Friday, June 27, 2014

The Directors Project: #46 - Sidney Lumet

Scene from Cinema Paradiso
With the many lists and essays written on the subject of film, there has been one thing that The Oscar Buzz has tried to understand: Who is my favorite of the film world? For 10 weeks this summer, I will be exploring this with a countdown of the Top 50 names based on a numerical ranking of ratings from various sources, the following is a list of directors who rank above everyone else. With occasional upsets, this is intended as both a discussion opener as well as a better understanding of me as a film critic and fan. Please enjoy and leave any comments you have regarding the entry's selection.


Years Active: 1939-2007

Films as Director: 44

Oscar Wins: 1 (Honorary Award)

Who: If there is on achievement to be said for Lumet's filmography, it is the immediacy. While his stories are rooted in their respective decades, they speak of a human condition and rights in ways that are still biting and ask the audience to evaluate themselves. The results have produced hard hitting commentary on TV networks, police rights, and even the judicial system. He is a director who pushed the medium forward with hard hitting dramas and tales that reflect the struggles of everyday life. It is only made more impressive that he continued to release films for as long as he did without losing any credibility. In his later years, Lumet's work may have not resulted in the most iconic work, but he was no slouch. His films still spoke of his truths, but from a more mature mindset. The only real insult is that despite producing some of the most acclaimed films, he never won a competing Oscar for his timeless films. His legacy continues with some of the best performances of many acclaimed actors and messages that ring still true to this day, for better or worse.

Scene from Serpico

-- Network (1976) --

Flickchart Ranking: #71 (850 points)
IMDb Rating: 7/10 (70 points)
Perks: None
Total: 920 points

-- Serpico (1973) --

Flickchart Ranking: #184 (750 points)
IMDb Rating: 6/10 (60 points)
Perks: None
Total: 810 points

-- Dog Day Afternoon (1975) --

Flickchart Ranking: #261 (650 points)
IMDb Rating: 7/10 (70 points)
Perks: None
Total: 710 points

OVERALL TOTAL: 2450 points

Scene from Network
Yet another director whose work I wish that I have seen more of. While the three that made the list are phenomenal, important films, the missing 12 Angry Men or Before the Devil Knows You're Dead reflects the strengths of Lumet. Working in films since the late 30's, his work always managed to feel more immediate than peers that were half his age and by the time that he made it to the 70's, he had reached his creative peak with a series of films that explored aspects of society that nobody really was. It helped to elevate Al Pacino into the stratosphere while raising the social commentary to an art form. It wasn't propaganda, it was over everyday struggles captured on film, painting a flawless picture of our problems and why we need to solve them.

UP NEXT: One of the most visually exciting directors of the past 20 years who has worked in creating some of the most iconic horror-fairy tale crossovers in that time.

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