Some more of my favourites, but ‘N’ is not the easiest letter. Good luck with finding some choices! (Except Chandler, who will have no problem of course…) I am only featuring three today, to leave you some options.
Philip Noyce is an Australian director who has made films in a variety of genres. He has no distinct style as such, and seems happy to make any kind of film; from an action blockbuster like ‘Patriot Games’ (1992), to the best-forgotten vehicle for Angelina Jolie, ‘Salt’ (2010). However, he has also made some very interesting and compelling films in between his mainstream Hollywood outings, so I consider him worthy of my praise. ‘Dead Calm'(1988) is a claustrophobic and exciting thriller, set on a small boat sailing around the Great Barrier Reef. It stars Nicole Kidman and Sam Neil as a couple whose idyllic holiday is invaded by an apparently marooned stranger. (A manic Billy Zane) Despite the small cast, this is edge of the seat stuff, and beautifully filmed on location too. In 2002, he made the startling and heartbreaking drama, ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’, the story of aboriginal children trying to make their way home, followed by the authorities who are intent on trying to take them back to the settlement they have been forced to live on. That same year, Noyce filmed an adaptation of Greene’s novel, ‘The Quiet American’ An authentic location feel (It was shot in Vietnam), and solid performances from Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser, add up to an interesting and convincing drama.
British film-maker Mike Newell is best known for the middle-class comedy ‘Four Weddings And A Funeral’ (1994). Other successes include ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ (2003), and ‘Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire’ (2005). I haven’t seen those two, but I have seen some outstanding films he also made, including two of my favourite modern films. ‘Donnie Brasco’ (1997) is one of the best modern gangster films ever made, with Johnny Depp convincing in the lead role of the undercover agent infiltrating the Mafia in New York. But more notably, it produced what I still believe is Al Pacino’s finest performance, as the small-time gang member, Lefty Ruggiero. Much earlier, Newell made a wonderful British thriller, based round the life of the last woman to be executed in the UK, Ruth Ellis. ‘Dance With A Stranger’ (1985) is pretty much flawless. The period (1950s) feel, the sets, costumes, script, and direction are all a sight to see. Topped off with an outstanding performance from Miranda Richardson as Ellis, and Ian Holm and Rupert Everett as the two men in her life, this is British film-making at its very best.
My top choice today is (unusually) a director best known for horror films. Japanese director Hideo Nakata set the standard for modern horror with the terrifying ‘Ringu’ (1998), and made the sequel the following year. In 2002, we got the amazing ‘Dark Water’ too. He did go on to remake some of his classics in America, but I urge you to watch the originals. Please.