It's hard to come across a good independent movie to experiment with, and when you do it is an amazing and satisfying feeling you get when you have discovered something awesome to refer your friends to.
Below is, in my opinion, the top five alternative independent films. They are all made by private companies and all created with taste and quirk.
Number Five - A Scanner Darkly
In a dystopian future America has lost the war on drugs, making way for a plethora of new age narcotics which has made almost all of the population addicts. Robert Arctor, Codename: Fred, is an undercover narcotics officer whose identity is a blur, and goes deep into suspicion and confusion when he is assigned to monitor a group of addicts. Things seem simple enough until identity's start to blend together and friendships are put to the test.
Starring Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jnr, Winona Ryder and Woody Harrelson and directed by Richard Linklater.
Besides having an amazing plot and interesting characters, the stylised cell-shaded effect is one for the ages. A distinct and unique process was involved in creating this cel animated vision using motion capture and interpolated rotoscoping, to give a psychedelic and lucid dreaming interpretation of the films themes.
When all things in the world seem fairly coincidental, Tom Hansen challenges that and believes otherwise when he meets and falls in love with the new assistant at the office, Summer Finn. A slippery slide in contemporary relationships, the movie explores two sides to a couple that seem to be but might not be fated for true love and mutual acceptance for one and other.
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zoey Deschanel and directed by Marc Webb
With some movies, the cinematography and the art direction can create a feel for the movie, in this case a 1960's atmosphere is recreated through warm monochrome colours. Charming, that would be one way and one word to sum up this film another would be: a guys chick flick.
The film follows Donnie Darko, a mentally and emotionally unstable teenager with a good heart. While dealing with the pressures of high school, Donnie becomes spun into delusions of theoretical time travel, hallucinates about an imaginary man named Frank in a bunny suit and sleep walks, waking up far from home. When Frank tells Donnie to do violent things, he ends up changing his predetermined life and uncovering secrets of his community. Of course there are a couple of other happenings during, but spoiling them isn't a decent habit.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore and the late Patrick Swayze and directed by Richard Kelly.
A dimensional and abstract film from the lucid mind of Richard Kelly, the film palpitates a hypnotic yet uncomfortable setting which is aimed to question various themes, creating a empty cup from your mind in order for you to fill it up with a question or exclamation mark.
Whether its stuffing his pants with tater tots, helping his friend Pedro run for school president or learning some cool new dance moves, Napoleon seems to have a dull and vague look at life, or that could just be how his face looks. Nonetheless Napoleon doesn't let trend or the pressure of fitting in at school seem to affect how he lives his adolescent life. Starring Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino and Jon Gries and directed by Jared and Jerusha Hess.
I've always wondered what year this film was set in and every time I came to a conclusion, some piece of evidence such as music or technology, always contradicted it. Its best I suppose to leave it in unknown period otherwise this film wouldn't have that innocent charm.
During Astoria, New Yorks blazing heat of summer in 1986, Dito Montiel is caught in a violent and lawless city in which he wishes to escape much to his father and his friends dismay. His days and nights are polluted with small crimes and ignorance with his friends, especially the hot blooded Antonio, his girlfriend Laurie and his sickly father Monty Montiel.
Starring Robert Downey Jnr, Shia Labeouf, Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum and Chazz Palminteri and directed by Dito Montiel
Based on Dito Montiels novel of the same name. A raw and graphic perception of rage, vengeance, family and trust, the film embraces us into Dito's world and show us its impeccable detail of emotion. An extremely rare opportunity to see some of the young talents real acting potential, this movie hits number one for its originality and its straight to the point themes that seems to be missed by most adolescent films.
What a lovely review Jerry. This list definitely represents some great indie films. They're such a hard genre to find decent films as some are just..too much.
A Guide To Recognising Your Saints is such an underrated film, hopefully more people will watch it along with the rest of your movie choices after reading your article.
By Daniella - senior reviewer Tuesday, 4th of October @ 03:51 pm
Donnie Darko is one of my favourites, and one that I always suggest to anyone who asks me for advice on a movie that is a little quirky. I must find a copy of A Guide To Recognising Your Saints, as it seems like quite the indie find. Thanks for the tips.