7 Must-See Bottle Films to Watch This Week!

A selection of our favourite minimalist films


This week we’re doing something a little different. We love all kinds of movies, but for this edition of the Watchlist, we’d like to give a little love to those simpler ones. Simpler not in plot or character development but in place.

We’ve put together a list of our favourite bottle films. These films either take place in a single room, a few artfully selected locations, or even only a phone booth.

We’ve loved watching these minimalist masterpieces and we hope you will too!

As always, read to the end to discover more recommendations in our “If You Liked,” section.

 12 Angry Men (1957)

The twelve angry men take a vote on whether to watch Barbie or Oppenheimer first.

Genre: Drama
Director: Sidney Lumet

This isn’t only a film about twelve angry guys, as its title may suggest. It’s the story of a twelve-man jury tasked with making a decision that may forever alter another human being’s life.

Most of the jurors simply want to make it quick and head home for a cold beer, but one juror thinks they owe it to the defendant to actually talk it all through 🙄

Sidney Lumet, the celebrated director (at the beginning of his career with this feature), actually makes jury duty thrilling to watch. It’s the ideal movie to see before any obligatory civic duty.

Rear Window (1954)

When they won’t text back.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock’s classic starring James Steward makes you rethink time alone at home. Equipped with a camera, the protagonist of the film begins to puzzle together a conspiracy happening right outside his window.

If you’re a part-time voyeur hoping to sharpen your skills or you’d like to relive being stuck indoors during the pandemic then this is the movie for you.

It’s currently listed as #38 on Sight and Sound's list of The Greatest Films of All Time.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Discount Wednesday at the cinema.

Genre: Neo-noir/Crime
Director: Quentin Tarantino

If anything this film will at the very least offer you an insightful interpretation of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” This film was Tarantino’s directorial debut, and it heralded a new and exciting voice in cinema, albeit one obsessed with feet.

It’s about eight gangsters out on a serious diamond heist; these guys aren’t trying to swipe your grandmother’s purse. The story mainly plays out in a cavernous warehouse where the gangsters deal with the aftermath of the heist.

The film went on to be considered a cult classic and was named, “The Greatest Independent Film of All Time,” by Empire.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Al Pacino remembering that it was Fredo.

Genre: Crime/Drama
Director: Sidney Lumet

Dog Day Afternoon is a hauntingly tense thriller crafted by Sidney Lumet starring a frenzied Al Pacino and an enigmatic John Cazale.

A bank robbery doesn’t go according to plan and the two robbers involved must find a way to navigate a situation that grows more complicated by the second. It’s like when a friend says just one drink but you end up with a load of hostages and police surrounding the bar.

This film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1975.

Phone Booth (2002)

When your Mom tells you to pay for your own Netflix account.

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Director: Joel Schumacher

The poor old humble phone booth. They’d already been on a steady decline since the 70s, the last thing they needed was Colin Farrell being held hostage inside one for a 81-minute feature film.

If they made a sequel to Phone Booth today, it’d be an 81-minute unsuccessful slog around a city before finding an out of service booth, covered in smashed glass, beer cans, and urine.

Fun fact: Larry Cohen originally pitched the movie concept to Alfred Hitchcock in the 60s, Hitchcock liked it, but it never went forward.

The Whale (2022)

Brendan Fraser begging his daughter to stay and watch The Mummy one more time.

Genre: Drama
Director: Darren Aronofsky

Aronofsky’s claustrophobic tale of self-shame and isolation is a moving portrayal of attempting to overcome what scares us the most.

Brendan Fraser plays a morbidly obese teacher, Charlie, who works from home with his webcam turned off. Although it probably isn’t the intended message, when Charlie orders several pizzas all for himself you’ll probably want to pause the film and do the same.

Fraser managed to take off his fat suit in time to receive the Academy Award for Best Actor for this film.

This one’s our recommendation to stream while working out 🏋🏽‍♂️

 Funny Games (2007)

Your partner loading the gun 3 minutes into the movie.

Genre: Thriller
Director: Michael Haneke

Before I get into it, the original of this movie, Funny Games (1997) by the same director is arguably better. It’s a little harder to find, and you’ll need English subtitles, but it’s great.

Nevertheless, the 2007 remake (American version) is still worth a watch. It starts with an unpalatable grindcore song that is guaranteed to make your partner turn to you with a dissatisfied look whilst you scramble for the TV remote to decrease the volume.

The movie follows two very polite psychopaths as they terrorise a middle class family on their vacation. Haneke has stated that the film is a reflection and criticism of violence used in media.

If You Liked…

12 Angry Men: Rashomon (1952), Conspiracy (2001), Tape (2001)

Rear Window: Vertigo (1958), Disturbia (2007), The Woman in the Window (2020)

Reservoir Dogs: Pulp Fiction (1994), Snatch (2000), Inside Man (2006)

Dog Day Afternoon: Network (1976), Heat (1995), Good Time (2017)

Phone Booth: Panic Room (2002), Collateral (2004), Cellular (2004)

The Whale: The Wrestler (2008), Precious (2009), Shame (2011)

Funny Games: Eden Lake (2008), Natural Born Killers (1994), Psycho (1960)

Thanks as always for reading. Let your friends know if you think they’d enjoy it.

We’ll be back in your inbox next Friday with a look at what’s new in the world of cinema and streaming.

The Watchlist x