Thursday, February 9, 2012

Top 10 Films Of 2011

In descending order, because that's how lists should be:

10) A Dangerous Method – David Cronenberg
This is more than a bio-pic. The film would have worked just as well with fictitious characters. 2011 saw its share of films dealing with the human mind when it comes to sexuality and this film states its purpose eloquently. There is very real danger behind temptation. And yes, the cause of suffering is indeed desire.

9) Attack the Block – Joe CornishThis was the best action film of 2011. Terrifying aliens pitted against a group of hooligans. The film plays out with a thrilling wit that’s unforgettable.

8) The Artist – Michel HazanaviciusI was fully expecting “The Artist” to be pretentious, but it was simple, elegant and just charming as hell.

7) Womb – Benedek Fliegauf
“Womb” is by turns heart-breaking and sickening. We feel revulsion and sympathy for our anti-heroine in equal measures. It’s not for everyone, but if you call yourself a cinephile, this film is not to be missed.

6) Sleeping Beauty – Julia LeighThe idea that prostitution is a kind of rape isn’t new. But I haven’t seen this concept so articulately stated as it is in this film. Fair warning: this movie is unsettling and very hard to watch. But it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen to deal with just how sexuality and desperation can wreak havoc on someone’s life.

5) Melancholia – Lars von Trier
Von Trier has yet to make a bad film. His study of depression is spot on and his allegory is perfect. When you suffer from this illness, it is in fact like the end of the world. And the supporting cast was perfect. From Charlotte Gainsbourg to Keifer Sutherland, this is how people respond to a person suffering with depression. They try to sympathize, but they are filled with frustration and just don’t understand why you won’t just snap out of it.

4) 50-50 – Jonathan Levine
I don’t really expect a lot when I watch a mainstream film, but “50-50” took me completely off guard. The film deals with two themes: terror and friendship. And it avoids simple, trite answers to all the questions it raises. The love between these two friends touched me in a way no film has in years.

3) Hannah – Joe Wright – This is the best film of its kind since Frankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate.” Everything, from the lighting to the score is perfect and helps the film hit its tone just right.

2) We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lynne Ramsay
This film hypnotized me from the first frame. It asks why tragedies like this happen, but it isn’t proud enough to pretend it has any of the answers. It poses several theories, like upbringing and environment. It also raises the possibility that some people, even children, are just evil. In the end “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is humble enough to admit it doesn’t know why people do these things.

1) Martha Marcy May Marlene – Sean Durkin
Every frame of this film is genuine, urgent and terrifying. It’s easily the best film of 2011.

Honorable Mentions:
These films didn’t make my top ten, but they’re just too good to ignore altogether.
"My Week With Marilyn"
“The Skin I Live In”
“The Descendents”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“One Day”

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