean master Park Chan-wook. The second entry in his "Vengeance Trilogy," Old Boy is Park at his most narratively fascinating and visually captivating.

#3: Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi's adaptation of her own biographical graphic novel is one of the best films of the last decade. The story centers on Satrapi's experience of the Iranian Revolution when she was a child and adolescent, and in her telling she expresses both her inherent love for the nation she was born into, as well as her disappointment and anger at how that country was set back socially by the religious extremists who took control. It's a complex, beautifully rendered masterpiece.

#2: Blue is the Warmest Color

Based on the graphic novel by Julie Maroh, Abdellatif Kechiche's film caused a small-scale explosion when it premiered at Cannes in 2013, where it won the Palme d'Or. An emotionally raw, intensely intimate exploration of the life of its main character, and in particular her first experience with love, Blue is the Warmest Color is a wonderful film, even if it was one mired in controversy at the time of its release.

#1: A History of Violence

The first time I saw A History of Violence, I liked it but I'm not sure I fully "got" it. The second time I saw it, it blew me away as I gained a greater understanding of what David Cronenberg is doing with his adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. This exploration of society's contradictory view of violence as something to be abhorred when inflicted by the "bad guy" but cheered and celebrated when unleashed by the "good guy," and of how society's veneer of order masks a continuing capacity for the violence with which is was built through conquest and colonialism, is in my opinion Cronenberg's best film to date.


Wendell Ottley said...

I absolutely love all of your top 4 picks. Haven't seen Ghost World, yet. The two movies I'd have trouble keeping off my list are Road to Perdition and Sin City.

Norma Desmond said...

Road to Perdition made my shortlist.

Sin City I haaaaaaaate.