10 Amazing Films From Directors Who Stopped Giving A Damn

Filmmakers with singular vision, and the will to pursue it.

Brad Pitt Fight Club
20th Century Fox

Cinema has always walked a tightrope between art and commerce. On the one hand, you'd hope that any filmmaker worth their salt would take some degree of pride in their artistic vision, and would seek to make their mark creatively; on the other, movie-making is an extensive and costly undertaking, and there's always a need to make that money back with interest for all that effort to be worthwhile.

Every so often, though, directors with particular ambition and nerve decide to throw caution to the wind and go all-out. Never mind whether it'll win over audiences or critics; never mind whether it'll make its money back or not.

We don't see filmmakers throwing caution to the wind in this manner all too often, and when they do the results aren't always everything we'd like. Donnie Darko writer-director Richard Kelly took such an approach on his second film Southland Tales, and that pretty much killed his career on the spot.

However, on occasion directors really need to say to hell with everything and everyone, and make that film that only they can make - and when they get it right, the results leave us all richer for it.

10. Guillermo Del Toro - The Shape Of Water

Brad Pitt Fight Club
Fox Searchlight

You'd be forgiven for thinking a film that just cleaned up at the Oscars, scooping the statuettes for Best Picture and Best Director, wouldn't necessarily be something all that bold and unconventional, given how risk-averse the Academy Awards have tended to be over the years.

In this instance, however, you'd be dead wrong. The Shape of Water was an intensely personal effort for director, producer and co-writer Guillermo del Toro; and as an independent production made for less than $20 million, it was something of a change in direction after del Toro's big budget studio productions Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak didn't have the anticipated impact.

In light of its awards-season success, it's easy to forget that The Shape of Water wasn't necessarily an easy sell. It's an adults only fairy tale, blending elements of a cold war thriller with hints of classic musical, all of it centred on the love story between a mute cleaning lady and an amphibian monster man.

It takes some guts to give Oscars to a movie that features inter-species sexuality at its heart, but it takes even greater guts to make that movie in the first place. Bravo, Mr del Toro.

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