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The Most Visually Stunning Movies of the 21st Century

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by Charlotte Atkinson (subscribe)
London based creative studying Contemporary Media Practice at The University Of Westminster.
Published March 19th 2017
Sometimes we are approached by some visually stunning movies for which the cinematography has to be applauded. It often remains that a 'good movie' has to have a plot/narrative that drives the audience into the lives of the characters that we have all come to love and know, but sometimes the tip of the icing relies on the visually pleasing aesthetic that the film holds.

Below is a list of movies that I personally think hold top spots in the most stunning cinematography on film:

1. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

Whether you are familiar with book by Arthur Golden, this is a movie that holds strong visual beauty in terms of its cinematography. Based in Kyoto Japan, we follow the life of young Chiyo, who is sold to a Geisha house following the separation from her sister. She acts as a slave to the Okiya house but we soon watch her transformation into Sayuri.

2. Lost In Translation (2003)

For those of you who have read my previous blog post, you will be aware of my love for this movie as a whole. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who wishes to watch a film resembling the lives of our own. I must also recommend it for its beautiful aesthetic.

3. Gravity (2013)

Okay, so some might say the I am quite biased when it comes to any film regarding Sandra Bullock, Yes, she is my all time favourite actress, but with that being said, I am also a Media/Film University student and know when to lay back my biased opinion.

When Gravity was first released there was a lot of negative reviews by critics and the general audiance, and I do understand why. The film is set more or less entirely in one location (space), has a one character (after the death of Clooney) and is very slow, going for a run time of 91 minutes.

Alfonso Cuaron is the director of A Little Princess, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men and ... do you see where I'm going with this?. Alfonso Cuaron is one of the most highly appreciated directors with an extraordinary vision and I think the problem with Gravity is that it isn't just a general audience film. Cinephiles can appreciate all the fine details of Gravity, whereas Actors/Actresses can appreciate Bullock's outstanding performance (minus the dodgy haircut).

For me personally, If you did not get a chance to watch this in the cinema then try and get round to watching it on a screen bigger than 32inches. This film needs t be given a chance on a bigger screen as I purely believe it is built for it (rant over - but give it a shot folks).

4. Birdman (2014)

There isn't much I am going to say about this film other than it has extraordinary cinematography. I believe that throughout the full 119 minutes there is a total of 3/4 scenes. This film again acts as another Actress/Actor's film, being set in an almost play-like setting ... oh the irony! Again another outstanding film by the great Alejandro González Iñárritu, a director I think all movie buffs should be made aware of.

5. Requiem for a Dream

A movie about just how far someone will go for drugs and just how much it consumes us. This film features in my top 10 movies of all time but it is not for the faint-hearted. Personally, I have never had a problem with this, but this has been ranked as one of the most disturbing films of all time, right up there with Eraserhead.

Requiem for a Dream is another film that carries the weight of true representation of realities or close to it. Although an American film about drugs, this film has not been over dramatised. It in fact, in my opinion, stands as one of the best American cinematography based movies hands down.

If you do end up watching this film, I highly suggest watching the 'making of' to get a better understanding as to why I have listed this as one of the best cinematic movies of all time.

This is only a short list, other films to note are: The Matrix, The Crow, and Nerve.

I hope you have enjoyed my list of the most visually stunning movies of the 21st Century. All views and opinions are my own and if you have any comments, please feel free to leave it below.
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