5 Underrated Directors

Australian born director Peter Weir, one of the industries living legends

Australian born director Peter Weir, one of the industries living legends

List compiled by Eddie on 27/07/2018

In an industry jam-packed with uncountable numbers of filmmaker’s, it’s understandable that many director’s get lost in translation.

Below is a list of director’s who’ve gone about their business with less fanfare and public adoration than many of their compatriots and remain relatively unknown in a general public sense.

All are filmmaker’s of unique and varying abilities and traits, and deserve credit for their often brilliant and noteworthy pieces of work.

Happy reading and happy watching!

5. Shane Meadows

Meadows at work on one of his This Is England TV spin off series, This Is England 90

Meadows at work on one of his This Is England TV spin off series, This Is England 90

Best film – This Is England

Films of note – A Room For Romeo Brass, Dead Man’s Shoes, Somers Town, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands, The Stone Roses: Made of Stone

One of Britain’s greatest ever directors, who also constantly flies under the radar, Shane Meadows is a filmmaker who possesses a unique and emotionally resonate power and a filmmaker who often gives voice to the working class of his home country. His extensive work on both the This is England movie and follow up TV runs is one of the modern eras most successfully constructed character driven dramas, yet his name still is not known within the industry like it should be.

4. Rian Johnson

Johnson along with his star Joseph Gordon-Levitt on set of the Sci-Fi Looper

Johnson along with his star Joseph Gordon-Levitt on set of the Sci-Fi Looper

Best filmBrick

Films of note – The Brothers Bloom, Looper, Star Wars: Episode VIII

Garnering huge attention from the industry with his Joseph Gordon-Levitt starrer Brick and then losing fans with his more whimsical follow up The Brothers Bloom, some started to question the ability of Rian Johnson as a new talent, but his fun sci-fi Looper plus some of Breaking Bad’s very best episodes dispelled those fears, even though his a movie maker whose name would not be well known amongst the general populace, outside of those rabid Star Wars fanboy’s who found Johnson’s work on The Last Jedi subpar.

3. Walter Hill

Walter Hill and his crew shot the cult classic Southern Comfort

Walter Hill and his crew shot the cult classic Southern Comfort

Best filmThe Warriors

Films of note – Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs., Streets of Fire, Brewster’s Millions, Trespass, Red Heat

While his film’s aren’t often works of art, Walter Hill certainly knows how to give the audience a great time. Turning his hand to many a cult film and also being involved with many other quality productions behind the scenes (including the ground-breaking Alien), Hill is one of the industry’s great unsung heroes and a director who provided us with some of the late 70’s and 80’s greatest hits.

2. Peter Weir

Peter Weir braved the high seas when filming the Russell Crowe starrer Master and Commander

Peter Weir braved the high seas when filming the Russell Crowe starrer Master and Commander

Best filmMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Films of note – Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, Witness, The Year of Living Dangerously, Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show

The Australian born director may’ve been nominated for 6 Oscars throughout his career (4 for directing) but his name is rarely mentioned in mainstream movie discussions or even in his home country. Producing quality works on home soil for many a year before successfully translating that to an even grander career in Hollywood, Peter Weir is a filmmaker who seems to care for his art and medium, yet perhaps doesn’t play the game enough to draw the attention his fellow master filmmaker’s get.

1. Frank Darabont

At work on The Shawshank Redemption - Darabont and his cast created a genuine cinema classic

At work on The Shawshank Redemption – Darabont and his cast created a genuine cinema classic

Best film – The Shawshank Redemption

Films of note – The Green Mile, The Majestic, The Mist

It’s somewhat sad we’ve never got to see too much of Frank Darabont the filmmaker but it’s undeniable that his influence on the modern era of film’s looms large. His feature film debut was the universally loved and adored The Shawshank Redemption and while only three feature length film’s have followed, they’ve all been quality pieces of filmmaking and without Darabont its unlikely so many millions of viewers would be enjoying The Walking Dead as they do as Darabont was a key reason behind its inception, even down to directing its famous pilot episode. His name may not be recognisable too many but we can all be thankful Darabont has shared his visions with us over these many years, even though we would’ve all loved to have seen more!

Honourable mentions – Richard Donner (The Goonies), Shane Carruth (Upstream Color), David Mackenzie (Starred Up), Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)

Who are the directors you feel are undervalued by the public? If you’ve got some names and examples let me know in the comments below!

6 responses to “5 Underrated Directors

  1. Thought provoking post and, yes, all of these directors are great examples of overlooked talent, some within the film community and some within public notoriety.
    I would add Shane Black to that list. I suspect the upcoming Predator will be his make or break outing and it is a big deal, but Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was horribly underrated and under seen and The Nice Guys, while a hit critically, was pretty much ignored at the box office. Of course he got Iron Man 3–some people like it a lot, some were disappointed (I haven’t seen it)–so he’s up and coming but it should not have taken this long for him to get his big opportunities.

    • Your right about Predator. I just read today that they are doing more re-shoots which is quite concerning but I am really hoping that the movie works out well.
      My gut feel says it may struggle at the box office regardless though, just not sure there is as big of a market for a new Predator film as the studio may think.
      E

  2. Excellent post! David Lowery is also an underrated director. “A Ghost Story” and “Ain’t them Bodies Saints” are a few of my favorite films, and they’re both fairly unknown. I’m really looking forward to his next film, “The Old Man and the Gun”, which already looks great.

  3. This list is great. I grew up in the 80’s with some of the great Peter Weir movies transforming how I thought about film (and film soundtrack – The Year of Living Dangerously, I still get shivers).

    • Fantastic to hear! I really hope we get to see him make another film, its been far to long and he is getting on a bit in age!

      For me his work on Master and Commander was something truly special.
      E

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