A follow-up to the previous post regarding set design and world creation, here are seven (plus one) essential movies that showcase the power that architecture can bring to influencing the lives of people. There's a definite theme to this list, so i've refrained from calling it a "top seven" list. It would be far too complex of an essay to attempt to show how each film uses the built environment to drive plot or set mood, but if you happen to be looking for a good movie to watch anyway, here are a few where you could stand to pay attention to the environment. In most of the examples, there are at least two diametrically opposed philosophies that are reflected in the architecture.
Blade Runner (1982)
The dirty, crowded streets in which Decker (Harrison Ford) pursues his quarry denies the art deco utopia that the Tyrell Corporation seems to espouse. Of course, the reason this story is such a pillar of the science fiction genre is the questions it raises about our own humanity.
Minority Report (2002)
Unfortunately, what could have been made for an amazing psychological thriller ends with a tedious explanation of what exactly happened. A third Philip K. Dick adaption, A Scanner Darkly, didn't suffer from this unnecessary exposition -- a decision which seems to have been paid for in lost box office sales.
The Matrix (1999)
If you can bring yourself to watch the sequels, the video-game-esque use of doors that can lead to more than one place highlights some fun implications about the future of virtual space.
Batman (Gotham City 1940-Present)
Dark City (1998)
...honorable mention goes to
I've heard excellent reviews of this film, but unfortunately i haven't yet seen it, so i can't rightly include it on this list. Many of the themes present in the previous seven films owe their inspiration to Fritz Lang's Metropolis. The central theme revolves around the sharp divide between a hidden working class, an increasingly distant "utopian" elite, and the need to somehow bridge the gap between these two groups.
On a personal note, i'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for being patient while F/stop Architectural was on unplanned hiatus. During the break we hit 1,000 unique views! Thank you so much for your support!