I watched The Wind that Shakes the Barley last tonight, thinking that that way I could come here and say North by Northwest is heaps better without lying through my ass. Turns out it's not heaps better - but nothing has changed my mind.
The Wind that Shakes the Barely - firstly, there was a large language barrier; almost every character in Barley spoke in a thick Irish accent, and there were no subtitles, so I could really only understand the feral and overly-violent English army arseholes. I had little knowledge beforehand of the 'Irish War of Independence' or the 'The Irish Civil War' (Ireland had a civil war?) - so I will say this movie does serve as a nice textbook to some of the goings on of that era in Ireland, although nothing an actual textbook couldn't properly explain to you.
It's all adequately acted and directed but I never felt anything for/or rooting for Cillian Murphy and his IRA buddies, and not as much I really f*cking hated the brutal English soldiers; I mean, all that was missing was a rape scene and a death camp to cement these guys as bad as Nazis.
North by Northwest has all of the ingredients that make a great Alfred Hitchcock film; mystery, adventure, comedy, action, romance, and none of it at all compromises the quality of the movie. It's got a excellent performance from Cary Grant, a witty script, wonderful cinematography and one of the most memorable scenes in film history: the crop-duster shooting at Cary Grant in the cornfield. Hitchcock is far from my favourite filmmaker, but there's no denying he's a master at his craft and Northwest is a fine example of that.
I vote North by Northwest