Outstandingly Visually Unique Movies – The Top 6
I’ve seen a fair few movies in my time (over 500 or so at last count), and not much excites me as a movie buff more than when a director decides to create a certain visual style within a film, a style that is inherently unique, a look that has never been achieved before. As the ease of which technology is able to produce top quality CGI increases, my hope is that this technology is used to think outside of convention, and we’ll continue to see more films like the ones mentioned below released. So, in no order, here is a list of the movies that have stunned me by way of visuals, cinematography, camera work, lighting and set design, and I really think I’ll never see another movie like them made again.
Baron Munchausen is a 1960 Czech adventure/fantasy movie that looks incredible beyond belief. I can tell that Terry Gilliam is a huge fan, based on the fact he remade this in the late 80s, and the very unusual animation style of his Monty Python work is lifted from the ridiculously cool visuals on show here. The way the real actors mix with the drawn backgrounds….
David Lynch’s first feature, four years in the making, possibly the most ‘industrial’ movie ever made, completely bizarre and nonsensical, and just plain frightening. I’m still scared to learn what the baby was made from.
Jigoku has perhaps the most masterful use of lighting and darkness ever seen in film history. Made by a cheap Japanese exploitation company, the horrific last third, set in Hell itself, does make the movie, but the opening acts still make use of Technicolor well, and the almost gothic shadows foretell the later grisliness.
An extremely quirky musical made on the cheap by the Elfman brothers in 1980, Forbidden Zone is probably one of the weirdest movies I’ve seen. The music is amazing, and the set design looks like it all drawn onto cardboard, but that just makes it look cool as hell.
The Passion of Joan d’Arc
Astoundingly made in 1928, The Passion of Joan d’Arc is a movie of strange, off-kilter angles, very few wide shots, a lot of close ups, and fantastically expensive set design that is rarely seen because of said camera shots. Oh, and there’s only perhaps the best acting performance ever from Maria Falconetti.
I did lie a little earlier, I’ve saved the best until last. I could have literally put any of Tarkovsky’s movies in here, but I thought I’d stick with the one that resonated most with me. All I really need to say is that Tarkovsky was also a brilliant photographer.