Top 10 Film4

Wednesday, August 11 2010
Top 10 Film4

With more than 100 films in its catalogue, and total sales of 1.5 million since it began looking after them in 1997, the Film4 brand is one of the most instantly recognizable in British film. As 4DVD’s Karla Berry noted: “Film4 has been the driving force behind the renaissance of British cinema, producing some of the most acclaimed movies in recent cinema history and attracting some of the world’s most exciting international talent.”

What’s more, 4DVD’s smart marketing has helped pull through some of the lesser known titles on the back of, say, Sexy Beast or one of the more recent additions, Trainspotting.

Karla Berry said: “The Film4 brand is recognisable to the average consumer as the force behind great British cinema and so it has enabled us to leverage many unknown but critically acclaimed films to a mass audience via the tag line ‘Great Films You Know, Great Films You Don’t’.”

With news that Film4 will be rolling out a number of additions to its already enviable back catalogue, we weigh up the 10 most successful movies released under the banner over the past three years, since 4DVD began releasing them under its banner.

1. Sexy Beast – Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian ‘Lovejoy’ McShane all  go toe to toe in the battle for the crown of the ‘ardest London gangster there ever was. So enjoyable is the film that you almost completely forget the rather stupendous opening scene.  And given its stature as the best of the whole wave of London gangster flicks that followed in its wake, it’s no surprise to see it as the bestselling Film4 release under 4DVD’s aegis.

2. The Motorcycle Diaries – Recounting the early memoirs of a 23 year old Ernesto Guevara, who would in later years become molded into the internationally known iconic Marxist and revolutionary Che Guevara. The Motorcycle Diaries is quite simply a must watch for any politically minded individual, not to mention Marxists…

3. Dogma – Director Kevin Smith’s leftfield take on Catholicism and religious dogma cements its place in at number 3 with some madcap storytelling (biblical style) and for having the balls to show Alan Rickman without any …well, balls.

4. Trainspotting – Before all the glitz and glam of India and Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle gave us Trainspotting, a film seemingly about choosing life, but all the more importantly about the horrific effect of hard drugs on mans psyche. An if all that sounds a bit too depressing for you, then fear not because they all drink, smoke, fondle, rob, punch and shoot pretty much everything moving in the film just for good measure as well. Its performance as the fifth bestseller in Film4’s catalogue is all the more impressive given the fact that it was one of the most recent additions to the catalogue.

5. Gangster No 1 – An often forgotten gem amongst the plethora of British gangster films, but director Paul McGuigan’s sharp crime drama based on real-life mobster Frankie Fraser, is definitely worth its weight in gold and its position at number five.

6. East Is East – When Film4 launched its own imprint this was one of its first big successes, a bona fide phenomenon. On the face of it East is East is another much celebrated comedy drama about the lives of a mixed race family in Greater Manchester. However it is also and perhaps more importantly, a credible voice for many second generation Asians and others in today’s cosmopolitan society who struggle to balance traditional values with modern day living.

7. Brassed Off – The little film that could. Expected only to receive a moderate fan base, the tale of a colliery brass band paved the way for similar feelgood Brit outings, from The Full Monthy to the forthcoming Made In Dagenham.

8. Local Hero – Director Bill Forsyth once bemoaned: “My problem, is that 40 per cent of me wants to make an entertaining film and 60 per cent of me wants to subvert the idea of movies.” And in 1983’s Local Hero, Forsyth has done just that with in this charming and slightly off kilter drama. Surprisingly prescient – its continued success may owe something to Donald Trump currently trying to railroad his proposals through the Scottish countryside a la Burt Lancaster.

9. Room With A View – A romantic classic, and a simpler time when Helena Bonham Carter could act without the need for a disturbing kitsch or screwy demeanor.

10. She’s All That – Despite utilising every play in the American high school teen romance film playbook, you simply can’t argue with the success of director Robert Iscoves bubblegum-tastic film, which was undeniably one of the best of its ilk from the 90’s.

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