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The Prime 10 Single-Character Motion pictures

Robert Redford in All Is Lost

Motion pictures are a collaborative artwork kind. It takes scores of individuals to take a movie from conception to the display, most of whom you by no means see.

So it’s an actual accomplishment when a movie provides you a way of solitude, of loneliness or isolation, as a result of that’s the biggest of fictions; there was no precise solitude taking place when the digicam was operating (even the lens gives some sense of observer and noticed).

I’m thinking about movies that for a good portion of their operating instances have solely a single actor in entrance of the digicam. Tales about individuals alone, reduce off from society by choice or misfortune. How lengthy are you able to inform a narrative that means with out utterly abandoning the language of cinema? Is it even attainable for a personality to reside and breathe all on their very own?

Earlier than you ask, no, we’re not going to be speaking about Solid AwayAlong with it being the boringly apparent selection, everybody forgets that the complete first and third acts of that movie are utterly full of individuals. The second act gives an incredible instance of the sort of filmmaking I’m speaking about, however let’s give choice to the movies that basically go for it, that completely decrease the looks by different characters and provides over the body as a complete to a single character.

Such movies are outstanding artifacts. They succeed of their targets to various levels, however they accomplish that inside an enchanting set of constraints, some technical, some on the storytelling, however largely (I’d argue) on the casting: What sort of actor has the distinctive mixture of craft and magnetism to carry our consideration all by themselves?

International Rating: 42,758
Wins 37% of its matchups
18 customers have ranked it 14 instances
0 have it at #1
0 have it of their high 20

A wierd and finally unsuccessful movie (each artistically and commercially), Whoopi Goldberg’s solitary Robin-Williams-does-Godot-esque tragicomedy nonetheless deserves a wider consciousness than it at present has (no less than based on the Flickchart globals). Apart from transient single-minute appearances by Elliot Gould, John Heard, and Amy Wright, Whoopi owns the whole lot of the post-title display time, and he or she doesn’t shirk from holding our consideration.

Okay, she’s not very humorous, however apparently director Rip Torn(!) thought it was greatest to hobble certainly one of America’s nice improvisers by chaining her to a considerably delicate script. The movie fails to correctly set the character’s stakes or why she is so constrained on this room, and the entire enterprise finally ends up feeling like a pupil movie (which is simply miserable contemplating the expertise in entrance of and behind the digicam).

However it could be utterly unwatchable if it was anybody apart from Whoopi up there. The tip result’s a worthwhile expertise, if just for the “experiment” of all of it.

International Rating: 42,044
Wins 50% of its matchups
87 customers have ranked it 1398 instances
0 have it at #1
4 have it of their high 20

This French movie suffers in rating on the time of this writing due solely to its relative youth; I assure you this may rise, resulting from its distinctive mixture of constrained surroundings, science fiction setting, and the real thriller surrounding our heroine’s state of affairs. Liz, performed by the peerlessly solid Melanie Laurent, awakes in a hyperbaric chamber which is operating out of (you guessed it) oxygen. Extra so than any of our different entries on this checklist, she is confronted not solely with surviving the place she is, and hopefully getting out, but in addition in understanding how she received there and who she is.

This plot-convenient amnesia that powers the thriller permits her to completely stand in for the viewers as we uncover and “bear in mind” alongside along with her in real-time, placing the items collectively and making an attempt to unravel the Rubik’s dice of loss of life forward of the ticking clock. In some ways, that is the purest instance of a Hitchcock-style mystery-thriller ever made, since its built-in constraints remove a lot of the chaff that may clog such movies. Oxygen is lean and imply.

The Noah (1975) | MUBI

International Rating: 36,339
Wins 32% of its matchups
8 customers have ranked it 65 instances
0 have it at #1
1 have it of their high 20

An obscure movie thought for many years to have been misplaced however now out there on YouTube (like the remainder of human civilization), The Noah represents the trope of “the final man on earth”, which powers many different virtually solitary movies (I Am LegendThe Final Man on Earth). However most such movies lack the “self-discipline” (or stubbornness, or snobbery) to actually simply have “the final man” on the display, and that’s it. The plot’s conflicts all come within the type of hallucinations which we hear however by no means see: characters are launched and fade away, in accordance with the development of (what we finally perceive to be) Noah’s oncoming insanity.

Robert Strauss magnificently owns the display as Noah, equal components naturalistic and theatrical, as all of us our after we assume nobody is watching. The message of the movie echoes all through all of the movies on this checklist, which is that civilization and human society are a sort of illness that we feature with us, even after we’re alone. Ordinarily we exist in a wholesome and considerably balanced opposition to the forces of civilization, however when these forces are taken away, what occurs to all these components of us whose function is to be that opposition? What now are they in opposition to?

