Alejandro Amenabar

Nicole Kidman in Amenabar's disturbing film The Others (2001)

Nicole Kidman in Amenabar's disturbing film The Others (2001)

  • Born:  1972
  • Rank:  87
  • Score:  500.60
  • Awards Note:  won 2004 Oscar for Foreign Film
  • Feature Films:  4
  • Best:  The Others
  • Worst:  Thesis

Films in Rank Order:

  1. The Others – 2001
  2. Mar Adentro – 2004
  3. Abre Los Ojos – 1997
  4. Thesis – 1996

Top 10 Director Finishes (Nighthawk Awards):

  • 2001 – 8th – The Others

At age 37 (his birthday was yesterday), Amenabar is the youngest director to make the top 100.  With 4 films he also has one of the shortest resumes (his fifth film, Agora, will be out at the end of the year).  But his talent is undeniable.  He can do fantasy / sci-fi films (Abre Los Ojos), horror films (The Others) or dramas (Mar Adentro), and he not only directs, he writes, composes and even edits.  Cameron Crowe was impressed enough with Amenabar’s second film to remake it (as Vanilla Sky), he’s already won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and he directed the only film that I had to actually leave because I was so unnerved by it.  In 2006, everyone talked about the “three amigos”, of Cuaron, Del Toro and Gonzalez Innaritu, the three Mexican filmmakers, but this young man from Chile is also part of the revival of Spanish language films that’s been taking over the world (and let’s not forget the master Almodovar).

The Others – #9 film of 2001

Good god, this film messed me up.  I have no problem with slasher films.  They’re just movies and the people will die.  But I don’t deal well with psychological horror films (The Sixth Sense had a similar impact on me, but not as pronounced).  Twice I got so unnerved by what was going on in the film that I walked to the back of the theater and ducked out for a minute or two.

The story of a woman alone in a mansion with her children (who suffer from a bizarre skin condition that precludes having direct sunlight on them), three strange caretakers come to stay with them and then the strange things keep happening.  There seem to be ghosts in the house, ghosts who are communicating, and then even inhabiting the children.  Then the husband returns from war, but is gone again.  This is a film that is all about mood and the mood is rather frightening.

The other part of this film is the fantastic performance by Nicole Kidman.  Kidman had proved she could act for years, but this was the year that Oscar finally noticed her, not for this film but for Moulin Rouge.  This was her true powerhouse performance of the year, the one she really deserved the nomination for.