Continuing my week of science fiction, here are the independent picks for the top 5 sci-fi films of the decade so far. Sorry that’s such a mouth full.
Attack the Block
I knew very little about Attack the Block when I took my father to see it during a week long run at my local movie theater. He generally doesn’t enjoy science fiction films, but he’s usually up to see smaller films when they pop up. Having only seen a trailer and read a couple reviews I didn’t know what to expect here. Needless to say, sometimes the best thing is trusting your gut, because this movie was all kinds of awesome. From the young, smart-ass cast, the quick one liners, low-budget but creative use of special effects, and one of the best mixes of comedy and science fiction ever made.
Even though most of the films on this list are sort of niche films, Melancholia is from eccentric director Lars Von Trier, known for films like Nymphomaniac and Antichrist. Needless to say, his jump into the science fiction genre is more interesting than downright entertaining. It involves a wedding that’s taking place before a giant planet collides with the Earth. At times, it can be a little heavy on the melodrama, but overall it’s a beautifully made film with some of the most arresting visuals in the genre. Less patient viewers might want to skip this one.
Safety Not Guaranteed
I don’t use the word often to describe sci-fi films but Safety Not Guaranteed is just pure quirky. It follows the story of 3 journalists who try and find out more about a man who supposedly invented a time machine. The dramady, through a small budget, wound up being one of the finest films of the year. It has hilarious dialogue, a keen sense of adventure and one of my favorite endings in recent memory. Safety Not Guaranteed should appeal to genre die hards and new comers alike.
Under the Skin
Like Melancholia, Under the Skin isn’t exactly a film for casual audiences. That’s not to say adventurous viewers might not get into the cerebral proceedings, but I do give a word of caution if you can’t get into the weird. Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who comes to Earth in an attempt to understand our species. Through trippy visuals, wonderfully weird performances and a darkly ambiguous nature, Under the Skin becomes one of the most daring and original films of last year. It is one that divided many audiences, but certainly won me over in the end.
Last, but far from least, Snowpiercer is probably the film I’d recommend to everyone, sci-fi aficionado or otherwise. It’s a mostly American film done through the eyes of South Korean virtuoso Bong Joon-ho. It follows the story of a man (Chris Evans), who attempts to lead a revolution aboard a class divided train that now holds the worlds entire population. The train is on a constant loop around an ice aged ridden Earth and never stops moving. With heart-pounding action, wild performances, lovely cinematography and an obvious love for the genre, Snowpiercer hits every right note a sci-fi action film should.