Continuing this director showcase where we previously left off, moving on to number two of the 23 best directors in the world, an individual who brings the best out of actors and a quite consistent director creating classics and adaptions on the big screen is Frank Darabont.
His first feature film having made three different types of features before including a TV Movie “Buried Alive”, a short “The Woman in the Room” & a straight to video release“Nightshift Collection”.
His first feature film which had was nominated for 7 Oscars but shockingly not winning any at all! “The Shawshank Redemption” remains an all-time classic, nearly 20 years after its release I simply cannot get enough of this masterpiece, a bonding story over a number of years between prison inmates played by Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.
The two onscreen looks exquisite, acting as if no cameras are even around but the presence of a director is felt- Darabont, that is one his characteristics bringing out the best in actors, it is a brilliant gift in which he possesses.
Throughout this film the story flows effortlessly, each actor is fantastic in portraying their role, for a directorial debut this is certainly one of the best in recent memory, Darabont quickly stamped his mark on Hollywood but sadly not winning any awards for this film, it would remain iconic in every film fan’s record.
This would also make one the best adaptions on screen since Stephen King’s “The Shining” , directed by the equally brilliant Stanley Kubrick.
Shawshank can even make the most masculine of people shed a tear, it remains a debut benchmark that Darabont has achieved and serves as a lesson for any young aspiring filmmakers out there that a directorial debut if done brilliantly like Darabont sets the road for that directors forthcoming success.
Just when we thought that Darabont could not continue what he had started and spectators within audiences thought to themselves how he could possibly follow this up?
At approximately five years later Darabont would release yet another Stephen King adaption but an absolute gem of a powerful drama “The Green Mile”.
Darabont had done it yet again, he brought out the best in characters, their chemistry on screen and the unsettled atmosphere within the story had been achieved, receiving an R-rating (Rated 18 in UK), certain scenes were not for the faint of heart, depicting scenes of execution and unsettling emotion,
Darabont had tapped into the pure emotion of the audience, everyone had sympathised with John Coffey played phenomenally by the late Michael Clarke Duncan, we had felt equal emotions on screen, identical even, the power of Darabont had struck again.
What you notice in his last two films is that the films flow smoothly, you enjoy them and you witness magic being made on screen, having not only directed the films Darabont also likes to contribute greatly to the script, in The Green Mile set in Louisiana and with a running time of just over three hours (which pass by) this feature made the four years’ worth waiting for,
The camerawork is absolutely superb and holds your attention through the very end, the cast is likewise wonderful and the direction flawless, the marvellous actors and the peaceful yet steady pace of the film held my attention increasingly through the three hours right to the touching culmination, Frank Darabont had managed yet again to bring the best out of his actors featuring Tom Hanks, James Cromwell, David Morse amongst others,
Those who read the book would have no arguments that the characters stood out of the page and they would have no disappointments in how Frank Darabont had handled the adaption.
Shortly after he would release another film starring Jim Carrey, although not one of his best work it tells the story of a blacklisted Hollywood writer who gets into a car accident and loses his memory before then settling down in a small town where he is mistaken for a long-lost son.
Frank Darabont challenges the principles of a community before bringing them together, Jim Carrey plays his role brilliantly reminiscent of Truman, Jim Carrey plays a drama version of himself in this touching film, an underrated feature with elements of Darabont, one of his lighter films in terms of intensity, a satisfying picture with great performances yet again.
Frank Darabont had waited six years before he released anything again but his 2007 film “The Mist” had shown us what a powerhouse he is in terms of characters and how terrifying human beings can become when faced with a terrifying reality.
The Mist tells a story of a freak storm which unleashes a species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens take shelter in a supermarket fighting for their lives, but surprising as it may seem this is yet another Stephen King novel projected very magnificently on the screen.
In terms of character development this is one of the finest Darabont films since his debut, to portray the decaying timeline of certain people in this film, the characters quickly transform, not in terms of physical appearance, but in terms of psychological and mental appearance, it shows a truly disturbing reality of how unsettling we as humans can respond and adapt to a harrowing environment around us.
With most of the film showing the characters being held up in supermarket they have a limited space to work with but witnessing such a scary timeline of uncertainty in their eyes and their behaviour, the characters are even so real it’s frightening..
The Mist is an underrated marvel, the ways in which individuals handle tragedy after tragedy and the ending nothing short of astonishing which I would not reveal on here, this is a masterful and suspense filled feature which I highly recommend.
This film will make you feel unsettled as you watch it scene by scene, it is unpredictable and truly distressing, in the case that the characters you once knew on the screen have been completely disturbed by the eerie situation manifesting around them, Darabont had made a welcome return to the screen by yet birthing another Stephen King novel.
Three years would pass before we would hear anything from Frank Darabont again, but he would make an unorthodox jump onto TV where he would lend his hand on making and producing an iconic TV show, this time based on a comic book series.
“The Walking Dead” would bring the elements of the existing comic book characters but with Darabont giving his personal characteristical touch, if you had witnessed his previous films you will already be used to his style of character approach and it becomes apparent throughout the seasons of this show but In July 2011, Darabont stepped down from his position as show runner for the series.
He is currently working on a screenplay of a Godzilla reboot scheduled to be released in 2014, but don’t rule out a directorial feature of this individual as he is sure to channel another Stephen King novel in the coming years.
Frank Darabont truly knows what goes into making a character and then selecting the appropriate individual to portray that character and then getting the best out of them,
This is what makes him more than a film director his method of also writing screenplays adds to his skill of building a character from the ground up, sure enough he has an individual in mind when creating that character and he manages to keep that persistence and consistency when projecting that character on screen and manufacturers something splendid and equally vivid, a specialist filmmaker that really knows how to get to the heart of character and keep it alive, a unique film author.
“I think once you’ve finished a movie you really have to detach from it so that you can come back and watch it as an audience member..”