All in a day’s work – Best “24 hour” films of all time

A day in the life of a movie has its ups and downs. Well, mostly downs with a couple of ups. While most filmmakers like to go back and forth in time to tell a story, there are others who don’t. They hold our attention with impactful stories that span a 24-hour timeline (or even less). Here are 10 such films that defied the laws of time-keeping and had us hooked from the opening second:

10. Dredd

This highly underrated reboot of the franchise saw the highly underrated Karl Urban at its helm as Judge Dredd. The criminals in this film are manufacturing a drug that slows down time (ain’t that something!), and it is up to our hero and his rookie sidekick to bring them down. One floor at a time.

9. 25th Hour

Drug dealer Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) is sentenced to a 7-year prison term. As such, he spends his final 24 hours as a free man with his friends, re-evaluating his life and decisions. Director Spike Lee beautifully captures the tension that each passing hour brings before our hero is finally driven to the prison by his father. Or is he?

8. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Now this is a day, many of us have enjoyed personally. Cutting school is its own thrill. But when you are Ferris Bueller, a teenager surrounded by a paranoid family and principal, you just have to go the extra mile to make sure no one messes with your epic day off. No one.

7. Training Day

Intense and superbly directed, this film by Antoine Fuqua doles out one brilliant scene after another; making you wonder if it’s all happening within a day. Well, it is. And what a crazy day it turns out to be for Ethan Hawke’s Jake Hoyt.

6. 12 Angry Men

Now, this film is a cinematic marvel by itself. But what it probably does best is that it treats time and everything else as secondary, keeping just the debate at the center. This timeless classic goes on to show us the power that well-written dialogues have.

5. Dazed and Confused

Director Richard Linklater loves to experiment with time. Be it Boyhood, which was directed over a span of 12 years, or the cult favorite Dazed and Confused. The film captures the euphoria, angst and cluelessness that accompany the last day of school. But time heals everything, including Matthew McConaughey’s fixation with that ominous hairstyle.

4. Edge of Tomorrow

One of 2014’s best films, Edge of Tomorrow scored brownie points from film buffs for its originality. The film follows one hapless man (Tom Cruise), who is thrown into a war but ends up living the same day over and over, after dying. Blending this concept with Sci-Fi, the movie kept us engrossed till the very end.

3. Before Sunrise trilogy

As pointed out earlier, Richard Linklater is the boss of one-day films. His experimental love story, Before Sunrise told the story of Jesse and Celine, who spend the day together before finally falling in love. Did they have an over-the-top, tourist-y love story? No. They simply went their separate ways after the dawn of a new day. But they did return in Before Sunset to fall in love again, and in Before Midnight,  they attempt to figure out their life together as husband and wife. Three different days in the lives of two people, spanning two decades of awesomeness.

2. The Breakfast Club

A day in detention – ain’t that a pain in the backside. Add a snooty prom queen, a wayward youth, a popular jock, a hard-as-nails teacher and a slightly odd girl into the mix, and your day can only get worse. This coming-of-age story by John Hughes gave us many reasons to love its simple execution. And it also taught us some killer ’80s moves.

1. Groundhog Day

Have you ever imagined going back in time and doing everything right? If we got the chance, we would all try being nicer to each other and not be so uptight. Weatherman Phil (Bill Murray) gets an unique opportunity, where he is doomed to repeat the same day over and over again. What he learns along the way, is both heart-warming and awe-inspiring.

A special shout-out to Bollywood films such as A Wednesday and Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, which also told lovely stories that happened within a day’s time. What is your favorite “24-hour” film of all time?

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1 Comment

  1. Sanjay

    January 21, 2015 at 10:24 am

    well written

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