This week's entry is not a top 10 list. Instead I'm going to give you the primer films that you need to see from the catalog of cinema's most insane mind. The stories that surround director, Werner Herzog are legendary and to vast to list here, they are what legends are made of. If you haven't seen any of this visionary and one of a kind director's work then this list will give you a great starting point. Just be forewarned that while Herzog's movies are not for everyone it is guaranteed that you will never be bored and you will definitely walk away having seen something that you've never seen before. The movies listed below are in no particular order and quite honestly you can pick any movie directed by Mr. Herzog and not really go wrong.
This is the director's most famous piece or infamous depending on how you look at it. This is hell in the wilderness and no one involved with this movie came out of it unchanged. This is the best of the five collaboration's with actor Klaus Kinski who many say was in fact crazier than Herzog. Even with all the troubles that this production faced the finished product is guerilla film making at it's greatest. I recommend checking this one out first if you enjoy it then by all means continue with the viewing.
Mental illness at its peak. This is a great piece of film-making that showcases Klaus Kinski at full tilt. With the recurring theme of man v.s. nature and the tipping point of sanity for the main character it is truly amazing to watch Kinski in the lead role. Viewer's are rarely treated to the kind of determined veracious detail that he puts into the role. I wish more thought provoking projects like this were made today.
Based on the true story of American navy pilot Dieter Dengler and his struggles in a POW camp. Christian Bale and Steve Zahn both bring their A game on this one, which is a good thing if not Herzog might of shot both of them. This is a great true story of survival and the strength of man without the Hollywood B.S. added in. Also, check out the documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly that Herzog had made years previously to this.
This not a sequel nor a reboot to Bad Lieutenant. Quite simply it is a great example of Nicolas Cage in full on Cage craziness. He plays a cop in New Orleans that suffers an accident during hurricane Katrina and in the process gains both a promotion and one hell of a drug addiction that he goes to extreme lengths to keep up with. This selection won't make you think and it's not a award winner but it is one heck of a ride and has become a movie that I have to watch at least once a year just for the sheer lunacy of it all.
Werner takes on one of the classic movie monster's with this entry and comes out on top. Klaus Kinski is spell binding once again as Dracula and he brings a emotion to the role that had not been seen in other adaptations. While not a gore fest of a vampire film it is a must see for all fans of the duo and for horror fans as well. While not scary the movie brings a eerie sense throughout and makes for a great watch on a dark rainy night.
A documentary based on the exploits of Timothy Treadwell and the time he spent with bears in the Alaska wilderness. Most of you have probably seen this or at least heard of it. SPOILER ALERT: He gets eaten by a bear. I for one think he got what he deserved. This is a great example of the director's vast catalog of documentaries. With his documentaries the director never puts his politics or views in the forefront. He allows his subjects to tell the tales and while his opinions are throughout he always leaves the viewer with both sides of the story allowing them to decide. Did I mention I'm still glad the bear got a meal.
A wonderful and loving portrait of the often rocky friendship between the director and actor Klaus Kinski. This moving picture shows the love/hate relationship between the two and how they somehow completed the other while making some eternal pieces of cinema. A must watch just for all of the extreme and insane stories of their relationship. This is one of my top documentaries and I urge everyone to seek it out.
Well, there you have it. Check the movies out and let me know what you thought. I hope a few of you gain a new favourite director. As a quick little side note check out the short documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe it's pretty self explanatory and just another look at the mind of a genius. And for all of you aspiring film-makers check out Werner's Rouge Film School which I'm sure is a experience like no other.