International Rating: 5754
Wins 47% of its matchups
968 customers have ranked it 20,681 instances
0 have it at #1
7 have it of their high 20

After a nearly-disqualifying prologue throughout which Blake Energetic is pushed to the seashore by a chatty native, the remainder of the movie is actually simply her battle of wits and nerves with a terrific white shark whose feeding territory she’s surfed into. (Till an equally nearly-disqualifying coda when she returns along with her household.)

I’ve given The Shallows the best leeway when it comes to the principles of this checklist for a number of causes. First, it is a uncommon female-led instance of this subgenre. Energetic was impressed to take this half by her husband Ryan Reynolds‘s expertise making Buried (which we’ll speak about in a second), and this kinds a pleasant balancing counterpart to that different movie. (Any pageant programmers on the market?)

Second, it is a uncommon non-claustrophobic instance of this subgenre; nice cinematographic effort is made to strengthen the huge distances of open water that encompass our bleeding heroine on all sides. We’re constrained to a single character by area as a substitute of by partitions, an enchanting inversion.

Third, I needed to acknowledge this movie for managing to stay “merely” a Hollywood motion/journey film, with out drowning itself in darkness or inventive self-importance. Of all of the movies on this checklist, this is just one that could possibly be known as “enjoyable,” the one one smelling of popcorn. The remaining odor of sweat and recycled dangerous breath.

International Rating: 3754
Wins 51% of its matchups
205 customers have ranked it 5176 instances
1 have it at #1
1 have it of their high 20

With Secret Honor we veer dangerously near a “filmed stage monologue” for the quite simple cause that the movie was certainly primarily based on a one-person play. However with Robert Altman behind the digicam, you will get a movie whatever the supply materials.

The construction may be very easy: a fictionalized Richard Nixon, accompanied by a bottle of whiskey and a loaded revolver for some cause, rants about America. However this isn’t merely the whining of a power-mad charlatan who received discovered; that will be straightforward sufficient to jot down. As an alternative, playwrights Freed and Stone weave a juicy deep-state conspiracy story in between the alternating poles of Nixon’s anger at himself and anger at America.

Nixon is ostensibly dictating a memoir, however what he’s actually doing is cleaning his soul with the fireplace of bitter misanthropy. The story that he tells, in regards to the synthetic development of the battle in Vietnam as a smoke display for his handlers’ heroin empire, is both his final confession of stooge-hood after a lifetime of luxuriating in energy, or it’s one final large lie that he hopes to make use of to lastly persuade America to like him.

Pauline Kael stated that seeing Philip Baker Corridor‘s efficiency as Nixon was “like seeing the person on the tapes,” and that’s the greatest description of the aim of this movie: to personify the ogre that all of us finally internalized from the tales. This might not have been carried out with a display full of individuals (although it has been tried). We have to see him lonely and alone, an impotent ball of rage locked in a basement someplace, screaming about Kissinger, the one viewers being yet one more slowly turning reel of tape.

International Rating: 2853
Wins 51% of its matchups
892 customers have ranked it 20,288 instances
1 have it at #1
16 have it of their high 20

As if there have been any doubt about Robert Redford‘s credentials as a film star. Not solely will we not have another individuals, we’ve solely 51 phrases of dialog. All the pieces else is simply Redford’s Utah-leather face making an attempt to repair his boat.

It sounds virtually painfully “indie,” a kind of self-congratulatory “idea” movies that succeed solely in as a lot as they succeed of their idea. However this movie succeeds as a movie, pushed by the very actual, and life like, disasters that include open-ocean boating, in addition to the moment pathos and reference to our good buddy Robert Redford. At this level in his profession, no display time must be spent for him to “win us over to his facet” ; we’re already “on board,” and we’re involved about his well-being, proper alongside him.

International Rating: 2651
Wins 49% of its matchups
2638 customers have ranked it 45,539 instances
4 have it at #1
44 have it of their high 20

From an period earlier than Ryan Reynolds started to tack strongly into comedy, we’ve this entry from the height(?) of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, when the sordid and uncomfortable privatization of the occupation introduced with it new alternatives for battle and new sorts of tales to inform. Reynolds’s character awakes from being IED’d to seek out himself buried in a wood coffin, his captors calling on a cellphone demanding a ransom he is aware of neither his nation nor his firm pays.

