Decade In Review: Best Filmmaker, Denis Villeneuve

The French Canadian filmmaker, Denis Villeneuve, was named the best filmmaker of the decade by Hollywood Critics  Association. Most moviegoers would see this as a surprise given the movies he has made. He would never work on a Marvel film or a run of the mill summer blockbuster. His films are more niche and for the arthouse people. His best films are tense, dark in both tone and overall lighting of the film. Also, his actors and cinematography stand out more than the plot of the movie.


A good more notable filmmaker to compare Villeneuve to would be is Christopher Nolan. Nolan typically uses the same actors like Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, and Cillian Murphy. He typically has the same relationship and is able to get a good performance out of actors that he knows what position to put these familiar faces in. 

Villeneuve gets a great acting performance out actors he works with for the first time. In his 2012 film Prisoners, Hugh Jackman put on the best performance of his career and Jake Gyllenhal his second-best (next to nightcrawler). 

In Sicario, Emily Blunt’s character stood out from the rest that she was severely missing from the sequel, which Villeneuve didn’t work on.

I knew that Dave Bautista was more serious about acting than Dwayne Johnson when I saw him in Bladerunner 2049. He only has a short scene but it’s at the beginning, which is a setup to pull in the viewer for the rest of the movie. 

While he may be the “best”, he is certainly not perfect. Prisoners is a movie that has a runtime of two hours and thirty minutes. The movie doesn’t drag, however, it is too long given the plot of the movie. Villeneuve’s films have lacked some imagination, this is something that he could definitely provide in his next film, Dune. Arrival is an exception that proves the rule. Also, Bladerunner 2049 is pulling from other source material that is not his own. 

Villeneuve in 2020

Next year, Villeneuve has one of the most highly anticipated films of 2020, Dune. Now that he has some clout and made a name for himself, he has been wanting to make a passion project which is this film. The original, while not bad for its time, was definitely an ambitious project that fits more today now that movie technology is more advanced. The cast for the film is stacked with A+ actors; Oscar Isaac, Timothy Chamalee, Jason Mamoa, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, among other notable actors. 

Which of Denis Villeneuve’s movies is your favorite? Leave a comment. 

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Daniel Heredia
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