Moviegeek5: Ridley Scott
Sir Ridley Scott was born into an army family and spent much of his childhood in the industrial north of England whose dark and towering buildings inspired the look of one of his most famous films, Blade Runner (1982). He developed an early liking for the science fiction that has marked some of his greatest successes as a filmmaker, and studied at the Royal College of Art in London, the same place where his younger brother, and fellow film director, Tony Scott (Enemy of the State, 1998) would get his degree. Scott broke into the cinematic world with his feature film début, The Duellists (1977), a historical drama starring Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, and Albert Finney, based on a short story by Joseph Conrad. Since then there has been no stopping him, with succesful films in each decade and in multible genres. Scott has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Director three times and once for Best Picture with his latest film The Martian (2015) (see below). He has yet to bring home a golden statue, but the soon-to-be 80-year-old shows no signs of stopping and is currently working on a sequel to his Alien film Prometheus (2012), so there may yet be a winning chance for him in the future.
We have selected five films that cover the span of Ridley Scott’s career so far. Let us know what your favourite Ridley Scott films are in the comments below!
The genre that Ridley Scott is most associated with is science fiction. It began with Alien in 1979, the young director’s second feature film. The film introduced the world to one of cinema’s most kick-ass heroines in the shape of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, as well as cinema’s most iconic antagonists in the form of H.R. Giger’s classic design for the eponymous creature. An intense film that captures the immense vastness and emptiness of space as well as the claustrophobic confines of a space craft. The Alien franchise has so far spawned four additional installments with a fifth on the way and catapulted Ridley Scott’s career forward.
Thelma and Louise (1991)
Among the moody and masculine movies of Scott, is this surprisingly feminist road movie, which received five Oscar nominations, winning for Best Screenplay But then again, how can a movie with two strong female characters surprise you, when the director is the one who gave us Ripley, one of the first female action heroes. With Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis turning in some of the best performances of the careers, the movie re-imagined the buddy movie as Thelma and Louise takes you on a road trip, that is bound to stay with you long after. Despite the quite long running time, the story keeps you gripped as it takes you further and further toward the now iconic ending. Tackling strong themes, great action sequences with big pay-off and well-written characters, there is no wonder why it has been a big influence and is now considered a classic.
After a slump in the 1990s, Ridley Scott returned to form with this film and once again became a director to be bargained with. Gladiator revived an ill reputed subgenre and once more made ancient Rome interesting for filmmakers. With a young Russell Crowe on the brink of the height of his career, a great story, and impeccable direction, Gladiator is one of the absolute highpoints of Scott’s career.
Robin Hood (2010)
This 2010 adventure film marked the reunion of Scott and Crowe in a historical setting. 10 years after the highly succesful Gladiator, expectations for Robin Hood were high. However, this is no Gladiator 2.0 and it isn’t trying to be. Crowe might be a bit old for the classic character, but Scott creates a wonderfully earthen English medieval world and makes the brilliant casting choice of having Cate Blanchett play Lady Marion. A grown-up and serious Robin Hood, but an entertaining and solid adventure film.
The Martian (2015)
Scott’s faithful adaptation of the bestselling book by the same name, turned out to be a perfect match for both the director and his leading star, Matt Damon, who received great praise for his performance. Scott is renowned for his innovative movies, but The Martian has an old-school feel about it, a good old-fashioned survival movie with its hero struggling against nature. Even though the nature is martian. With almost two and a half running time, you could fear to be bored half way through, but The Martian takes you so expertly through your entire emotional range, that you are way to busy to be bored. The movie is very straight-forward, especially for a Sci-Fi movie, and is surprisingly funny and a very warm movie about being human under extreme conditions.