Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent
Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson can hang out with Bilbo, Frodo, and all those other pint-sized Middle Earth dweebs all he wants, but studied movie lovers know what's up: Jackson's best movie remains Heavenly Creatures, a small, dark, emotionally devastating drama he made seven years before anything related to J.R.R. Tolkien came about.
Melanie Lynskey (who later, unrecognizably, co-starred on Two and a Half Men as Charlie Sheen's obsessive neighbor) and a then-unknown Kate Winslet play a couple of New Zealand daydreamers who fantasize about a fictional land called Borovnia, get disturbingly close to one another, and, ultimately, get caught up in a murder.
There's a creepy sexual undercurrent alive throughout Heavenly Creatures, adding tons of uneasy subtext to the film's lavishly shot, hallucinogenic dream sequences. By playing the real-life-inspired subject matter as more fantasy than reality, Jackson blurs the line between innocence and psychosis. It's the anti-Frodo. —MB