Top 100: Mulholland Dr. and Léon: The Professional

57. Mulholland Dr. (2001)

I suppose Mulholland Dr. is that typically weird movie that people associate with a high degree of film snobbery. And it is. It's also not the best aged film ever. For one, I think audiences are less taken by the odd or the surreal even as they take in more and more film that is so sternly realist although spectacle rich. The sort of lack of tricks here makes Mulholland Dr. not as attractive to watch by todays standards. Additionally there's some fetishistic moments, despite having numerous, well thought out, female leads, Lynch and Mulholland Dr. seem like the kind of filmmaker and feature that will be open to valid criticism along these lines. However, I do feel that Mulholland Dr. is on solid ground in all these respects.

The real thing that makes Mulholland Dr. work so well is in fact its metafilm status and its formal approach. What Mulholland Dr. really showcases is Lynch's own ability to use the medium so well and set up a meditation on filmmaking while simultaneously creating a film grammar that plays the audience like a fiddle.


56. Léon: The Professional (1994)

I guess this is really a staple of best movie lists. I always feel a little weird including it, because Léon is more than a little over the top. What I think makes it work is that it's very smart and very intimate throughout all this chaos. The intimacy and chaotic blend is something that's missing from films with a lot of shock value or scale that really should be present to make that film powerful. The scene with Mathilda sniping from the roof is so smart and suspenseful, it makes other moments that are maybe less extreme than they could be all the more powerful. Of course there are some great performances anchoring Léon as well. Jean Reno in particular really adds a lot of emotional depth to Natalie Portman's young joie de vivre, another combination that is absent in most other films that are so frenetic. Léon: The Professional uses everything at it's disposal while it's throwing everything that it's got at us.