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A chamber drama is essentially characterised by having a select few characters confined to a small-to-medium sized space or location for an extended period of time. Often driven by dialogue, tension and mystery, they typically explore intriguing and in-depth interplay between several personalities (if not the pursuit of a solo individual) in order to tackle a core dilemma. Quentin Tarantino brought the phrase under the spotlight in 2018 when he released The Hateful Eight, a superb such example of a chamber drama - and not the only one he's made! Here I present to you a selection of, in my opinion, the finest, most gripping and most entertaining examples of the format.
The movies on this list vary in how "chamber-y" they are. Many of these movies are entirely set in a single location. Others, whilst predominantly confined in this way too, feature some minimal deviation. Also, some take place in very small spaces; others, a little more extended. As such, for each movie I have provided a rating of just how "chamber-y" they are, in accordance with the above characteristics!
An Aesthetic Masterpiece
Fabricated is an extraordinary Polish short film, and this is largely down to the blatantly meticulous attention to detail in the carefully yet beautifully crafted world it introduces us to. The visual style is more than a treat - it's a mind-blowing spectacle we simply do not deserve. The magnificence of how the makers merge an eye-pleasing experience with an interesting sci-fi environment is ceaseless, and brings with it a self-aware charm, made even more impressive given that this is a dystopian setting.
We are presented with a desolated, post-human world, taken over by predominantly faceless machinery, as organic matter is slowly perishing in the face of its redundancy. The main character embarks on a wandering adventure of discovery and soon adopts a mission of great significance to the state of the world.
Narratively, this short has its merits but is nothing particularly remarkable, however this is counterbalanced by the expertly executed stop motion filming and striking aesthetic set up. A mesmerising spectacle that is essential for all those interested in either stop motion animation, short films generally, or something impressively different.
Toy Story (1995)
The best CGI movie ever? Absolutely.
Toy Story! The first ever full CGI movie stands to this day as an arguably unequivocal masterpiece of its kind. Iconic, inspirational and such an originally incorporated idea into a wonderfully captivating adventure, full to the brim with trademark character and charm, that would go on to influence a great many animated feature titles thereafter. Brilliant in itself, but for the first of its kind, absolutely outstanding.