Each year they say that it’s not a vintage year, but I don’t. And this year is no different. It was hard to get it down to twelve for my dirty dozen, let alone ten for DN, with many more films worthy of a place. And this year, they are actually ranked in order. Bring on 2011.
10. Cyrus – Jay & Mark Duplass
John C Reilly finds a second shot at love, but with excruciating consequences as his new love’s son gets a little jealous. Funny, really uncomfortable and with tremendous performances.
9. The Arbor – Clio Barnard
This film makes me hopeful for British cinema. It hits hard, is full of imagination in delivery and creates a work that is biographical and socially astute. An astonishing debut feature from Clio Barnard.
Read the DN review of The Arbor.
8. Crazy Heart – Scott Cooper
Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, two of my favourite things. This tale of a fading country star is captivating, and is helped by amazing songs. Scott Cooper should direct more movies.
7. Up In The Air – Jason Reitman
2nd outing for George Clooney, again on startling form as a traveling personnel fixer realising he may have been on the wrong path. Jason Reitman’s third feature is his best, full of heart and truth.
Read the DN review of Up In The Air.
6. The Road – John Hillcoat
Bleak, horrific, dark, but with a tiny glimmer of hope. The adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s amazing book left some people cold, but for me John Hillcoat’s film hits all the right notes.
Read the DN review of The Road.
4. Exit Through The Gift Shop – Banksy
Banksy’s film about street art, a filmmaker who becomes a street artist, and well Banksy, is fascinating, funny and a brilliant commentary on art, filmmaking and the nature of the modern cult of celebrity.
3. Valhalla Rising – Nicolas Winding Refn
This near silent Viking thriller is hypnotic to the point of obsession. Startling cinema that is part Terrence Malick, part Alejandro Jodorowsky but wholly Nicolas Refn. Amazing.
Read the DN review of Valhalla Rising.
2. Skeletons – Nick Whitfield
This British comedy drama is an absolute wonder, full of imagination, heart and and belly laughs. Great chemistry, a great cameo from Jason Isaacs and amazing production detail. Sumptuous in every frame.
Listen to the DN interview with director Nick Whitfield.
1. The American – Anton Corbijn
George Clooney’s dark turn as a hitman and weapons artist for Anton Corbijn is a gorgeous, brutal, brooding picture and shows Corbijn could be the heir to the great Jean Pierre Melville.