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SK’s Top 3 Movies: Luna Hollander

Welcome to the next instalment of Studentenkrant’s Top 3 Movies. Each week, one of SK’s writers dives into their top three favorite movies of all time. Spanning different decades, runtimes, and genres, this series will confront readers with a diverse list of top tier cinema and explain to them what they are, why we love them, and why you should give them a watch!

This week’s writer: Luna


This will probably be mentioned every week, but picking only three favourite movies out of the many that you’ve watched is hard. Especially if you’ve watched the ungodly amount that I have. Being a student, stress and procrastination is quite a big part of my life, which just happens to be when I tend to watch movies. Those that I enjoy most are the ones that create a lasting impression with me. Either because they’re thought-provoking, or simply because I connect with them emotionally.

To stick to only discussing three movies elaborately, I’ve made a list of honourable mentions:

  • Inside Out (Docter, 2015)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (DeBlois & Sanders, 2010)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004)
  • Puss In Boots: The Last Wish (Crawford, 2022)
  • Fight Club (Fincher, 1999)
  • Me Before You (Sharrock, 2016)
  • Bruce Almighty (Shadyac, 2003)
  • Big Hero 6 (Hall & Williams, 2014)
  • Adrift (Kormákur, 2018)

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (Asbury & Cook, 2002)

Please hear me out. I know that there is a horse in this movie, and for some reason people think it’s cool to hate horses nowadays, but this movie is just so good. I’ve regularly watched it since I was a child and will probably continue to do so until I go blind. 

If I do lose my vision, I’ll still have the soundtrack to listen to. There aren’t a lot of spoken words in the movie aside from the occasional internal monologue of the main character (voiced by Matt Damon), so the music carries a large part of the movie and definitely makes up for the slightly outdated animation. Composed by a collaboration between Hans Zimmer and Brian Adams, it perfectly conveys the right emotions while still keeping that wild west vibe to it. 

Speaking of, the movie takes place in the 19th century American wild west. It’s about a Mustang that is captured during its first encounter with humans. In his fight for freedom, he befriends a young Native American man named Little Creek, along with his mare Rain. 

The movie has a powerful and emotional way of storytelling. It’s largely known for its accurate and respectful representation of the Native American people, something that wasn’t as common during the time this movie came out. 

All in all, Spirit is criminally underrated, and I seriously recommend you watch it. However, if you love this movie as much as I do, please don’t make the mistake of watching the series that follows it. The show’s an abomination and like the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender movie we are going to pretend it doesn’t exist. 

Shutter Island (Scorsese, 2010)

Shutter Island is a thriller following the story of U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule as they investigate the disappearance of a dangerous patient from a supposably inescapable mental institution. The plot thickens as the investigation unfolds, and the Marshals begin to uncover dark secrets and a sinister plot brewing on Shutter Island. The movie also explores serious and complex themes, like trauma and the thin line between sanity and madness. 

This is one of those movies you have to watch twice to truly appreciate the level of depth and detail that goes into it. Every object in each scene has a reason for being there, and every spoken word seems to have a double meaning. 

That is why, and I don’t say this lightly, I believe the movie is better than the book. The actors, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley, truly add a sense of depth and nuance to their portrayal of the characters that their book counterparts didn’t always have.

Also genius is the soundtrack. It’s almost exclusively made up of pieces by different classical composers, handpicked by Robie Robertson. The constant building tension within the music alternated with the occasional dead silences has you on the edge of your seat throughout the movie. 

And then, the ending. I won’t spoil it, but if you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about. I was not prepared for the emotional rollercoaster this movie put me through. You think you’re prepared because I told you this? Think again. 

I recommend you get your tissues ready, take some time, and watch the movie. Then watch it again. 

The Shawshank Redemption (Darabont, 1994)

Look, I know this may seem pretentious, but I just genuinely love this movie. After watching some other Stephen King adaptations, I decided to give The Shawshank Redemption a go. To be honest, I expected it to be a classic prison break type of story, but I was wrong.

Part of what makes the movie so good, is that there is really not a lot of action. You just watch some people have conversations for the larger part of the two hour and 22-minute runtime, but the movie is never boring. 

Mostly, this is because of the phenomenal job both the writers and directors did. Despite the number of scenes where characters just speak to each other, there aren’t any empty words, and the characters are realistic and complex. 

Morgan Freeman’s deep voice and sense of authority perfectly fit his role as old-time prisoner Red, and Tim Robbins could not have portrayed the mistreated Andy Dufresne any better. Their characters bring life to the story in a way that has you emotionally invested and glued to the screen. 

The message the story carries is also worth mentioning. It’s a message of hope that rings out throughout the entire film. The movie leaves a mark, and I think you’ll remember it long after you’ve watched it. 

Final thoughts

There you have it, my top three list of movies. I will say, number two and three are probably subject to change, but nothing will beat Spirit and knock it off the throne. Writing this article has really awoken my need to watch these movies again, and I hope I’ve convinced you to do the same. If not, maybe next week’s article is of interest to you!