At instances, the urgency of the state of affairs works towards the movie’s have to make some touch upon the ethical and geopolitical points at play. Reynolds’s efficient projection of his terror satirically strips away all want for consideration of any components that lie exterior this wood field.

This movie units the document on this checklist for the smallest sq. footage of set afforded to our lone-character, and it does strictly adhere to a “no different characters within the body” coverage (although some do seem in a cellphone video). As such, it’s a tribute to Reynolds’s star energy and private magnetism (in addition to Rodrigo Cortés‘s capability to speak it) that the movie succeeds in being a gripping and emotionally related movie.

International Rating: 1979
Wins 54% of its matchups
1346 customers have ranked it 28,676 instances
1 have it at #1
36 have it of their high 20

In comparison with among the different movies in our checklist, the circumstances that isolate Tom Hardy in Locke are comparatively mundane. Locke is driving from Birmingham to London to be current on the delivery of a kid whom he fathered throughout a one-night stand. The on-screen motion consists of thirty-six speakerphone calls that happen inside his BMW X5, calls which spell the dissolution of his marriage, his profession, and any sense of self he had earlier than he began this drive.

This can be a unhappy and morose movie, a tragic household drama that because of the pervasive telecommunications of our period now can happen even whenever you’re alone. Once more we’re reliant on the star’s magnetism to carry our consideration, however we’re additionally actually in fixed movement for the whole lot of the movie, which supplies even the mushy and nonetheless scenes a way of path and urgency.

127 Hours Movie Review & Film Summary (2010) | Roger Ebert - Rive Gauche - Film e Critica

International Rating: 1111
Wins 55% of its matchups
7925 customers have ranked it 119,971 instances
20 have it at #1
314 have it of their high 20

If not essentially the most beloved by Flickcharters, it’s actually essentially the most critically-acclaimed movie on our checklist. James Franco portrays the real-life Aron Ralston who spends just a few days married to a boulder in Utah. The media marketing campaign across the movie was such that everybody is aware of he cuts his arm off in the long run; the problem was to assemble a narrative that delivered on greater than its body-horror punchline.

Given the unbelievable (although really, actually, credible) constraints of the state of affairs, Franco delivers a efficiency that manages to describes the entire inevitable phases of concern, remorse, self-recrimination, periodic self-awareness, and finally a collection of hallucinations, which transcend merely being signs of his organic decline and handle (via Danny Boyle‘s daring and dynamic fashion) to speak a small-scale, Christ-in-the desert second the place previous methods are left behind and new methods are struck out upon.

This being a mainstream movie, it couldn’t resist having just a few ancillary characters seem within the first and third acts, however it’s Franco and Franco alone who owns the middle of the body, making this a primary instance of this troublesome subgenre, tried solely by the bravest and most gifted actors and filmmakers.

1. Moon (2009)

International Rating: 384
Wins 66% of its matchups
10,091 customers have ranked it 163,313 instances
23 have it at #1
567 have it of their high 20

On the high of our checklist, we’ve a movie that celebrates (or demonizes) solitude qua solitude extra so than another movie we’ve thought-about. Sam Rockwell performs a solitary lunar miner who uncovers an inhumane plot by his company overlords to maintain him remoted for the remainder of his unnaturally-shortened life.

In pursuit of this virtually Clancy-esque industrial thriller, this movie strays near the sting of this checklist’s standards by introducing (pretty early) a clone of Sam Rockwell, and the 2 of him work collectively to unravel the puzzle that has entwined their fates. They’re technically distinct characters, however Rockwell’s performances are coherent sufficient to know them each to be the “identical,” which is a problem that not one of the different 9 actors on this checklist needed to face.

However fairly than have these doppelgangers disqualify Moon, I’d say it furtherqualifies it, for it’s the very presence of those different Sams that drives dwelling, first for us then for Sam 1, simply how really alone he his. It’s the presence of the doppelganger, and what it means for the character of Sam’s existence, that reinforces simply how out of attain any hope or assist or probability for companionship will ever be for him.

Among the movies on this checklist appear to be making this allegorical case: that it’s within the nature of our existence that we enter and go away it alone, and that in between any emotions on the contrary are short-term aberrations.

However it’s simply as affordable (and ever a lot extra cinematic) to see intense and extended solitude as a disaster. We’re social creatures, defining ourselves by likenesses and contrasts to others of our species, and taking cues as to the that means of our lives from how we really feel in varied firm. When that solely firm is ourselves, unusual issues and magical issues occur. Not all the time for one of the best.

What different one-actor films do effectively in your Flickchart? Tell us within the feedback under.


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