Thriller

Blue Velvet/1986/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) Eerie, but no horror; Bizarre, but not absurd; repulsive, but sticky; erotic, but no porn.
2) Blue velvet could serve as a classic start for the cine-buffs who want to explore David Lynch’s filmography. Elements of absurdity here is quite balanced, it’s not too much – not too less.

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Jallikattu/2019/Malayalam

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Why FiC recommends?
1) Jallikattu isn’t an unusual movie just for the sake of it. On the outset it may look like just another ambitious visual narration of a long-running political situation in few southern states of India. But Jallikattu is about many more things – animal politics, madness of masculinity, human monstrosity and more.
2) With each movie, Lijo Jose is just raising the expectations on his movies and Jallikattu is the latest addition to it.
3) Does that rouge buffalo on the run in this movie an allegory for the ‘system/society on the run’ in India? quite possible!

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Inland Empire/2006/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) A three hours long psychotropic meditation, where you fail to comprehend it as a whole but you learn that something beautiful happening there which makes you stick to the screens
2) Like Mulholland Dr., there’s Hollywood here too (or I think it is about Hollywood) but there are other things which pop up here but God knows why! But all makes sense somehow, including those animals that talk in this film remain with you, like forever!
3)Is it the trippiest film by the director? Possibly ‘yes’!

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Mulholland Drive/2001/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) Hardcore David Lynch fans might not consider Mulholland Drive to be his best creation. But this film brought the special genre psycho-sexual surrealism to the mainstream.
2) The mysterious relationship between Rita and Betty adds on to the delight of witnessing seemingly unconnected and surreal chain of events.
3) Even though understanding Mulholland Drive in the first (first few?!) watch is almost impossible, an involved viewer can sense that the film as a whole is trying to address something around the self-indulgent pop culture that has creeped into (and spoiling?) the Hollywood system.

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Gangs of Wasseypur/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Why FiC recommends?
(note: This FiC comment is on the world release of the film which combined both Part 1 & 2 with a total runtime of 5hr 21min)
1) This epic crime saga running across over seven decades and three generations is one of its kind in many ways. Although many filmbuffs tend to call it as Indian version of ‘Godfather’, it is more than that; even though crime sits at the center of the story there is abundance of reinvented sense of humor, satire, daring political comments and refreshing and well suited music throughout the length.
2) When the film ends it fills in a weird feeling of emptiness; by then you would understand ‘betrayal follows crime and both are part of a vicious cycle’
3) It also paved way to lot of super-talented actors towards Indian cinema circuit (just have a look at the cast!)

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The House That Jack Built/2018/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Polarizing views on Lars Von Trier films isn’t something new; this film isn’t an exception too. Most of his films have revolved around human psych and here the protagonist is a homicide.
2) The house that jack builds (I just avoided a spoiler here!) is very symbolic, in fact the whole movie symbolic and feels like a mirror to the undiscovered inner human psych which is so difficult to accept.
3) The portrayal of ‘hell’ in the final chapter is dreamlike and gives a lot of room for the audience to ponder upon, which simply is a big win.

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Tous les dieux du ciel (All the Gods in the Sky) /2018/ French

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Quarxx
Why FiC recommends?
1) Visually the film is one of the most stunning in recent memory, we are seized from these first moments by its aesthetic which evokes the scenes close to that of David Lynch films, the cinematography of Antoine Carpentier is simply sublime. The idea of insidious contamination of body and mind is at the heart of the film.
2) If you like horror films to be clear and unambiguous, you won’t have much fun here, as ” All the Gods in the Sky ” reveals a different result to almost every viewer. This French gem fits many genres into one film, and it pays off in the end.

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Honeygiver Among The Dogs/2016/Bhutan

FiC Rating 3.5/5
Dir: Dechen Roder
Why FiC Recommends?
1) Honeygiver Among The Dogs embraces the most obvious genre tropes of a film noir but ends up welding a surprising new layer of spirituality into it, the roots of which are deep seated in the Buddhist mysticism.
2) This visually arresting debut is fueled by corruption and authoritarian moral turpitude but a Zen like poise is written all over it that stems out of Bhutan’s mythical sensibilities
3) The jaw dropping cinematography with a strikingly gorgeous visual palette resonates with the lavish landscape tableaux of ‘The Land of Happiness’.

