The Most Depressing Films: A winter warmer from the cold dead hearts of the The Film Show.
16th November 2012
As I look out of my window, and I see a Britain surrendering to winter’s sharp and bony grip, I realise that the time is perfect to stay inside, and depress oneself further, with a bleak and depressing film. Because sometimes we have to embrace our inner emo.
Which, then, is the most depressing? Films that kill your childhood could quite easily enter into the mix. I entered into such an existential crisis after seeing Attack of the Clones that it took repeated viewings of The Two Towers to restore me to any semblance of my former self. The realisation that The Phantom Menace wasn’t simply a one-off, the porcelain acting of Mannequin Skywalker, the green screen, oh my god the endless green screen…other films that could come into this category could be Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the Transformers franchise, both of which took things that had managed to bottle an intangible, and perhaps, indefinable awesomeness, and somehow decided to replace that with Shia Labeouf.
Are these films really depressing, however? Sure, they made you realise that even if you love something very much, that thing can whither and die, leaving you to ponder the reality of death’s abyss, from which no-one, or seemingly, no beloved movie franchise can escape, but at the end of the day, you can always go back and watch the originals and drink heavily to forget the anguish.
There are other films, however, that seem to have been made with the express purpose of depressing you, yes, specifically you. 2009’s giggle-fest The Road would seemingly fall into the category. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a heart-warming tale of cannibalism, death by flare-guns to the face and starving old blind men set in an post-nuclear fall-out apocalyptic deathland. It stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-Mcphee as a father and son struggling to survive in this world. Do not watch it and then go out to Ocean afterwards. I can assure that you will lose any faith that you ever had in humanity, and may even start welcoming nuclear winter, as opposed to having to listen to Gangnam Style whilst seeing a man urinating against a wall in the smoking area whilst simultaneously holding a pint and making out with a girl. True story.
Requiem for a Dream, by Darren Aronofsky, starring Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly, also holds its own in this area, being as, it is, about as painfully harrowing as Toy Story is joyously uplifting. Whilst I don’t want to give too much away, I can assure you, diligent reader, that if you watch this film, you will be rewarded with tales of crippling drug addiction, prostitution and anorexia. It’s not one for Christmas Day. If you have a friend who is annoyingly upbeat and optimistic, and who seems to glide through life like a caffeine powered Ferris Bueller, then show them this film. It will break them.
These, films, however, set out to be depressing. My personal choice for the coveted title of Tom Flynn’s Crying Monkey Award for Most Depressing film, is meant to be a beautiful, funny, uplifting kid’s film. It is supposed to enchant and delight. It is, Wall-E. This film contains the single most depressing ending to any film. In this movie, the world has been abandoned by humans, after they killed it through a combination of global warming and apparently just awful waste-disposal techniques. Wall-E is the last remaining dustbin-robot, diligently going about, tidying the world, one tiny cube of rubbish at a time. I will spare you the ins and outs of the plot, and I will spare in-depth analysis. All I will say is, this seemingly innocent and cute robot dooms the whole of humanity to slow starvation and destruction. To find out how, listen to The Film Show Today on http://urn1350.net/user/77, at 6 pm. We shall also be reviewing the Box-Office Top Ten, and discussing the biggest news in the world of film. Please listen, or I’ll watch Requiem for a Dream and sob deep into the night.
Tom ‘The Maudlin-Muppet’ Flynn