10 Best Nicolas Roeg Movies, Ranked

Nicolas Roeg was an English director who hit his inventive peak within the Seventies. He began as a cinematographer earlier than transitioning to directing with the Mick Jagger-starring Efficiency in 1970. From there, he rapidly made a reputation for himself along with his darkish, violent narratives in addition to his fragmented and disorienting visible model, including disruptive editing. His most well-known motion pictures are his influential horror Do not Look Now, outback thriller Walkabout, and the Roald Dahl adaptation The Witches.

Whereas not all of Roeg’s motion pictures had been profitable, there isn’t any denying his daring and provocative method to storytelling, particularly for the time. Even when critics did not at all times respect him, he influenced many administrators that adopted, together with Danny Boyle, Steven Soderbergh, Christopher Nolan, and Edgar Wright. Not for nothing, Donald Sutherlandonce described Roeg as a “fearless visionary”. These are the best of his motion pictures, ranked.

10 ‘Observe 29’

Launched: 1988

Picture through Island Photos

Linda Henry (Theresa Russell) is a depressed girl dwelling in a small American city. She remains to be haunted by her being pregnant at age 15, after which she gave the newborn up for adoption. She desires of getting one other youngster however her husband (Christopher Lloyd) is extra curious about his job, mistress, and mannequin trains. Linda’s life is shaken up after she meets a mysterious younger man named Martin (Gary Oldman), who suggests that he’s her long-lost son. Linda begins spending time with him, however he reveals himself to be manipulative, virtually monstrous.

Observe 29 is a film that at all times retains the viewer just a bit off steadiness. The border between actuality and delusion, specifically, is hazy. It is the sort of bleak story that might not be all that accessible to newcomers, nevertheless it’s price trying out for the loathsome, slimy efficiency from Oldman, then initially of his profession.

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9 ‘Eureka’

Launched: 1983

Gene Hackman and Therese Russell in Eureka
Picture through United Artist

Gene Hackman stars on this psychological drama as Jack McCann, a gold prospector who strikes it wealthy within the Canadian Yukon in the course of the Klondike Gold Rush of the Nineteen Twenties. His fortune brings him no peace of thoughts, nevertheless, as he turns into paranoid that his daughter (Theresa Russell) and her husband (Rutger Hauer) try to use him. On the similar time, a gangster (Mickey Rourke) seeks to grab management of Jack’s Caribbean island for a on line casino.

Admittedly, that is one thing of an odd premise. Maybe consequently, Eureka was a colossal box office bomb, grossing simply $123,572 within the U.S. in opposition to an $11m funds. However, the film has its defenders. Danny Boyle, for instance, declared it to be Hackman’s all-time greatest efficiency. “He’s by no means higher than he’s in Eureka. For those who can think about a person who has every part and he simply performs it as a man who has nothing,” Boyle said.

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8 ‘Two Deaths’

Launched: 1995

Michael Gambon and Sônia Braga embrace in Two Deaths.
Picture through BBC movies

Two Deaths is a dialogue-driven drama set in Romania in 1989, throughout a time of social turbulence. It unfolds within the house of a British physician named Daniel (Michael Gambon), who gathers his associates collectively for a cocktail party. Through the meal, he discusses his life and previous, making stunning revelations about his relationship along with his housekeeper Ana (Sônia Braga). He confesses that he has manipulated her for years, holding a specific secret over her involving a person she as soon as cherished. Within the course of, Daniel has basically turned her right into a slave.

His company are shocked, however his radical candor encourages them to make intense confessions of their very own. Themes of intercourse and energy come up time and again, with parallels to the roiling political state of affairs outdoors. It is the sort of film that can depart many viewers scratching their heads and questioning what it was all for, however the legendary Gambon is at all times watchable

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7 ‘Insignificance’

Launched: 1985

Therese Russell holding a flashlight in Insignificance.
Picture through Palace Photos

“So long as I preserve considering, I come to grasp. That method, I’d method some reality.” Tailored from a play by Terry Johnson, Insignificance imagines an opportunity assembly between 4 of the largest names of the Nineteen Fifties: Marilyn Monroe (Theresa Russell), Albert Einstein (Michael Emil), Joe DiMaggio (Gary Busey), and Senator Joseph McCarthy (Tony Curtis). They’re gathered collectively one night time in a New York Metropolis resort room, the place they have interaction in shocking conversations and study that they’re maybe extra alike than they suppose.

Insignificance is Roeg’s assertion on the character of fame. He examines these figures, together with flashbacks to their childhoods, to see why they wished it and what it has accomplished to them. As soon as once more, that is the sort of film that will really feel like model over substance, or a group of sturdy performances searching for some extent. However, intelligent writing and stellar acting carry this formidable undertaking over the end line.

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6 ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’

Launched: 1976

David Bowie looking at a light pole in The Man Who Fell to Earth
Picture through British Lion Movies

This offbeat sci-fi is notable for being the primary starring function for David Bowie, then already established as a musician. He performs Thomas Jerome Newton, an extraterrestrial who arrives on Earth with superior know-how to avoid wasting his drought-ridden house planet. Posing as a human, Newton turns into a profitable industrialist however is more and more disconnected from humanity. Newton’s alien id turns into more and more perilous as he grapples with human vices, significantly alcoholism, and faces scrutiny from the federal government.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is an erotic and emotionally charged work, with significantly intense scenes between Newton and his human lover Mary-Lou (Sweet Clark). Roeg emphasizes it all of the extra with unconventional storytelling strategies, conjuring up a surreal and otherworldly environment. On account of these components, the movie rapidly grew to become a cult basic, influencing later motion pictures like Jonathan Glazer‘s Under the Skin. Christopher Nolan has also said that Bowie’s mesmerizing efficiency right here led him to solid him as Nikola Tesla in The Prestige.

