Five ‘Underrated’ movies

‘Underrated’ movies – it’s all a matter of opinion right? One man’s junk is another man’s gold.

I am sure we have all seemingly watched films that no one else has and wondered, “Why is no one else watching this?”

We all have a list of films that we feel are ‘underrated’ in our heads, so here is a short list of five films I consider ‘underrated’ against one or more of the following criteria.

  • Commercial success
  • Critical success
  • IMDB rating from <100,000 users
  • “Am I the only person who saw this film?”

You may have seen some of these titles, you may not, you may think they received the critical and commercial recognition they deserved… If not, I can recommend them, but taste is a very individual thing.

Please comment with your thoughts on whether you have seen any of these movies and whether you may well be looking to check them out.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

IMDB 7.6/10 from 79,127 user ratings

Brad Pitt stars as the celebrated outlaw Jesse James in Andrew Dominic’s masterpiece of direction and storytelling. A bleak, haunting interpretation of Ron Hansen’s novel, that tells the story of the last days of the James’ gang and the cautious befriending of assailant Robert Ford.

A Brave – ‘on its own terms’ piece, that focusses on themes of celebrity and fame, the struggle to get it and the cost of achieving it.

Received widespread critical success  but no one went to see it, only now would it appear to be gaining public recognition as a truly great film.

‘Jesse James’ was also woefully overlooked at Awards Season when it was easily deserving of a Best Picture nomination; and for me, certainly better than three of the years nominations.

I saw ‘Jesse James’ way back at it’s belated home release back in 2008 and it is placed firmly in my own personal top ten (review coming very shortly). It is a true masterpiece of filmmaking, completely haunting and enigmatic just like the bandit James himself.

It’s methodical pacing may not be to everyone’s liking, but for me this makes it completely captivating and no scene is insignificant. I would urge you to see it.

Claratsi’ Score 10/10

Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995)

IMDB 6.7/10 from 15,022 ratings

Andy Garcia reluctantly leads a band of criminals in a botched job that leaves all fearing for their lives at the hands of wheelchair bound crime boss Christopher Walken.

A very limited release, and again not many people may have seen this, but it is a brilliant crime movie with a morality and mortality story that is grossly underrated with a supreme assemble cast including Christopher Lloyd, Jack Warden and Steve Buscemi as the lethal hit-man, Mr Shh

‘Claratsi’ score 8/10

U Turn (1997)

IMDB 6.7/10 from 29,519 users

Sean Penn stars in Oliver Stone’s manic desert Crime story as he is seduced by Jennifer Lopez’s messed up femme fatale into killing her husband Nick Nolte.

It’s a crazy feast as you would expect from Stone as Penn try’s to escape the lunatic asylum that is the isolated tin-can town that is full of crazy characters played by a fine assemble cast, including Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes, Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Voight.

A limited UK release, but fared well when it was released for the home, it’s probably one of Stone’s most overlooked films, but holds up well against the directors brilliant portfolio.

‘Claratsi’ score 8/10

Surveillance (2008)

IMDB 6.4/10 from 10,287 users

As you might expect from director Jennifer Chambers Lynch, daughter of David Lynch, ‘Surveillance’ is ‘out there’.

Two FBI agents (Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond) are called to an isolated small-town to investigate the circumstances of a series of grisly murders.

Using time shifting recounting of events from the differing perspectives and stories of the interviewed witnesses ‘Surveillance’ is a twisting, disturbing mindbender that had a bigger UK release compared to a very limited US, and is far better than it has had credit for.

Claratsi’ score 8/10

Master and commander: The Far Side of the World

IMDB 7.4/10 from 90,882 users

Probably the most known movie in this list; Russell Crowe equals some of his best performances as Captain Jack Aubrey in Peter Weir’s high seas, cat and mouse chase.

Receiving award recognition in the year that the last instalment of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was ‘King’, ‘Master and Commander’ didn’t receive complete critical success when it is undoubtedly a clear master class in tension and spectacle and the rare sea encounters are powerful and as realistic as could be imagined.

With less than 100,000 IMDB user ratings, there’s a sense that many have missed this film and more should have seen it considering it’s Best Picture nomination. My advice is to watch it!

‘Claratsi’ score 9/10


4 responses to “Five ‘Underrated’ movies

    • great comment mark. as i said one mans junk is another mans gold, but thats the great thing about movies and writing about them for me is that opinion can be broad. i will surely check out your review too, and will likely revisit surveillance. i only ever saw it twice maybe but it kind of came from nowhere at the time. as regards jesse james i could write a book on how criminally overlooked that is.

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