I’ve seen two of these, I think. Drumroll:
1. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Peter Weir, 2003)
Peter Weir’s unashamedly old-fashioned and visually stunning adaptation of Patrick O’Brian’s novel is one of the greatest odes to leadership ever committed to celluloid. Australian director Weir has made many terrific films, including Gallipoli, Dead Poets Society, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Witness, but Master and Commander was the pinnacle of his career so far. Nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, it should be essential viewing for any commander-in-chief. Russell Crowe delivers a powerhouse performance as Jack Aubrey, Captain of HMS Surprise, a British warship that hunts and ultimately captures a far larger French adversary during the Napoleonic Wars. Set in 1805, it is an epic tale of heroism and love for country in the face of incredible odds, and a glowing tribute to the grit and determination that forged the British Empire.
Every movie in Nile Gardiner’s top ten deals with war in one way or another except for one, and that one — The Dark Knight — is often read as allegorical about the war on terror and enhanced interrogation. Gardiner’s reasoning: “A central theme that runs through several of my top ten picks is the eternal conflict between good and evil, and why the forces of tyranny and despotism must be confronted and defeated. They include films that Barack Obama should watch as he contemplates appeasing the likes of Iran and North Korea, or turning a blind eye to mass murder in Burma, Sudan and Zimbabwe.”
Didn’t see number five on his list but he’s on very solid ground based on what I’ve heard from others. As for number ten, it was the subject of one of the all-time great hysterical leftist movie reviews, so he’s safe on that one too. The obligatory exit question: Have at it. Which ones did he forget?
Update: Ah, here’s a good one courtesy of a friend: “Hot Fuzz.”