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Jigureul jikyeora!(Save the Green Planet!) /2003/

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Joon Hwan Jang

Why FiC recommends?
1) A very original genre hoping Experimental Sci-fi, Black comedy which slowly dissolves into chilling Horror. Bizarre and captivating, completely defies any genre. Highly underrated when compared films of Bong joon ho,Park Chan-wook and Im Sang-soo.
2) This is a film that invites numerous interpretations, as all great art does – however, this film is also very entertaining, making it a rare film experience.

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Wir Monster/ 2015 / German

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Sebastian Ko
Why FiC recommends?
1) This near perfect script has been dealt with utmost care to seal off all loopholes the human mind could ever conjure up which cleverly balanced between plot and psychology, contrary to the nonchalant treatments that grace thrillers these days.
2) I strongly recommend this film, especially to the thriller genre lovers.

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Dr. Lamb (Goh yeung yi sang)/ 1992 / Cantonese

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Danny Lee, Billy Tang
Setting: Suburban/Small-town
Why FiC recommends?
The movie is quite different also one of most notorious films from the golden age of Hong Kong horror than trying to be a “Taxi Driver”-wannabe/rip-off.
2) For those interested to check out Category III rating, which is equivalent to the old X’s or current NC-17’s in the U.S, then Dr. Lamb is a good start followed by 2 of my favourites Untold Story (1993) and Ebola Syndrome (1996).

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Gali Guleiyan/2017/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Dipesh Jain
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?

1) A voyeuristic gaze on the maze like alleyways of old Delhi’s underbelly and a breathtaking psychological study of the frigid characters imprisoned inside the strangulating universe longing to break free from this confinement
2) The semi cloistered lives represent the different shadowy corners of a turbulent social structure distantly sharing an excruciating existence amidst harrowing urban isolation. The silence is not empty, rather it’s the quietude before storm and often relentless emotion erupts out of the screen and engulfs you completely.

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The Wild Goose Lake/2019/China

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Diao Yinan
Setting: Urban, Crime
Why FiC recommends?

1) There’s a delightfully elegant balance between Yinan’s style and substances, it assembles the genre tropes and piled up desperation and existential angst is constructed from the same fabric of a rapidly collapsing society
2) This hyper tensed manhunt is flooded with colours and super saturated mood sculptures give unavoidable kar-Wai vibes while retaining it’s originality in every possible ways.

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Decoder/1984/Gemran

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Muscha

Why FiC recommends?
Muscha’s Decoder is sort of Zeitgeist of the Berlin 1980s counterculture, a criminally under-seen masterpiece of German weirdness, before the Internet and cyber warfare shot

2)  It should be considered required watching for anyone who love Shinya Tsukamoto’s classic cyberpunks, Sogo Ishii’s Electric Dragon 80.000 V and films such as They Live, Vortex (1982) and Liquid Sky. The film is battered in 80s industrial/electronica culture by intense soundtrack from the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten, Soft Cell, The The, and Psychic Tv.

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Only God Forgives/2013/English,Thai

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn

Why FiC recommends?
1) This film like a marriage between violence and color(neon) giving birth to hallucination. Each of these elements keep on trying to dominate over each other through the entire length.
2) Silence is used as solid screenplay tool to create an intentional void between scene expectation and scene delivery. Many complain that this film is pretentious; but nobody can deny the unique style it has got!

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Black Friday/2004/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Setting: Urban/Suburban

Why FiC recommends?
1) Making political films based on real incidents was not bollywood’s forte when this film was made in 2004. It was banned by Indian govt for 3 years before it got clearance in 2007. It is hard hitting and very realistic presentation of 1993 Mumbai blasts.
2) The casting is spot on and screenplay is just flawless and films keeps you on edge of your seat till the very last minute.

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Confessions/2010/Japanese

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Tetsuya Nakashima

Why FiC recommends?
1) To put it simply, this movie is about a mother looking for revenge for her daughter’s death. But nothing is as straightforward as it seems.After each Confession, an extra layer is peeled off and the viewer is left to switch sides and ponder upon who is the real culprit till the end.
2) The film takes no time to take off and certainly has one of the most intense psycologically thrilling first act out there.

