"If you were a sexually repressed British butler, then you were well represented in British cinema, but otherwise there was nothing for young people."
Grantland invites Paul WS Anderson
to reflect on the highlights of a 20-year directing career by picking out his favorite scenes.
The pull quote references Anderson's debut, 1994's Shopping
, a timely reflection on the British moral panic around "ram-raiding" set in a dystopian near-future analog of his Newcastle home. Since then, Anderson's work has embraced a range of economically compiled takes on the golden age of the B-movie, including the spaceborne horror of 1997's Event Horizon
- probably still his most critically well-received film - and 2008's Death Race
, a remake of the eerily prescient 1975 David Carradine/Sylvester Stallone two-hander Death Race 2000
, starring the ever-watchable Jason Statham.
Anderson remains probably best-known (and most derided by the critical congnoscenti
) for adaptations of the Mortal Kombat
, Aliens Versus Predator
and Resident Evil
video games. The last of these has grown into a money-spinning franchise starring his muse and latterly spouse, Milla (The Fifth Element) Jovovich
; Anderson returns to the director's chair for the upcoming sixth instalment.
However, Anderson's more recent films have taken a more independent bent. The Three Musketeers
, was a (relatively) original property offering a high-kicking, steampunk take on Alexander Dumas' classic novels, with Jojovich portraying Milady de Winter. And Pompeii
, in cinemas now, addresses one of the darkest moments of early Imperial Rome, based (loosely) on the account of Pliny the Younger
. The volcanic destruction of the bustling port provides the backdrop for the struggle of Milo (Game of Throne's
Kit Harington cast against type as a peerless warrior negotiating extreme heat, rather than extreme cold), a gladiator caught in a class-crossing love triangle with a corrupt senator and a beautiful merchant's daughter.