Desert Island Films #86 – Movie Review World

Desert Island Films

Allan from Movie Review World has kindly submitted his Desert Island Films. Please read on for his choices and reasons, and be sure to check out his site.

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Desert Island Films is about choosing 8 films you would take if you were going to be stranded on a desert island and explaining your choices. They don’t necessarily have to be your favourites, just 8 films, no more or no less! You are also permitted to take one book and one novelty item which must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.

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Desert Island Films #86 – Movie Review World


So here I am, washed up and alone on a desert island, but what survival materials have I managed to scrape together during the ensuing panic of my ship going down, I hear you cry? Ehh… 8 DVDs and a book of course! I suppose it could be worse. I mean, I might have brought something really daft like rope, a blanket or something totally out there like some water. But with me, it’s all about priorities. Anyways, as I count down the days to my extremely short life expectancy, I have the following films to take the edge of my rapidly approach fate. Here are my 8 films and the reasons I choose them……over anything else.

1: Carlito’s Way


Carlito’s Way was and still is a hugely underrated film. It’s accentually a character study of a man trying to do the right thing in a world that refuses to allow him. Although the films linear structure is nothing new and its narrative relatively simple, Brian De Palma has managed to create fascinating characters that are anchored by truly wonderful performances from both Al Pacino and Sean Penn. The film is full of dramatic tension and the climatic cat and mouse set piece is that of cinema gold. Truly a master-class in filmmaking.

Carlito’s way is one of my 8, beacause if I didn’t get my quarterly fix Id likely explode, and nobody needs self-detonation to add to their list of worries on a desert island.

2: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


This is another film that I never tire of seeing. From the creative mind of Charlie Kaufman comes this emotionally charged, thought provoking love story that not only puts a fresh and unique spin on the genre, but presents Jim Carey as the multi faceted actor we always knew was hiding behind that idiotic, rubber face façade.

3: The Shining

the shining

Stanley Kubrick….What more can I say? The man remains one of the finest directors in film history. Each film pushed the boundaries of the medium and inspired many a would be film maker. The Shining is just one of my many favourite Kubrick films; each scene is multilayered offering endless interpretations, inspiring new possibilities with each viewing. The performances are magnetising and each scene including the soundtrack feels like a hypnotic voyage that we the audience pursue, despite the ever increasing sense of foreboding round every corner.

The Shining is on my list as its not only one of my favourite movies, but one that will keep me busy studying and deciphering its true meaning…forever!

4: There Will Be Blood

there will be blood

There Will Be Blood is a film that screams Masterpiece to me. The ambition, detail, set-production and vision by Paul Thomas Anderson are truly mesmerising and executed within an inch of its life. He has proved himself as one of the finest director of his generation, an auteur, a modern Kubrick and with each new offering he seems to raise the bar higher and higher? With There Will Be Blood, he effortlessly creates characters and landscapes so rich in detail you’d think they were real.

It is a film about greed, ambition and human nature in all its guises and is set against the backdrop of the oil boom in 19th century America. The tour de force that is Daniel Day Lewis absolutely smashes the role in every way possible. He is absolutely enthralling and unnerving to watch from start to finish. I’m not sure I can even fault this film…for me it’s close to perfection and it’s on my list for the simple fact, I bloody love it.

5.The Road


I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and it left me it bits. I then went to see John Hillcoat’s film adaptation and despite certain reservations, it too left me in bits…..This was all in the space of a week and a half and as a result I was left as a shell of a man. So why am I bringing it to my new isolated hell I hear you ask. Because it is perhaps one of the most emotionally powerful films I have ever seen. Plus, everyone needs to let it out every now and again……right?

The films main theme is about that unbreakable bond between a father and son. This is a strong theme and something that will resonate with every man. The post apocalyptic landscape which now encompasses them is lawless, barren and filled with amoral danger at every turn. Survival by any means is the only way. However, what strikes so hard with The Road is the fathers unflinching determination of parental duty, teaching his son right from wrong and good from bad in a world that no longer lives by these basic rules of humanity. The chemistry and relationship between Viggo Mortessen and Kodi Smit-McPhee is so strikingly real that they draw you into their plight almost immediately. Director John Hillcoat has you in the palm of his hand the entire time and while the journey has its moments of drama and tensions it is ultimately the character that shape and elevate the film to a whole new level.

6: Jaws


The movie Jaws needs no introduction as it is perhaps one of the most recognised films in history. It not only gave birth to the summer blockbuster grossing over 400 million dollars, but catapulted the young Steven Spielberg to international fame.

The film is part thriller, part action adventure and its switch in style half way through is nothing short of genius on Spielberg’s part. The cast are all note perfect in their respective roles, but as we all know, the shark is the real star of the show. Although ‘Bruce’ is rarely seen, his presence is felt through John Williams iconic musical score – and it still sends a cold shiver down my spine each time I hear it.

