7 Underrated Films By Great Directors

1. A.I. Artificial Intelligence


I should probably assert right away that I’m cheating on this one, because I don’t actually think Steven Spielberg is a great director. Why? For a start, because he’s made way too many mediocre films — 1941, the latter three Indiana Jones movies, Hook, War Horse, et al — to be considered great, and even then I have problems with some of his most beloved movies, like Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan.

However, I do think A.I. Artificial Intelligence,  Spielberg’s quasi-collaboration with Stanley Kubrick, is a masterpiece, and it may well be the most thought provoking film I’ve ever seen.

I’m not the only one to consider A.I. a very great and deeply misunderstood film either. Others as disparate as the late Andrew Sarris and James Naremore have more or less agreed, although a common complaint among them is that the film relies too heavily on Spielberg’s “old tricks” — by which they mean the seemingly sentimental ending. To this I can only say that these last scenes take place long after humanity has died, which, in turn, makes the ending a sort of ghostly echo; quite the opposite of sentimental, actually.

A.I. goes so openly and deeply into beneficent emotions that I don’t much care whether it’s a masterpiece or not — a verdict that still hasn’t been determined. What I can say is it’s a deeply affecting film, and it still has many unanswered questions.

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