Renegade Staff Picks: Best Dystopian Films

Dystopian Films
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Best Dystopian Films

 

Dystopian Films

Total Recall

Calibertholomew Winfield: When it comes to bad-ass & over-the-top violent films about the dystopian future, you need look no further than Paul Verhoeven. I was deciding between this & Robo, and went with this because while Robo is the future as well, it was still pretty modern. Total Recall gave us brain manipulation, machines that pull basketball sized tracking beacons through your nose, automatic taxis, robotic masks, and chicks with 3 boobies. While the future on Mars may have looked a bit bleak, Arnold made it look like a blast as he was beating everyone’s ass whether they deserved it or not. On top of that we had incredible practical effects, which had peaked just before CGI had come in, and the mystery of whether the events truly happened or not. An all time classic that was obviously in need of a remake.

 

Dystopian Films

Blade Runner

Ruby Le Rouge: Aaah! Such a hard decision, this is one of my favorite film genres. The most beautifully done would have to be Blade Runner, though released in 1982, it still is a visually stunning film. It’s really timeless.

There are several that though don’t hold up visually quite as well, are I think still important, like A Clockwork Orange & Fahrenheit 451 (I still love watching it though, and reading the book and wish there was a movie version that was palatable to the masses). Then there’s Idiocracy, which is the scariest one to me, since I can easily see that dystopian future actually happening

 

Dystopian Films

12 Monkeys

Shawn S. Lealos: When D-Rock first mentioned this idea, I was going to easily saw Children of Men. However, when describing choices to us, he mentioned 12 Monkeys, which I wasn’t even thinking of. I think for a straight dystopian movie, it doesn’t get much better than Children of Men, but 12 Monkeys is one of my Top 5 movies ever – regardless of genre. Sure, some people may consider Brazil to be Terry Gilliam’s dystopian masterpiece, but give me 12 Monkeys any day of the week. Bruce Willis is great, Brad Pitt is spectacular and the story is just brilliant.

 

Dystopian Films

Children of Men

Mike Luxemburg: I love Children of Men! It’s legitimately one of my favorite movies ever. It blends incredible social critique with gorgeous filmmaking and expert performance. Cuaron’s camera brings out the pain of a suffering world, while at the same time finding the beauty in the small moments. And the action! Oh the action! It’s spectacular. The tracking shot towards the end is as perfectly executed as such shots ever get. On every level this film delivers. It provides a unique and interesting world, populated with relatable characters who undergo clear development. It articulates stakes that aren’t just real in the movie, but real for us too. The combination makes for one of my favorite movie experiences. When I need something a breakneck speed, but the artistry matters, this is the first place I’d turn.

 

Dystopian Films

Wall-E

Caleb Masters: Wall-E tends to pop up on the top of my list for a multitude of genres and I think it’s even more relevant and successful as a dystopian movie than it is an animated or family flick.

We’ve seen a number of classics warning us of the dangers of corporate dystopia, but the Wall-e is the movie I believe is most in line with our own reality. Humans burn through all of earth’s resources and build machines to clean up the planet while they flee to space and get lost in their own little bubbles run on a computer. People evolve(or devolve) into cluelessly narcissistic drones in a spaceship that is driven by materialistic consumerism.

I’m not sure what the rest of the world thinks, but given the state of technology with smarphones/social media and our (general) lack of management with our resources; I’d say Wall-e’s dystopian future hits awfully close to home. Wall-e takes my spot because it tells a very powerful and heartfelt story about love but doesn’t fail to deliver a dark and meaty cautionary tale more relevant to society now than ever.

 

Dystopian Films

Revengers Tragedy (2002)

Bethany Lewis: Alex Cox’s dystopian adaptation of Thomas Middleton’s Jacobian revenge play. The movie is set in a near post-apocalyptic Liverpool, England and stars Doctor Who’s Christopher Eccleston as a bereaved husband looking for revenge for the death of his wife on their wedding day. He suspects the local Duke (Derek Jacobi) of the wrongdoing, so he befriends his son (Eddie Izzard) and plots his vengeance. The movie is delightfully over the top with a wonderful cast that delivers the flowing Jacobian language with elegance, humor, and tragedy. The production is dark, slick, and stylish – everything to be expected from an Alex Cox film.

 

Dystopian Films

Sin City

Derek Johns: Sin City- A place where no one really thrives but can only survive (if they’re lucky). The black and white setting is perfect for the film that transcends the idea of black and white characters and where true heroes don’t really exist. There are only villains, antiheroes and the just plain indifferent. Special mention goes to Mickey Rourke for his portrayal of Marv, who kicks enough butt that would make even the greatest superhero jealous.

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
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