Top Gun (1986)

Ⓒ Paramount Pictures
Ⓒ Paramount Pictures

Director: Tony Scott Cast: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer

A cocky young military pilot is sent to an elite flying school, Top Gun, where he comes to blows with fellow pilots, learns new skills, and of course finds an inevitable love interest.

Probably one on the most iconic films from the golden decade of cinema, Top Gun is one of those classics that I knew I had to watch no matter how terrible it sounds. And you know what, I actually rather enjoyed it. The acting is ok, I’m not usually a fan of Tom Cruise but I did like him in this, plus Val Kilmer is an excellent (sort of) bad guy. The storyline is pretty simple, yet there are enough layers for the movie to have some depth and make the audience feel for the characters. In fact, some moments had me unashamedly welling up with emotion. The romance between Maverick and Charlie is boring and cliché, but I guess love stories are a given in Hollywood blockbusters, and there is enough other stuff going on so that it can be mostly ignored. The flying scenes are what I really loved- I was on the edge of my seat for much of them, and the way they filmed close-up shots of the pilot in the cockpit make the audience feel suitably claustrophobic, and give the film a super-charged element.

Of course, the film is classic 80s so the dialogue is pretty cringey, and the soundtrack is an acquired taste (although personally it’s right up my street), and it’s by no means a poetic masterpiece of cinema. But, Top Gun is highly enjoyable and I think it has just about the right amount of cringe for it to be embraced rather than making the audience feel awkward. A classic lightweight film for a Saturday evening in.

3 stars

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