Top 5 films by Gus Van Sant, ranked

You always know when you watch a Gus Van Sant movie. His camera techniques, staging decisions and the content of his story are unique to him. For decades, Van Sant has created a collection of films to entertain and make us think. At the same time, the director is not afraid to take risks like cramming a set of unknown actors into the winner of the Palme d’Or. Elephant, or do a shot-by-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s film psychopath. Like any director, some of his films may not have been for everyone. But it goes without saying that his style and talent made him one of the greatest. Among his collection are some of the most beloved films of his generation.

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Van Sant was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky and from an early age had a strong interest in painting and film. His passion for the arts brought him to the Rhode Island School of Design where he majored in painting. His sense of detail and design is clearly visible in all of his films. Van Sant created such beautiful shots that they could be mistaken for paintings. Shortly after attending college, he changed his major to film. The intuitive director spent time in Los Angeles where he studied the inner city’s inner city areas and was inspired to make his directorial debut, Mala Noche. From there, Van Sant’s career took off and he has since told deep stories exploring themes of love, violence, self-acceptance and more. If you’re looking to explore Gus Van Sant’s filmography, you might want to start with these five films.

5Elephant

the elephant

Van Sant’s film in 2003, the elephant, follows the lives of several high school students in a day that leads to a school shooting. The controversial film “feels like a documentary at times due to its long takes and realistic dialogue. Van Sant took a lot of creative risks during production, including choosing brand new or non-professional actors, as well as writing the script during the filming of the film and the ability for the actors to improvise much of their work. dialogues.

The film is loosely based on the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and gives us an artistic look at the tragic events. The film was shot over a twenty day span and was shot in Van Sant’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. Elephant critically acclaimed and won the Palme d’Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

4Pharmacy Cowboy

Pharmacy Cowboy

The 1989 film, Pharmacy Cowboy, gave us an artistic look at the effects of drug addiction. The film follows a group of drug addicts in the 1970s who rob pharmacies and hospitals to finance their dangerous habit. Matt Dillon delivers a fantastic performance as band leader Bob Hughes alongside an ensemble cast. The film presents the miseries and truths of drug addiction in a beautifully shot film.

Honest portrayals of drugs, violence and self-harm are seen in many Van Sant films. The director clearly has a fascination with outcasts and degenerates and he shows that with every shot of Pharmacy Cowboy. Sometimes the movie can be difficult to watch, but it’s important to show the real consequences and pain associated with addiction. Pharmacy Cowboy was very well received and currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten tomatoes. The cast also includes Kelly Lynch, James Remar and Heather Graham.

3Find Forrester

Find Forrester

This 2000 drama tells the story of a gifted high school student, Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown), who is fortunate enough to attend a prestigious private school while forming a friendship with legendary, but reclusive, writer William Forrester (Sean Connery) . The film delivers on many levels, including performance, an inspiring story, and beautiful cinematography. Through mentorship from Forrester, Wallace learns to live up to his writing potential while staying true to his moral as others attempt to bring him down. Connery shines in every scene of the film as a brilliant but struggling writer who learns to make a connection by mentoring Wallace.

It’s no surprise that Connery himself said he based his performance on writer JD Sallinger. The film is an inspiration and gives us a great story about self-identity and friendship. The Finding Forrester cast is filled with talented actors, including F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin and Michael Pitt.

2Good Will Hunting

Goodwill hunting

Van Sant’s Oscar-winning film was successful in many ways. The brilliant screenplay, written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, tells the story of a genius prodigy, Will Hunting (Matt Damon), who learns to live with his troubled past and realize his potential with the help of his therapist. Sean (Robin Williams). It’s a perfect storyline that’s filled with brilliant monologues, unforgettable lines, and heart-wrenching scenes that are all about love, friendship, and overcoming tragedy.

The film also features, quite possibly, Robin Williams’ best performance. Williams will win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Goodwill hunting made Matt Damon and Ben Affleck superstars overnight after winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Good Will Hunting is a once-in-a-lifetime movie that should be seen by everyone at least once.

1Milk

Milk

The 2008 biopic, which follows the tales of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), is arguably Van Sant’s greatest achievement of his career to date. Sean Penn fully embodies Harvey Milk in a defining performance for his career. Penn’s physique and emotional range is perfect in every scene and pays an epic tribute to the life and achievements of Milk who was tragically murdered by City Supervisor Dan White (Josh Brolin).

The film presents the struggles, prejudices and animosity that Milk and her team had to overcome to fight for gay rights and win elections against all odds. It is a true story of inspiration. The film is shot beautifully and Dustin Lance Black’s brilliant performances and Oscar-winning script make it gripping from start to finish. The cast of Milk’s is filled with talents such as James Franco, Diego Luna and an Emile Hirsch who steals the stage.

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Top 5 films by Gus Van Sant, ranked