2005 / Director. Steven Spielberg.
I admit that I am overly defensive when it comes to Steven Spielberg, however, it is with absolution that I say that his WAR OF THE WORLDS is quite possibly his most underrated film to date. It's also the one film of his which has attracted the most criticism... well... I won't have any of that. This is a flawless and impeccable film as far as I'm concerned. Taking HG Wells' classic story and placing it in a contemporary setting is it's biggest strength with the various themes baring great relevance to the world at the time. With 9/11 still fresh in people's minds, the confronting images from the film proved to be terrifying. Spielberg chose not to explore any type of character development or potential subplots and, instead, he made a film of relentless terror that moves at a breakneck pace. The action begins almost immediately as giant alien tripods rise from the beneath the Earth and systematically begin exterminating humans. There's no slow-mo here as people are evaporated one after another without giving the viewer any time to reflect. Tom Cruise is excellent too. Detractors be gone! Whatever you think of him, there's no denying the intensity of his performance. Every time I watch the film it sticks in my mind for ages. The images are so visceral and arresting and always disturbing. People are turned to dust. Other people are covered in that dust. Hundreds of bodies floating downstream in a river and a vicious mob mentality brutally assaulting children are just some of the horrifying images put to screen. There's no holds barred in this epic and incredible science fiction horror film. At the time of it's release Australian film critic David Stratton declared WAR OF THE WORLDS as the best film of 2005 and for the first time ever... I wholeheartedly agreed with him. HUGELY undervalued!