Note: The Japanese Original Title is “Kokuhaku”

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Coherence/2013/English

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: James Ward Byrkit
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) This film is an outstanding example of how a thrilling and wonderful film can be made with a shoe string budget and an original mind blowing concept.
2) This is a Sci-Fi which has practically zero special effects but still hooks you to the proceedings till the climax.

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Titli/2014/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Kanu Behl
Setting: Suburban

Why FiC recommends?
1) There exists a suburban attached to every city which keeps reminding the society about the class-divide in the cities and the unjust that some people have to bear. For them crime looks different. Titli, in a nutshell is about this issue.
The film maintains a constant tension throughout and it keeps on increasing as the movie progresses. The casting and the BGM add onto the tone of the film so well and accelerate the grittiness.

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The Man From Nowhere/2010/Korean

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Jeong-beom Lee
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) A highly stylized and fast paced action revenge movie with a strong emotional connect.
2) The outstanding hand to hand combat scenes which culminates in one of the best knife fights ever put on screen.

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Lucia/2013/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Pawan Kumar
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) The way a film built may not be an important factor for recommending a movie. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that this well made multi-genre movie is a crowd funded project (which I’ve not considered in the rating).
2) This non-linear film tries to cover a lot of things in 135 minutes. It is about the other side of ‘stardom’, love, urbanization, Film-mafia, drugs and euthanasia.

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Gulaal/2009/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Setting: Town/Rural

Why FiC recommends?
1) Gulaal is stuffed with multiple things – cast politics, youth exploitation, love betrayal and also the doomsday poetry. How? watch the film. Thank Piyush Mishra and Anurag Kashyap later.
2) It’s intense & brutal from start to end, it is as restless as the characters in the film are. So the characters of the film nicely fit into the film.

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Subramaniapuram/2008/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: M.Sasikumar
Setting: Rural

Why FiC recommends?
1) It’s a brilliant multi-genre film which keeps the audience stick to their seats with lot of amazing plot-twists.
2) This countryside family drama linked with betrayal politics is a thrilling watch from start to end.
Note: Inspired by this film, Anurag Kashyap went on to make Gangs of Wasseypur (part-1 & 2).

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Birdshot (2016)

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Mikhail Red

Why FiC recommends?
1) Birdshot, a coming of age story centered on a young farm girl named Maya (Mary Joy Apostol) who inadvertently shoots an endangered Eagle (Haribon) setting off a police investigation.

2)  The story that has depth and beauty, juxtaposed by self effacing, unapologetic, honesty. A reflection, in many ways, of the stark Filipina outback, in which it is set.

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Visaranai/2015/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Vetrimaaran
Setting: Town/Suburban

Why FiC recommends?
1) Most of the films dealing with ‘abuse of power’ end up telling stories of some ‘larger than life’ characters or some magical turning points. Visaranai is not like that.
2) One of the best crime thrillers coming from India. It’s brutal, retains authenticity and plot twists are deep and disturbing.

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S*** Durga/2017/ Malayalam

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
Setting: Road/Moving Vehicle/Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) This film gives a tight slap to the patriarchal society which claims to worship Goddesses.
2) The making is one of its kind and as the movie progresses it becomes hard to digest because it’s so hard-hitting in what it tries to convey!
3) The whole movie was shot in one night and without a written script.
Note: The movie isn’t released in India because the Govt has put a ban on it.

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The Conversation/1974/American

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?

1) If you like the film especially when they explain everything and leave nothing up to your own intuition, this movie is one of the best movies you will ever see.
2) The film is made by one of the best directors in history when he was at the peak of his career, what are the odds?

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Creep/2014/American

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Patrick Brice
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) Right from the first scene to the end, “Creep” primes viewers to suspect that nothing is what it seems. We keep guessing something and then something else happens, followed by some other, far more unexpected things.
2) The film does not play by the rules of the game they chose to play.

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Varthamana/2018/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Umesh Amshi
Setting: Urban/Not-specified
Why FiC recommends?
1) A rare attempt in Indian cinema to bring ‘weirdism’ on the screen. (David) Lynchian style evident at places.
2) Treat for people who enjoy ‘dreamlike’ sequences.

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