Mark Mahon: My 5 All-Time Favorite Movies

Mark Mahon is an award-winning writer/director. His first feature, “Strength & Honour“, starred Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones and Richard Chamberlain and became a global hit taking home 22 film festival wins, over 38 nominations and official selections, as well as two Irish Film and Television Academy Award nominations. He’s been on the cover of Hollywood Scriptwriter and was invited by Prince Albert, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, to screen his film at the Palace of Monaco. He is currently planning his next feature, “Freedom Within The Heart“.

5 “Inception”

“There are so many movies that could have made my fifth choice from Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘The Godfather’ to ‘The Matrix’ for various reasons. However, I picked Inception, which was written and directed by Christopher Nolan, primarily because I thought it was a very intelligent piece. A skilled extractor, Dominic Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is offered a chance to regain his old life, as payment for a task of infiltrating the subconscious mind of a target and extracting information while he is dreaming. Separate to the great direction and execution of the story, I loved the whole idea of where we actually go in our dreams, as our physical body rests and the other dimensions that we are possibly connected with unbeknownst to ourselves. Haven’t you?”

4 “Gladiator”

“When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor’s corrupt son, reduced to slavery, the general comes to Rome as a gladiator to avenge the murder of his family. Directed by Ridley Scott, this film is full of exhilarating action, great performances and a visual feast of epic proportions. The general, Maximus Decimus Meridius, portrayed by Russell Crowe earned him a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Role in a Leading Role. Probably similar in ways to all my other choices, I am passionate about stories of men who are driven to right the injustice inflicted on them, primarily because of love in one form or another, but can there be any greater journey to be taken on.”

3 “Braveheart”

“Mel Gibson portrays William Wallace, who leads a rebellion against the cruel English tyrant, King Edward I of England, after his bride, who he was forced to wed in secrecy, is executed for assaulting an English soldier whom tried to rape her. For me, one of the greatest scenes shot in modern cinema is when Wallace realizes that his wife, Murron MacClannough, played by Catherine MacClannough has been killed and he rides into the British garrison to surrender. Gibson, who directed and starred in the leading role, executes this scene with pure genius. Between the use of slow motion, music and sound effects, the audience is given a sense of what is going on in Wallace’s mind. The commoner has both arms out showing his life has no value anymore. In slow motion, the horse snorts, indirectly saying to his rider to wake up. Wallace’s eyes meet with the soldier that he is about to surrender with, then his horse snorts again. It is only when the metal clad of the soldier’s armor touches the horse’s reigns that the sound registers in Wallace’s head… ‘what are you doing?’ It is at this split-moment that everything becomes clear to him. He must fight to defend his wife’s honor, which is very evident by his face. Wallace then pulls out a flail from his garment and crushes the soldier’s face, which triggers all other events. This scene is fantastically crafted, as it is the launch of the protagonist’s journey.”

2 “The Last Samurai”

“Tom Cruise plays Nathan Algren, an American military advisor who embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy. In my opinion, Edward Zwick’s direction is up there with the finest, allowing Tom Cruise to deliver one of his best performances. The glorious scenery and pulse-pounding battle scenes add layers of flavour to this epic piece. Algren’s character is flawed like all good protagonists, as he drinks heavily to drown out his horrible memories of massacring innocent Indians on the American frontier. However, after he is captured in battle and taken to the Samurai village, Katsumoto, the Samurai leader, played by Ken Watanabe, begins to converse daily with his foe to understand how he thinks, but in turn, Algren befriends his custodian, as he discovers the beautiful ways of the people he was paid to annihilate. Learning from them, Algren rids his demons and stands with the people who have shown him a new meaning to his life.”

1 “Man On Fire”

“Directed by the late, Tony Scott, Denzel Washington plays a washed up assassin turned bodyguard, John Creasy, who forms a bond with the child that he is hired to protect, Pita Ramos, played by Dakota Fanning. When she is kidnapped and believed to be killed, Creasy, swears vengeance on those who committed this unspeakable act and does what he knows best. What is really beautiful about this superbly crafted movie is the relationship that forms between Creasy and Pita, as an innocent, young girl, gives an alcoholic hope and shows him how to live again, even if it will bring about his own demise.”

Mark Mahon is an award winning writer-director whose first movie, Strength & Honour starring Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, and Richard Chamberlain, received over twenty-two film festival wins, and over thirty-eight nominations and official selections, as well as two Irish Film and Televsion Academy Award nominations. He is currently working on his next feature film: Freedom Within The Heart.

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