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Films of 2011

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Drive

The pink-neon title sequence; the brooding, skull-kicking lead wearing a white satin jacket; the heavily 80s influenced music – so much of Drive shouldn’t work, but it’s  hands-down the film of the year. With the moody night-time glow of the LA cityscape and slow-burning shots of a contemplative Driver all punctured by jump-out-your-seat moments of ultra-violence, it’s a thrilling watch.

 

Julia’s Eyes

After her stunning turn as a grieving mother in The Orphanage, Belen Rueda puts in another solid performance in this Spanish thriller. As she battles failing vision and her world slowly disintegrating around her, she must uncover the truth behind her sister’s apparent suicide. Nicely paced, with a couple of clever twists (although the main one is quite obvious), it shows that yet again the Spanish are masters at the horror/thriller genre.

 

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest

Although the pace of Hornet’s Nest may be slower than the other two films, it is no less bold and brilliant. As charges against Salander are dropped after a taut court case, her exacting of revenge on her half-brother in a frantic cat-and-mouse game provides a very satisfying conclusion to the Millennium trilogy.

 

Bridesmaids

Despite being touted as the ‘The Female Hangover’, Bridesmaids proved to be more than just one hilarious diarrhoea joke.


Another Earth

Was it a dream? Was there ever ‘Another Earth’? When did ‘Earth II’ become a mirror of Earth? What does the final scene mean? The gloriously haunting Another Earth throws up a multitude of questions (each frustrating) but it is this type of investment that you give to the film, trying to decipher meaning long after the credits have rolled, which proves it to be a very worthy watch.

 

127 Hours

When you consider that a large part of the film involved James Franco essentially immobile in a cave, Danny Boyle pulled off nothing short of a bloody miracle making 127 Hours such a thrilling, if not sometimes a little uncomfortable, watch. The use of Sigur Ros’ ‘Festival’ as Ralston makes his escape is cinematic magic.

 

Animal Kingdom

Jacki Weaver puts in a tour de force as Janine Cody, the seemingly benign (if you forget about her mouth kissing her adult sons) but later chilling matriarch behind an Australian crime family.

 

Blue Valentine

Raw, unflinching and brilliantly played by leads Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine is the rarity in cinema. Cleverly stitching lines between those first pangs of infatuation to the drudgery of a decaying and one-sided relationship later down the line, the film is a difficult but original watch.

 

Black Swan

Inception handed their ‘2010 What The Fuck Is Happening Award’ to Black Swan this year. Portman’s frail ballerina, stunted by her over-bearing mother and crippled by paranoia and Kunis’ overtly sexual, mega-minx are both deliciously brilliant in Aronofsky’s acclaimed psychological thriller.

 

Submarine

With Richard Ayoade’s directorial style sitting somewhere between Hal Ashby and Wes Anderson, Submarine is both quirky and expertly presented. More importantly, it goes some way to show that the UK film industry could be more than just ball-achingly terrible Richard Curtis films or maudlin domestic dramas.

 

True Grit

Of course Jeff Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn is largely unintelligible with his heavy cowboy drawl, but the Cohen’s homage to the original is a thoughtfully paced and beautifully shot. And Hailee Steinfeld’s voiceover fits the film perfectly.

 

Still to see which could make the 2011 shortlist –

Shame

The Artist

Tintin

Day In A Life

Senna

The Guard

Never Let Me Go

The Ides of March

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Written by because140charactersisnotenough

January 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm