Director: Stanley Kubrick
Year Released: 1955
First full-length Kubrick is a film noir set in New York City - if you told me back in 1955 that the guy that directed it would go on to be one of the greatest filmmakers that ever lived, I would have probably believed you, although I may have also added, "but he needs better scripts." Better scripts would come his way later on (he admitted in one of his rare interviews that he had to base his films on existing novels because he didn't want to do any more screenplays from scratch), but his visual grace is in full-effect here - the cinema verite shots of downtown Manhattan are exciting and spontaneous and the shot compositions are precise (he began his career as a photographer for Look). The screenplay is another story, and the use of flashbacks within flashbacks is just sloppy - and Kubrick pays little mind to pacing or character development, focusing solely on the visual end. Fans of the director must see it no matter what.