If you’re a long-term DN reader, you’ll know that while the rest of the net has put their ‘Best of’ lists to bed by early December, we hold out until the year is completely done and dusted to leave viewing space for us to agonise over those last minute movie wonders.
This time round we decided that the joy of condensing a whole year of film watching down to a single list of highlights was far too much fun to keep to ourselves and so have invited some DN friends to share in the
pleasure pain of the top ten list.
First up is Neil Fox, who as well as being an accomplished film critic and filmmaker, is co-founder/co-director of our favourite film festival Filmstock – which means we let him slide and have a top dozen instead of the traditional top 10 – over to you Neil.
Some have said it’s not been a vintage year, but I challenge any year to beat the top three films I saw this year, the top three listed below. Three remarkable works of cinematic beauty and social profundity. Here’s to 2009.
1. There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about the birth of the Oil industry in America will come to be regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Brutal, haunting, unique, powerful and featuring one of the all time great performances, by Daniel Day Lewis.
2. Hunger – Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen’s telling of the hunger strike by Bobby Sands and fellow IRA prisoners in the Maze prison in the early 1980s is beautifully performed, beautifully realised, pioneering British filmmaking.
3. Wall-E – Andrew Stanton
Brave, beautiful, sweet and relevant. This tale of love and friendship and the fate of the Earth is a rare jewel.
4. In Bruges – Martin McDonagh
Two Irish hitmen holing up in Bruges. Hilarious, offensive, great performances and somehow, a great advert for Belgium. Somehow. Wonderful.
5. Garage – Lenny Abrahamson
This tender tale of a simple mechanic in rural Ireland has heart and soul overflowing. A gorgeous mix of mirth and melancholy. [check out DN078 for our interview with Lenny Abrahamson about the making of Garage]
6. Iron Man – Jon Favreau
Robert Downey Jr and a really tight script made Iron Man the most rewarding event film this summer. That and Gwyneth Paltrow’s legs.
7. Tropic Thunder – Ben Stiller
If In Bruges felt ‘wrong’, Ben Stiller’s tale of spoiled Hollywood egos adrift in the jungle made it look like Dumbo. So wrong, but so clever, and so funny. As good as the hype suggested, for once.
8. No Country for Old Men – Coen Brothers
A deserved Oscar and platitudes for the Coen Brothers, filmmakers extraordinaire, back to their best, with this near nihilsitc adaptation of Cormac McCarthy.
9. In Search Of A Midnight Kiss – Alex Holdridge
Two people walk around LA talking on New Years Eve and I’m hooked. Hooked on the monochrome camerawork, the chemistry between the boy and girl, and the hilarious foul mouthed dialogue.
10. Son Of Rambow – Garth Jennings
Garth Jennings manages to make growing up, VHS and the 80s cool in a film with subtle messages about the importance of friendship.
11. Gomorrah – Matteo Garrone
Coruscating, captivating and terrifying tale of the cycle of fate, destiny of youth and crumbling of tradition amongst the Naples Mafia.
12. The Orphanage – Juan Antonio Bayona
Scary, unsettling film with a horrible denouement. Stylish and edge of the seat thrilling.