As we round down to our final entry in the 100 Movies You Need To See Before You Die feature, it's worth pointing out a couple of things.
Firstly, we left out LOADS of films. There's countless more films that you should watch and we'd literally be continuing this feature on to 200 or 300 or 400 Movies You Need To See Before You Die. We broke each part of the feature down by genre and picked, in our opinion, the cream of the crop.
There's still loads more films out there, but our picks are a good place to start. They're all essential - that's what we say you need to see them before you die.
With that in mind, our final part of the feature is thrillers and - although it's not really a genre - Irish films.
20. FATAL ATTRACTION (1987)
You've heard the term Bunny Boiler, right? This film is where it got its name from. Glenn Close plays an attractive, but mentally unstable woman who's become obsessed with Michael Douglas (really?) after a short-lived affair together. The film's not even a thriller, as such. Like Se7en, it really does veer sharply into horror territory in places. Fatal Attraction will have you on knife-edge throughout because the film's worked towards putting you ill at ease from the word go. Director Adrian Lyne, who also directed honourable Jacob's Ladder, uses lots of small visual cues here and there to put the viewer on the edge of their seat. We interviewed potential director John Carpenter some time ago about his involvement in the film and, to be honest, he wasn't a fan of the finished product and compared it to Clint Eastwood's Play Misty For Me. It's a fair comparison, but where this film differs from Eastwood's is that this has style to spare.
19. THE CONVERSATION (1974)
If you've never heard of The Conversation, don't worry. It's somewhat overlooked and it really is a shame. It was released the same year as Francis Ford Coppola's other film, The Godfather Pt. II. As such, when people talk about his early work, this always gets pushed to one side. Gene Hackman is a lonely, walled-off surveillance specialist who's hired by a shady politician to secretly record a conversation between two lovers in a crowded area. Hackman gives an incredible performance as a man who, slowly but surely, completely unravels when confronted with the realities of what he does. He worms his way into people's private moments for money. The Lives Of Others, a great Cold War-drama, completely rips off The Conversation and it's hard not to see why. It's an underrated and overlooked thriller with some amazing actors and performances.
18. MEMENTO (2000)
“Now, where was I?” Before Christopher Nolan reinvented the superhero genre and became one of the biggest directors of our generation, he began his career with Memento. Guy Pearce is Leonard, a man suffering from short-term memory loss. After his wife was raped and murdered by someone named John G., he himself was injured and finds that he can't create new memories following the event. The story winds and twists through the story as it's not shown in chronological order - although those who have it on DVD will know there's an Easter egg that allows you to watch it in order. However, it's never so confusing that you're completely lost. Memento just needs to be seen again to be completely understood. It's much more subdued and far more subtle than Nolan's later films, but there are certain flashes of Inception and The Dark Knight in there as well.
17. THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974)
In the '70s, during the Watergate scandal and in the aftermath of the two Kennedy assassinations, there was a raft of conspiracy thrillers, political thrillers and more. There were two main films that stood out. One was All The President's Men. The other was this. Warren Beatty plays a washed-up journalist who witnesses the murder of a political candidate. One by one, those present at the event are knocked off in seemingly innocent circumstances - car crash, drowning accident. When a former girlfriend who was present at the murder arrives at his house, terrified that she's next, Beatty's character sets out to find those behind. What he finds is both bizarre and more than a little terrifying. The TV series Lost referenced The Parallax View in their creepy-ass Orientation films and Matt Damon has compared The Bourne Identity to The Parallax View.
16. ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1974)
When it comes to conspiracy thrillers, it doesn't get much better than All The President's Men and the reason for that is simple - it actually happened. The Parallax View, The Conversation, Three Days Of The Condor - they all tapped into the pervasive unease in American culture, but All The President's Men was a documentary. Alan J. Pakula and Robert Redford resolved to give the film as much authenticity as possible. There's no camera moves, very little music, almost no visual flairs or flourishes - it's all as you see it, but Gordon Willis' masterful cinematography makes it so much more. The glaring eyes of Deep Throat that beam out from shadows, the dull-but-constant lights of the Washington Post, it uses such light and simple touches to guide you through one of the most complex and controversial eras of recent history - right up to the anti-climax.
