It’s not just anyone that would give up a chance to study for PhD in Philosophy at Stanford, but Lenny Abrahamson did. The Irish director returned home to begin his film career rather than graduate and thus far he’s been doing a rather good job. While he hasn’t produced a slew of movies like several other directors he has taken his time and put out some very riveting films that have been said to be quite smart and engaging on many levels. He’s not a newbie to the film industry by any means since his career started up in 1991, but he did start out slow, filming commercials before moving on to film. Several of his films, if not all of them, have a strange, haunting quality that is easy to detect in the film but is still so pervasive and evasive at the same time that the audience could find that they don’t have time to feel it as they’re compelled to move with the action.
It’s a quality that several filmmakers put into their movies, but Abrahamson is one of those that manages to make you feel it the entire way. His films are a bit dark but the story is made to reflect this as well as wear the shadows like a shroud, so that the film becomes so well integrated with itself that the audience can get into the full experience without feeling disjointed somehow. And his quest for realism in a film is something that many people tend to enjoy, though it does seem a bit bleak at times.
Everyone has their own style after all. Here are some of the best movies he’s done so far.
5. Adam and Paul
Sometimes a comedy can go so dark that you can’t really tell if there’s any comedic value to it at all. Adam and Paul are two addicts that wander the streets for a day looking for their next fix. The trouble they get into and the methods they try to use to find money, which are quite illegal for the most part, seem to indicate that they’re not too bright and that they don’t have a single clue what it takes to make it in life. But somehow the pair come across a score near the end of the film and find what they were looking for. The next day however Paul has to go it alone as Adam OD’s on their find.
You really get the feeling that Josie is disconnected from the rest of society because, quite honestly, he is. With his learning disabilities and his incapability of connecting with those around him Josie can’t help but be awkward, though he does take things a little too far without realizing it. He doesn’t even see the problem with showing an underage boy pornography until well after the fact. It’s definite remorse that he feels, but at the same time as the film ends he feels the need to finally accept what he’s done and just drifts away. The sad part about this is that people like Josie exist in every region, and are just as misunderstood.
3. What Richard Did
One mistake is all it takes to alter the course of a life, but then making it worse by lying only exacerbates things. Richard wanted Lara, but Lara was hooked up with Colin. Richard wooed Lara away for Colin, thereby ruining the relationship between the two young men. When Colin and Richard got into a fight their mutual friends backed Richard and beat him to the ground, with Richard delivering the unintended final blow when he kicked Colin in the head. Upon learning that Colin died during the night the bunch of them decided to lie about it and let life go on. The worst part is that for all his remorse, Richard never said a single word to those that might have needed to know.
When the reality you know is the only thing you’ve understood for your entire life then the outside world becomes a huge, unknowable place that is as alien as any fantasy landscape could ever be. Jack and his mother Joy are eventually rescued from their imposed stay in Room, as it’s called, and struggle to adjust to the outside world in several ways. Eventually Joy tries to commit suicide after finding that she unable to withstand the pressures of reality, but thankfully her son finds a way to cheer her up and save her. It’s a horrible but touching story about two individuals that eventually find their way, together, into a much wider world than they remember.
1. The Stranger
Dr. Faraday has no idea what he’s in for when he returns to the place known as Hundreds Hall. He is familiar enough with it, as his mother worked in this place when he was young, but the changes it has undergone and the mystery that will unveil itself when he arrives is something that no one would ever be prepared for.
Lenny certainly knows how to build the suspense.