Christmas DVDs: Ben-Peter Terpstra

1954. Before the age of political correctness devoured Hollywood, On The Waterfront won 8 well-deserved Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Actor). Directed by Elia Kazan (one of the great champions of free speech) it exposes the corruption of America’s union-dominated workplaces, without apologizing, without fear, but with style and some of the most unforgettable performances in screen history. Today, we have hacks like George Clooney – they had Marlon Brando, a living cigarette advertisement. Is it any wonder Australian unionists tried to stop screenings?

On The Waterfront speaks to me like no other film, undoubtedly my favourite, a masterpiece.

For a light treat, though, there’s no beating 2008’s Quantum of Solace, a comfort movie, with Daniel Craig as the pro-torture James Bond. Fast cars. Terrible pickup lines. Big guns. I mean, what’s not to like? Even Dominic Greene, the eco-friendly fundraiser, is pure, unadulterated evil. 

And don’t forget the hysterical taxi driver: “It either rains too much, or it never rains! They say the glaciers are melting. It’s like the wrath of God! And the government keeps raising taxes … I don’t know what they’re going to do about it. My grandma, may she rest in peace, told me everything …” Hilarious.

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