Foreign Directors And Their English-Language Debuts: 4 Contemporary Films Which Certainly Didn’t Disappoint

1. Snowpiercer (2013).

A post-apocalyptic ice age has caused humankind’s last remaining survivors to inhabit a supertrain which continually traverses the globe. With the future of humankind at stake, it is the task of one man (Chris Evans) to lead a revolt and take control of the train. 

An adaptation of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Bong Joon-ho’s (Mother, Memories of Murder, The Host) stylish English-language debut is a glimpse of a worrying, dystopian future in which human beings have reverted back to their most primitive and barbaric, segregating whom they believe to be the lowest in society.

Leon The Professional 2. Léon: The Professional (1994).

A 12-year-old girl (Natalie Portman) is taken under the wing of her shy neighbour (Jean Reno), who lives down the hall, after her entire family are gunned down by a group of corrupt police officers. When it becomes apparent that the altruistic man moonlights as a hired hitman, she begins, much to the reluctance of the man, to learn his deadly trade in order to avenge the deaths of her family.

Luc Besson’s (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, The Big Blue) Léon: The Professional is nothing short of blistering and masterful in its pursuit of being a tour de force in cinema, the titular character of which is unassuming yet quietly menacing throughout.

Stoker 3. Stoker (2013).

India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is attempting to come to terms with her father’s passing, but the arrival of her uncanny, albeit charming, uncle (Matthew Goode) — of whom she has never heard — soon renders India’s everyday life even more troublesome, with India suspecting that his sudden appearance has ulterior motives.

Directed by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, The Handmaiden, Lady Vengeance) and written by Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), Stoker is a deliciously dark, tormenting exposé of one dysfunctional family’s attempt to move on from a death in the family.

Funny Games 2007 4. Funny Games (2007).

A family at their lakeside holiday home are inexplicably terrified by two young, psychotic men whose intentions are deeply disturbed and ultimately violent.

Like much of Michael Haneke’s filmography (Hidden, The White Ribbon), Funny Games chooses to confuse, taunt and distress both the characters and the viewer by blurring the lines between reality and fiction, breaking the fourth wall, and subjecting all parties to extreme manipulation. This will mess with your mind.