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5 ‘Efficiency’

Launched: 1970

Mick Jagger in Performance
Picture through Warner Bros.

Efficiency was Roeg’s characteristic debut, co-directed with Donald Cammell. It’s an experimental crime film centering on Chas (James Fox), a London gangster who kills one among his associates (Anthony Valentine) in an altercation. Chas pretends to be a musician and hides out within the house of Turner (Mick Jagger), and his lovers. Turner is a reclusive former rock star who claims to be uninspired, having ‘misplaced his demon’. Over time, Chas surprisingly finds a spot on this odd surroundings. Nevertheless, his felony associates proceed making an attempt to trace him down.

As with The Man Who Fell to Earth, Efficiency acquired a cult following. It isn’t onerous to see why. That is an avant-garde affair, with clearly meta components just like the casting of Jagger alongside psychedelic visuals, a nonlinear narrative, and eclectic musical sequences. In explicit, some commentators have seen Efficiency‘s use of music as a forerunner to music movies.Quentin Tarantino, for instance, called it “among the finest rock motion pictures of all time”.

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4 ‘The Witches’

Launched: 1990

Anjelica Huston in The Witches 1990
Picture through Warner Bros.

The Witches is Roeg’s adaptation of the basic kids’s ebook by Roald Dahl. The primary character is a younger boy named Luke (Jasen Fishers) who learns a couple of secret conference of witches whereas staying at a seaside resort along with his grandmother (Mai Zetterling). There, The Grand Excessive Witch (Anjelica Huston) unveils her sinister plan to show all kids into mice by utilizing a magical potion. It is as much as Luke and his associates to thwart it.

Right here, Roeg skillfully walks the knife edge between scary and too scary, serving up memorable particular results just like the inexperienced vapor and, after all, The Grand Excessive Witch’s unsettling look. Huston’s make-up took six hours to use, together with prosthetics and a mechanized claw. A number of the narrative deviations from the supply materials had been controversial, however general, followers embraced the movie. Certainly, considerably unusually for a Roeg movie, The Witches obtained rave evaluations from critics on launch. Nevertheless, Roald Dahl famously disliked it, calling the movie “completely appalling”.

The Witches

Launch Date
February 16, 1990

Nicolas Roeg

Angelica Huston


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3 ‘Dangerous Timing: A Sensual Obsession’


Art Garfunkel and Harvey Keitel as Alec and Inspector Netusil in Bad Timing
Picture through Rank Movie Distributors

“You inform the reality a couple of lie so superbly.” When Dangerous Timing begins, a younger American girl in Vienna named Milena Flaherty (Theresa Russell) has simply tried suicide, and police inspector Netusil (Harvey Keitel) is making an attempt to grasp the state of affairs. He begins interrogating those that know her. By flashbacks, we study in regards to the incendiary affair between Milena and psychoanalyst Alex Linden (Artwork Garfunkel). The movie slowly peels again the layers of their relationship, revealing neuroses, jealousy, and violence.

Essentially, Dangerous Timing is a bruising and suitably non-linear portrait of a dysfunctional romance. The film was polarizing on release, with some praising its boldness and experimental edge and others discovering it to be insubstantial and in poor style. Regardless, that is Roeg’s modifying at its most intricate, alongside one among his hardest-hitting storylines. To not point out, the soundtrack could also be the perfect out of his entire filmography, that includes stirring songs by Billie Vacation, Tom Waits, and the Who.

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2 ‘Do not Look Now’

Launched: 1973

John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) in a canal in Venice from 'Don't Look Now'
Picture through Paramount

John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie), a husband and spouse from England, try to rebuild their lives in Venice after the tragic loss of life of their daughter. Nevertheless, there they’re adopted by unusual, ominous occurrences. A self-proclaimed psychic (Hilary Mason) claims that the Baxters’ deceased youngster is making an attempt to contact them. A serial killer stalks town, John begins to see individuals who shouldn’t be there, and he’s haunted by a mysterious determine in pink.

Do not Look Now marries thriller tropes with a psychologically refined and sexually charged research of a pair. The story is complemented by placing photos and wealthy symbolism. Plus, Roeg deploys his signature fragmentary modifying model. The result’s a horror film about familial grief, whose DNA lingers on in movies like Antichrist and Hereditary. Edgar Wright referred to as it a “horror masterpiece”, saying, “Colours, shapes, patterns, motion and sound all merge to create a superbly nightmarish palindrome.”

Do not Look Now

Launch Date
October 16, 1973

Nicolas Roeg


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1 ‘Walkabout’

Launched: 1971

Nicholas Roeg's Walkabout
Picture through twentieth Century Fox

“Are we superheroes?” “I do not know. I hope so.” Walkabout is actually a survival film set in the Australian wilderness. The story begins shockingly, as a distraught father (John Meillon) makes an attempt to kill his two kids earlier than turning the gun on himself. The youngsters, a teenage lady (Jenny Agutter) and her youthful brother (Luc Roeg) are left alone within the outback. They set out on a journey by means of this harsh and gorgeous panorama, the place hazard lurks round each nook. Ultimately, they cross paths with an Aboriginal boy (David Gulpilil) who turns into their information.

Narratively, Roeg performs with time in inventive methods, and crafts some incredible montage sequences. These visuals emphasize the themes of tradition conflict, communication, the strain between traditions and modernity, and the oneness of human nature.Roeg himself calledWalkabout “a easy story about life and being alive, not coated with sophistry however addressing probably the most primary human themes; delivery, loss of life, mutability”.


Launch Date
July 1, 1971

Nicolas Roeg

Jenny Agutter , David Gulpilil


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