15. CAPE FEAR (1991)
When The Simpsons base an entire episode on your film, you know it's a classic. This film does get overlooked as it's a remake, but it works on so many more levels than the original did. Robert DeNiro plays Max Cady, a tattooed rapist, recently released from prison. His public defender, Nick Nolte, is now living an idyllic life with his wife and teenage daughter. After Nolte botched DeNiro's defence and made sure he went to prison, DeNiro's character returns to seek vengeance on him. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film harks back to the original, as well as drawing influence from Alfred Hitcock and other 1960's thrillers. It goes on a little bit and DeNiro can be accused of, well, over-acting. Nevertheless, it's a gritty, nerve-wracking thriller and one of the best films Scorsese and DeNiro worked on together.
14. BODY HEAT (1981)
Some may dismiss Body Heat as Double Indemnity in colour. That's reductive for a good few reasons. Firstly, while Double Indemnity might have popularised the trope of the femme fatale, Body Heat brought it forward to its most explicit. Moreover, director Lawrence Kasdan utilised a far more broader visual range to tell his story; not just colour, but really transporting the audience into the sweaty backwater town where William Hurt and Kathleen Turner live. The film oozes sex out of every frame and John Barry's sultry, almost comically over-the-top score is the cherry on top of the melting ice-cream.
13. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)
Body Heat was Double Indemnity on cocaine, but Double Indemnity and director Billy Wilder were the trailblazers. When you look back at the film, so many of the tropes of the thriller and noir genre can be traced here. The venetian blinds, the music, the camera angles, even the story - as in the case of Body Heat and about a dozen others - became the very foundation of the genre of noir-thriller. Decadent, sultry, it's still just as powerful today.
12. HELL OR HIGH WATER (2016)
Truth be told, Hell Or High Water isn't so much a thriller as it is a Western. Nevertheless, the story it tells could be transported to just about any particular part of the world and it'd have resonance. The film follows two brothers, disposed from their land, who are robbing banks across Texas in an effort to raise the money needed to clear the family debt. Jeff Bridges and a criminally underrated Gil Birmingham are two near-retired Texas Rangers who are sent out after them. While it follows a simple enough path, the performances from the cast and the sheer emotional weight on the film is what makes a modern classic, about the world is changing underneath us all but that it remains very much the same. As Gil Birmingham's character points out in one scene, people have been driven off their land since people came to the US. It's just happening again.
11. MARATHON MAN (1976)
The 1970's really was the decade for thrillers. You had great actors at their prime and directors were given far more leeway than they currently have now. Dustin Hoffman is 'Babe' Levy, a college student who is drawn into a plot by a former Nazi war criminal to smuggle diamonds into America. His brother, Roy Scheider, is not a businessman as he believes but is, in fact, a secret agent tasked with aiding the Nazi war criminal in his efforts. Why? Well, we'd be giving the whole thing away. Laurence Olivier, oft considered one of the greatest Shakesperean actors, is the Nazi war criminal known only as Doctor Szell. The centrepiece of the film involves Hoffman being tortured by Olivier with dentist equipment, which in itself became a mainstay in popular culture references.
10. THE CRYING GAME (1992)
Directed by one of the leading Irish directors, Neil Jordan's thriller covers the Irish experience in England, terrorism, homophobia, trans-gender issues and Boy George. Stephen Rea, a regular collaborator with Jordan, plays Fergus. A troubled IRA operative, he's involved in the kidnap and murder of a young British solider, played by Forrest Whittaker. Consumed by guilt at what he's done, Rea seeks out Whittaker's wife, a cabaret singer who's hiding a secret. The film would win Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars that year.
9. THE GENERAL (1998)
John Boorman's take on Martin Cahill might have been taken as sympathetic by some, but there's no denying its unique view. Shot in black-and-white and with a smoky jazz soundtrack, few would have expected someone like Boorman to take on the film. What's more, Brendan Gleeson's performance as the man himself was something of a shock. By all accounts, Gleeson was a stock character actor up until then. Here, he was given a real chance to showcase his abilities. Imbuing Cahill with a warped sense of honour and humanity, Gleeson made the crime lord relatable and, believe it or not, likeable.
