Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Paul Thomas Anderson Says 'Edge Of Tomorrow' Is "F*cking Great," Also Loves 'Grand Budapest Hotel'  Paul Thomas Anderson Says 'Edge Of Tomorrow' Is "F*cking Great," Also Loves 'Grand Budapest Hotel' 10 Unaired TV Pilots By A-List Directors That We Want To See 10 Unaired TV Pilots By A-List Directors That We Want To See 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners Watch: Tom Hardy & Gary Oldman Face Off In The First Trailer For Thriller ‘Child 44’ Watch: Tom Hardy & Gary Oldman Face Off In The First Trailer For Thriller ‘Child 44’ The 10 Best Films Of 2005 The 10 Best Films Of 2005 Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

The Films Of Ridley Scott: A Retrospective

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist June 7, 2012 at 12:00PM

Ridley Scott is, in some circles anyhow, a god. Practically treated as royalty with laudatory genuflection from certain film enthusiasts — generally genre fetishists — he has turned in two unimpeachable cinema touchstones, "Blade Runner" and "Alien," plus a few other arguable modern semi-classics including "Black Hawk Down" and "Gladiator." But his track record overall? Scott's batting average isn't exactly amazing across the board, and while he has major peaks, his work can be frustratingly uneven for someone who is clearly and masterfully talented. While a craftsman of technically marvelous and grand spectacle cinema, his films can also be inordinately soulless and have become increasingly so with each film (Sigourney Weaver famously said that Scott paid more attention to the props and extraterrestrials than the actors on "Alien," but somehow that picture still worked).
22
White Squall

"White Squall" (1996)
A sort of proto-"The Perfect Storm," Scott headed out to seas for the second time for this based-in-fact tale of a group of 1960s high school boys (including Scott Wolf, Ryan Phillippe, Balthazar Getty and Jeremy Sisto) taken out to sea by a schoolmaster and skipper (Jeff Bridges). And as you might expect, Scott fills the film with enough detail that you'd feel reasonably confident about taking out a ship yourself, while Bridges delivers a typically excellent, understated performance that steers clear from Ahab-like cliches. The storm footage, too, is as impressive as you'd imagine. But Todd Robinson's script leans too heavily on coming-of-age cliches, and the young cast never quite rise to Bridges' level, which makes the stormy climax feel somewhat unengaging, and what comes before it frankly a little dull. [C-]

G.I. Jane

"G.I. Jane" (1997)
After demonstrating a great empathy and understanding for strong female characters (a rarity from male filmmakers), Scott's 1997 misfire was trying to recapture the rah-rah girl power spirit of his groundbreaking "Thelma & Louise." Results, as they say, may vary. The elation that made "Thelma & Louise" was gone, instead replaced with a wafer-thin action plot by David Twohy (something about a woman being added to an elite combat team and missing nuclear materials), an unconvincing "gritty" turn by Demi Moore in the title role (shaved head and all), and an unrelentingly grim atmosphere, both thematically and photographically. It is interesting, however, to see Viggo Mortensen, in an unshowy role, impart even the most frivolous character with earth-shattering importance. Beyond that however, this thing is a major grind. [C-]

Gladiator

"Gladiator" (2000)
This is one that continues to baffle us a little. Certainly not bad by any stretch, it's hard to believe that back in 2000, this was an outright phenomenon, becoming a box office sensation, making a star out of Russell Crowe and earning a number of Academy Award nominations and wins, including Best Picture. Looking back on it now, it's an impressive and accomplished piece of entertainment but hardly the stuff of a Best Picture winner (though, they usually never are). That said, there is something to be said about the power of the film and Scott's filmmaking prowess that can still draw us in, and make us watch it to the end even during the most casual of channel surfing sessions. [B]

Hannibal

"Hannibal" (2001)
Ten years after "The Silence of the Lambs," it was time to cannibalize (yes, we went there) the popularity of Hannibal Lecter, but after a bumpy development which saw the departure of 'Lambs' director Jonathan Demme and star Jodie Foster, the property fell into the lap of Scott, who proceeded to shove this lump of shit down our throats like it were a Death's Head moth and we were a size 14. The mad glee and playfulness of Hannibal, made famous by Anthony Hopkins in 'Lambs,' was replaced by an over the top, highly stylized freakshow that included a (smartly) uncredited Gary Oldman cutting off his own face and talking about drinking orphan's tears, and a bored Ray Liotta eating his own brain. It's even worse than it sounds. [F]

This article is related to: Features, Ridley Scott, The Essentials, Prometheus, Alien, Blade Runner


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates