Retro Recommendations: OBJECTION!

Josiah L (Year 12), Chief Contributor

What is “Retro Recommendations?”

It’s been a hard time for film over the past few years; it seems these days the filmic platform is all about money and identity politics rather than telling stories that both entertain and challenge audiences. This is evident in ‘Disney’ (dun…dun…duuuuunnnnn!), the owners of some of the biggest franchises in the world, who are currently releasing a stream of endless, mindless content…as long as it has a Marvel or Star Wars logo taped on to it, viewers will consume it – no matter the quality.

Many once-great films/franchises have been caught up in this onslaught of endless sequels and reboots that are destroying their legacies; take Luke Skywalker, for example, one of the greatest protagonists in the history of film, a character that began as a poor, stubborn kid trapped on a desert planet yearning for adventure, to a wise and powerful Jedi Knight. When Disney later bought Star Wars and developed the infamous “Sequel Trilogy”, Luke was mutated into a bitter old fart who, despite being the single most powerful Jedi in the galaxy, could be shown up by a teenage girl with absolutely no training, and is willing to murder a young boy after seeing a glimpse of darkness within him – even though he refused to give up on his far more evil father (Darth Vader) in previous times.

The point is, that classic films and the characters that inhabit them are being torn apart by this age of woke, money-hungry corperation’s bent on milking every last iconic franchise to its limits.

Now, forgive me for being such a “Negative-Nancy”, and getting caught up in movie politics. However, I feel that it is time to remember and appreciate the classic films that paved the way for movie culture; that put effort into the stories they told and how they told them, the films that defined cinema…it’s time for ‘Retro Recommendations’!

In light of the recent ‘Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard’ court case, I figured it would be appropriate to kick the series off with a courtroom drama list…


‘A Few Good Men’ (1992):

Ever heard the badass line, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”

Well, this is where it came from. ‘A Few Good Men’ follows Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), a military lawyer attempting to defend two U.S. soldiers charged with murdering one of their comrades. Although they were found guilty, Kaffee learns that the two soldiers were possibly carrying out an order from their superior officer Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson), igniting an effort to uncover the conspiracy. This riveting drama contains stellar performances, especially by Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise, along with a thrilling plot. Definitely a must-watch.


‘Primal Fear’ (1996):

One of my personal favourite courtroom films, ‘Primal Fear’ traces the story of Martin Vail, a defense attorney who chooses to defend an altar boy (Aaron Stampler, played by Edward Norton) accused of killing the archbishop of Chicago. As Vail delves deeper into the case, dark secrets are revealed which takes the lawsuit to an even more sinister level. ‘Primal Fear’ not only tells a great story with many clever twists and turns that will shock you, but also contains an impactful and thought-provoking message about the “primal fear” amongst humans that we are inherently evil.


‘12 Angry Men’ (1957):

The film that birthed the courtroom genre, ‘12 Angry Men’ takes a different approach to conventional courtroom drama tropes, coming from the perspective of a jury involving 12 men (hence the title) tasked with establishing a sentence for a teenager accused of murder, with a guilty verdict of capital punishment. Personal tensions rise as the men try and decide on a verdict, with the boy’s fate in their hands. This incredible drama was done entirely in a single room yet is so well written it’s gripping from start to finish.