The year 1999 was a stand-out year for American cinema, releasing Fight Club, The Matrix, Being John Malkovich, The Green Mile and of course American Pie. However, American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes, is the perfect drama.
Following the life mid-life crisis of Lester Burnham, played by the brilliant Kevin Spacey, the film depicts his obsession with his daughter’s best friend and his gradually crumbing relationship with his wife, the sometimes overzealous Annette Benning. Spacey leads a fantastic supporting cast in depicting the modern American family home and its dysfunctional nature, mixing black comedy, melodrama, and a twisted edge.
However, apart from the brilliant acting, what makes this film a treasure is the imagery. The cinematography is a beauty to behold and it is clear Mendes is a director who puts real love into his films. The fantastic use of colour, editing and diaogue make this the stand-out film of the 90’s and for me, of all time.
American Beauty (1999), directed by Sam Mendes, is released on blu-ray and DVD in the UK by Paramount Home Entertainment, Certificate 18.