Jaws is on my list as not only is it perhaps one of the greatest motion pictures of all time, but it’s a sobering and effective reminder not to go into the water that surrounds my Desert Island.

7: Cast Away


Cast Away is a film I have watched tirelessly since its release. Above anything else is a personal study of self discover. Tom Hanks beautifully portrays the character of Chuck Noland through all the stages of his journey, from the initial panic of being stranded, to his then breakdown, before the acceptance and realisation that he is alone and finally to self preservation and self dependency. By the end he learns who he truly is and to watch this character develop through all his stages of grief in the film is a marvel to the acting ability of Tom Hanks.

The film is directed by the steady hand of Bob Zemekis’s and his visual style is honest and restraint in what is a multilayered, emotional experience everytime.

Surely I don’t need to spell it out why I brought this film along?

8: The Thin Red Line


Terrance Malick is a director whose pictures are rather like Marmite, you either hate them, or you love them. For me, it’s the latter. Like Kubrick, Malick has his own unique style and is said to shoot in very unorthodox ways. For example, he will explain the tone of a certain scene to his actors before filming them continuously for hours and hours until he gets the one shot he is looking for. His aim? For his actors not to force an emotion or be caught up with lines in the script, but rather he wants his actors to feel the real thing, and so films them tirelessly until that very emotion is caught naturally on camera. Accentually, he doesn’t want his actors acting; instead he wants create the most emotionally natural film he can, every single time.

The Thin Red Line is one of Malicks larger productions and whilst its huge cast may give the impression of a large scale picture, it is in-fact one of his most beautifully shot, deeply moving and intimate portals of war I have ever seen in a motion picture. It is as stunning as it is heartbreaking.



The book I have chosen to bring along is the SAS Surival Handbook. It does exactly what it says on the tin and is full of step by step instructions from trapping animals to collecting water. This coupled with the excellent CAST AWAY on dvd, has to be a winner.

Luxury Item:

paul daniels magic

I was first going to choose Paul Daniels Magic Set as my novelty item, as like the Genie in the lamp, it pretty much means you get what you want, everytime. But then I remembered if you lose the instruction manual you’re pretty much screwed, and on a desert Island that is quite likely to happen, therefore I was forced to choose….A hunting knife with a handy Flint attached. DONE!

hunting knife with flint

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Thanks again to Allan for taking the time to join the prestigious castaway list. If you would like to submit your choices and add your name to THIS LIST, please drop me an email to –

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  1. Outstanding list! Quite possibly my favourite of anyone else’s so far. I was disappointed in The Road so I wouldn’t include that (loved the book, though). Fantastic to see Carlito’s Way get a mention. That’s still my favourite from DePalma and one of my favourite crime movies. It’s up there with the best of them.


  2. Superb list, and love the detail you went into here Al. Thank you so much for joining in (and sending me the images 55 times after I kept losing them!!). Always nice to see Jared Leto sneak onto the island (Thin Red Line for the uneducated ;) )


      1. Yep, I always get upset over the ones I had to miss out on my own film list. Tough job. You did well though, such a strong list. Never seen that Spotless Mind movie though, yet it gets voted on here a lot :)


  3. Carlito’s Way AND Jaws! This list is amazing! My favorite Pacino/De Palma film and my favorite movie ever in one list with The Shining in there, too. So very cool. Totally dig this DI list. Thanks for sharing!


      1. You know, when I started this, I thought if I could get 10-15 people to take part, I would then maybe ask them to do another 8, or their 8 horror films, or 8 worst films etc when it was all finished. Yet here we are with you being the 86th person (well, 87th technically as there is a 2 for 1 further up!) and still a few more to go. So if I ever run out of people, next time I’ll ask for your 150 to take :)


  4. Great choices — lots of drama and emotion to be had on this island. Loved the selection of Eternal Sunshine, the ironic choice of Jaws, and The Shining is always a winner.


  5. Most interesting list. “Jaws” has a special place in my movie lover’s life. Professionally — I covered the location shooting of the film on Martha’s Vineyard and wound up with some interesting stories for the book yet to be written. The film itself was an event. During the shooting, stories of “Great White sightings” became news staples. The movie was and still is so very, very enjoyable. The “Think we’re gonna need a bigger boat” line has passed into movie legend. I enjoyed the original “The Thin Red Line” with Lee Marvin. Thought it captured all the elements. The remake also does the job nicely. Nice work, Allan.


    1. Thanks Gary, So you were there involved in the original shoot or do you mean you have since gone back to cover the location of the shooting? Jaws for me was one of the first films that got me excited about FILM. Its is not only The Original Blockbuster but a real cinematic achievement and a master-class in filmmaking.


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