Here’s what is essentially my top five films of all time. while films like The Godfather, The Dark Knight and Shawshank Redemption will always be what I consider the best films ever made, these five dazzling movies will always be my personal favorites. It also occurred to me that every article I have written so far is usually negative, so here is a positive review of the five films you have to go out and see right this minute.

5. Persepolis

The 2007 film about a young girls life growing up in 70’s Iran charts her adventures through the Islamic revolution and later her migration to Vienna.The beautiful animation mixed with the stark black and white makes the film a visual treat as well as the fantastic voice talent and soundtrack make Persepolis not only one of my favorite animated films, but one of my all time most beloved films. Its depiction of life in Iran is often grim, yet the films humor and warmth make it an interesting and ultimately uplifting affair.

4.  C.R.A.Z.Y.

This fantastic film charts the early years of Young Zac’s often turbulent childhood and transition in to manhood. Set in 1960’s and 70’s France, the relationship Zac has with his dearly loved Mother and Father is at the centre of the plot, his rivalry with his brother Raymond and his deep confusion over his own sexuality propels the films story into funny, sad and sometimes dark places. The brilliant soundtrack also captures the vibrancy of the time and watching Zac go through the different eras of music is intriguing. The direction by Jean-Marc Vallee is genius, allowing the viewer to be completely emotionally invested in Zac’s flawed family.

3. Drive

Now here is a movie I have not stopped talking about since I saw it, I am now a believer in Ryan Gosling, fucking hallelujah. The films soundtrack alone guarantees it a space on this list, as well as the powerhouse performances from Carey Mulligan and the Gosmeister. The film follows a stunt drives/ getaway driver as he navigates the dark underworld of L.A, but when a beautiful young woman and her son walk into his life, he is forced to do everything he can to save them; this includes occasionally beating people to a bloody pulp and driving the shit out of some cars.  See it!

2. Children of Men

This was my number one film for a long time. Its grim tone, attention to detail and often heart pounding scenes leave you both drained and exhilarated. Alfonso Cuaron’s perfect direction and style really set the film apart from other dystopian future films, the several minute shots are also mind blowing. The concept itself is also both intriguing and horrifying, that in a world where babies are no longer being born, the world has gone insane due pure hopelessness. I usually find Clive Owens acting style wooden, but he really fits the role of unassuming hero here. If you like this also give Cuaron’s earlier film Y tu Mama Tambien a watch too.


The film that started my raging love of all things Joy Division and also ignited my hero worship of the tragic Ian Curtis. Control is set in late seventies Manchester, the city on the eve of its musical renaissance. Young Ian decides to make a band and begins his long spiral into both success and crippling depression. Torn between his wife and another lover and fighting a losing battle with epilepsy,  all while throwing everything he has into his thrilling performances with his band Joy Division, he slowly begins to lose control. A marvellously shot film, the choice for it to be in black and white really adds to the sombre tone of the film, coupled with Sam Riley’s incredible performance as the troubled singer puts Control as my number one film of all time. Oh, and the soundtrack aint bad either…


Lee Smith


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