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Rising To The Occasion: Ben Wheatley's Cinematic Baker's Dozen
Ian Schultz , March 17th, 2016 07:32

Ahead of the release of his JG Ballard adaptation High-Rise, director Ben Wheatley talks Ian Schultz through his 13 all-time favourite films


The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984)

It’s joined with The Thing for me. It’s an incredibly economic, stripped-down, clean Hollywood movie. He does those shots: people look at stuff, and you see what they’re looking at, and you know exactly. I would join that to Seven Samurai as well. The world is totally clear, the action feels like it has gravity and weight, and everything happens for a reason, yet it goes at a breakneck speed without resorting to confusing the audience as to where things are. I mean, I would consider the car chases technically some of the best car chases, even better than the ones where they had even more money in Terminator 2.

Are you of the opinion that the sequel is like an inferior popcorn version of the original?

I liked the second one. I loved it and saw it when it came out. I suppose you can’t underestimate what the FX work meant at that point. It was imagery that never had been seen before, and it was a moment in FX cinema where it was literally like magic to see him walking through those bars and then coming out as a CG shiny metal thing. It was incredible. It took a long time for the rest of cinema to catch up. But once Cameron lays out his stall people follow. I really like Avatar. I had no trouble with the plot. It doesn't matter. What is interesting about that movie is the surfaces of things: the plants waving, the bark on the trees, and the drab olive of the plane. That’s what those movies are about. The stories are kind of irrelevant. That’s what you see in modern action cinema: it ends up meeting abstract cinema on the other side.