8. THE SNAPPER (1989)
The first of Roddy Doyle's adaptations, The Snapper was released originally as a TV movie before it gained a theatrical release. Set in North Dublin in the 1980's and telling the story of Sharon Curley and an unwanted pregnancy, it's since become a national treasure and can be quoted readily by any Dubliner. Examining Irish attitudes towards sex ("I suppose a ride's out of the question?"), contraception as well as marriage, a film about pregnancy hasn't been this funny since.
7. HUNGER (2008)
Michael Fassbender's performances are often marked by serious commitment and a real embodiment of who he's playing. Playing Bobby Sands, one of the IRA prisoners who began a hunger strike at the Maze, Fassbender's performance was matched only by Liam Cunningham as the priest who tries to dissuade him from the protest. Directed by Steve McQueen, who would later direct Fassbender in Shame and 12 Years A Slave, it's as disturbing and pointed as anything McQueen has done since then.
6. THE GUARD (2011)
Brendan Gleeson rarely gets recognised for the incredible range he can portray. He's played villains, jokesters, Greek kings and more. Here, in The Guard, he plays, well, a guard. Fond of blow and hookers, Gleeson's character lives by his own rules and enjoys himself whenever he can. The Guard is laced with pitch-black humour and is raucously funny throughout, not the least of which is helped by Don Cheadle, Mark Strong and a host of Irish talent. The whip-smart dialogue by John Michael McDonagh, the razor-sharp comedy and its simple plot make for one of Ireland's most enjoyable comedies.
5. A DATE FOR MAD MARY (2016)
It might seem almost like a cliche to say it, but Irish cinema has come in leaps and bounds in the past ten years or so and has matured beyond introspective stories into the kind of films that can be from anywhere. The Young Offenders and A Date For Mad Mary are the two best examples of this. It's almost impossible to think of either film, A Date For Mad Mary especially, that could have been made twenty years ago. Seana Kerslake, in her breakout role as 'Mad' Mary McArdle, imbued the film with a strong central performance whilst Darren Thornton worked wonders with the camera and with the screenplay to make something funny, original and daring.
4. WHAT RICHARD DID (2012)
Although Jack Reynor is now a familiar name in film, he wasn't always so. Nor, in fact, was Lenny Abrahamson. In the title role of Richard, Jack Reynor gave one of the most powerful performances of 2012 and announced himself as a talent to be taken seriously. Although it claims to be not based on the Annabel case, it's hard not to watch What Richard Did and draw comparisons to it. Dark, unsettling and a truly riveting performance by Reynor, What Richard Did made for an unforgettable experience.
3. ONCE (2006)
Whether or not you're a fan of The Frames or Glen Hansard, Once was a unique take on the musical genre and, in a way, revitalised the entire genre itself. It's had a legion of supporters - Steven Spielberg, for one - and is now a successful Broadway show. What makes Once so warm and inviting is that it never feels contrived. It looks like the Dublin we all know and love. John Carney's direction is confident and assured; the camera is simply allowed to take in all the warmth and joy of each scene.
2. IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (1993)
Daniel Day-Lewis reteamed with Jim Sheridan for one of the most emotionally evocative films of the 1990's and perhaps the most politically-charged Irish film since... well, ever. Playing Gerry Conlon, the wrongly-accused leader of the Guildford Four, Day-Lewis gives another powerhouse performance. Alongside Emma Thompson and Pete Postlethwaite, the film gives a stark view on British procedures against inmates during the 1970's, as well as British involvement in the North itself. Nominated for seven Oscars, it's one of the finest courtroom dramas ever made.
1. THE COMMITMENTS (1991)
"I don't know why you bother. Everything's shite since Roy Orbison died.” The Commitments is replete with any number of instantly quotable lines. What's more, however, is that it's a perfect snapshot of Ireland in that time period. The clothes, the music, the general shittiness - it's all there for everyone to see. What made The Commitments and, indeed, all of Roddy Doyle's film adaptations so great was that they never shied away from showing Ireland as anything other than what it was. It wasn't Skellig Michael's endless beauty or the mighty halls of Rock Of Cashel, it was people being able to rip the piss out of one another with laser precision. It was as truthful a portrait of this country as we've ever seen.