If you were to ask the average filmgoer to name a director, they might say Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, or even Michael Bay, as they are all enormously popular filmmakers with easily identifiable films. Unfortunately, many great directors go relatively unnoticed by most movie audiences, even if these same audiences enjoy their films. For every Spielberg, there are multiple directors who do not ever become household names. At the same time, a director may be popular with audiences but underappreciated by critics. This list addresses both of these situations, as popularity and critical acclaim do not often go hand-in-hand. The following filmmakers are the 10 most underrated movie directors.
10. Rian Johnson
Perhaps an odd choice for this list given his relatively short time on the scene, Rian Johnson is still beginning his feature film career, but he’s already proven himself to be one of the most talented new directors to emerge in the last 10 years. Johnson got his feature film break with 2005’s well-received Brick, which starred fellow up-and-comer (at the time) Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Johnson would collaborate again with Gordon-Levitt in 2012’s phenomenal Looper, which was unfairly snubbed for a Best Picture nomination. In addition to his feature film credentials, Johnson also notably directed episodes of Breaking Bad, including the final season’s crowning gem “Ozymandias”, a front-runner for best episode of the entire series. With a slew of excellent dark, dramatic pieces under his belt, Johnson is definitely a director to watch as he continues to make great (and likely underappreciated) films.