The Mancunion

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Year in film: 1999

Ally Mitchell looks back at the 90s’ last year of films


In the world of film, response to the upcoming, new millennium was tumultuous. The representation of culture was revolutionised, seemingly predicting a futuristic 2000s. A diverse mix of genres filled the box office in apparent indecision; every filmmaker had a different interpretation of the current big question of life and the future. Many films earned acclaim from audiences for the revitalised film techniques and themes. Today, the list of 1999 releases can be recognised as a lot of people’s favourite films.

A filmic revolution had risen. Storming the Oscars was Sam Mendes’ American Beauty, gaining Best Film and Best Actor for Kevin Spacey. The film’s themes of redemption and beauty in suburbia offered a life-affirming, hopeful introduction to the 2000s, while The Matrix, contrastingly, portrayed humanity unknowingly trapped in a dystopian dream world. Charlie Kaufman was introduced to mainstream filmmaking with his Being John Malkovich screenplay, developing modern film with his surreal and basically weird ideas of a portal on floor 7½ leading into John Malkovich’s mind.

Fight Club, now named the 10th Greatest Film of All Time by Empire magazine, similarly to the other films, portrays the chance for change in a stagnated life. The ensemble production of Magnolia epitomised humanity in a day, reflecting the bonds between members of society, while the ending, with its religious connotations, asserts desire for life and Tom Cruise as a sex self-help guru cannot be missed. The Blair Witch Project, one of the most successful independent films ever made, horrified audiences on its release with its hand-held footage, causing the public to actually believe it to be real.

Sequels of popular films such as Toy Story 2 and the Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace were the top grossing films of the year. American Pie also debuted, its most recent sequel released only last year, reminding us of our nostalgia for 90s high school with a school reunion. 1999 epitomised high school flicks with 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That, idealising proms where everyone knew the same dance routine.

These films barely scratch the surface of the mighty year of 1999. The Sixth Sense, Notting Hill, The Mummy, Girl Interrupted are only a selection of other immense successes defining the end of the millennium as a brilliant finale.