Denis Villeneuve: The Greatest Director Alive! – The Chairman’s View

As with most of The Chairman’s Views, The Chairman is always right and let’s not start questioning the order of things…

Without a shadow of doubt in my mind, the greatest director alive today is DENIS VILLENEUVE and with Blade Runner 2049 about to hit the circuit it’s time to wax lyrical (sic) about his man. His ability to adapt to a variety of genres and storytelling techniques is what sets him apart.
I know he doesn’t have a large filmography, but this is about quality over quantity. I will be using examples to reinforce my point.
PRISONERS (2013) – It presents itself as a straight whodunnit, but the performances of Paul Dano, Hugh Jackman & Jake Gyllenhaal will send you into some dark places with white-knuckle suspense. The skill here is taking a story with predictable tropes and making the audiences doubt their own perceptions. A very similar feeling I had while watching Arlington Road, but the execution of Prisoners is of a superior level.
Prisoners (2013)


ARRIVAL (2016) – My standout movie for 2016, this non-linear alien invasion think piece which left a lasting impression. The direction and story structure will draw you in with great performances, beautiful cinematography and a haunting score (by Jonas Johansen)  and the M. Night-level twist absolutely blew my mind. Its Best Picture nomination was truly well deserved. Amy Adams is a strong female lead, something far too rare in the industry today. She comes off as natural not forced to fit a narrative.

Big Screen Hooligans Review

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Arrival (2016)


SICARIO (2015) –The Benecio Del Toro comeback story! A revenge film disguised as a drug cartel – law enforcement movie. Sicario is the reason I’m in love with the cinematography of Roger Deakins. Denis has uncanny ability to build a sense of dread onscreen. You can’t predict how a character will react, with the eventual reaction surprising you completely. Josh Brolin has a standout performance here, the good guy willing to break the rules to get the job done. Emily Blunt seemingly playing a younger version of Brolin’s Matt, who still believes that the system works if you play inside the boundaries of the law.

Big Screen Hooligan Review:

Sicario (2015)


ENEMY (2013)  – Probably the least known of Denis’s Hollywood releases, Enemy is a film about a man with a deep psychological problem. The audience, however, doesn’t know if what they’re seeing is real. The ending is a twist, but is vague. The vagueness of the ending could also be its biggest weakness as the movie ends without resolution and on a question.

Enemy (2013)
Though he has gone back to sci-fi with BLADE RUNNER 2049, I think Denis’s strength is his ability to different cinematic genres. I would love to see him tackle a MAFIA film, Al Capone needs a proper film about his life and I think Denis is the man for the job. (THE UNTOUCHABLES was about the cops after Capone).

And check out our minions review of BLADE RUNNER 2049:


  1. Ye, he is a pretty awesome director never knew this was all his films. Having only watched enemy, prisoners and arrival the following stood out for me.

    – I am always intrigue at how rich his movies are in symbolism as it always adds another layer for analysis.
    – The spider scene and flashbacks in enemy
    – The presentation of the detective and the father in prisoners.

    – The way he juxtaposes opposing ideologies through protagonist and antagonist respectively.
    – faith in scientific unknown vs reason of the scientific known as in arrivals.

    His movies are also morally grey which always leaves to think afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

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