Review of 2011 – Top 10 Films
With so many great films coming out in 2011 it was a particularly tough choice to make this year. Not just in ordering the 10, which was painful enough, but also which films didn’t make the cut.
So, below is my Top Ten films of 2011. If you haven’t seen some or all of them I strongly urge you to seek them out.
10. True Grit
dir. Joel & Ethan Coen
A re-adatpation rather than a remake, the Coen’s first foray into the Western threatened to kick start the genre with its first classic in nearly two decades. Jeff Bridges is amazing but its Hallie Steinfeld who stills the show. Brutal, funny, moving. Everything you come to expect from the Coens.
9. The King’s Speech
dir Tom Hooper
If someone had said to me there would be 8 better films in 2011 than The King’s Speech I would have found it hard to believe. A delight from start to finish with a career best turn from Colin Firth. By the long final walk I could barely contain my nerves.
8. The Fighter
dir. David O. Russell
The best boxing film since Rocky? You damn right. Wahlberg and Bale shine as brothers in this familial drama about real life boxers Micky Ward & Dicky Edlund. Raw and intense, the bouts outside the ring provide enough of a punch to dwarf anything that happens in the ring.
7. Kill List
dir. Ben Wheatley
It doesn’t get much more terrifying than Kill List. Unnerving, unsettling, violent and bloody weird, Wheatley’s 2nd feature is the cult classic of the year. Part social realism, part hitman, part something entirely different. It demonstrates a mastery of genre and subverts them all magnificently.
dir. Lars von Trier
Putting aside von Trier’s comments at Cannes, Melancholia reveals a director at the peak of his artistic brilliance. An art house apocalypse film. von Trier’s Melancholia once again focuses on strong female characters persecuted – this time by forces greater than anything before. The opening sequence alone merits its inclusion on this lists.
5. We Need To Talk About Kevin
dir. Lynne Ramsey
Very few films are ever this powerful. Based on the best selling novel the film treats its subject matter indirectly, instead creating a film about a Mother’s hatred for her son, rather than about a high school massacre. Ramsey’s fractured structure reveals character and plot whilst simultaneously placing the audience directly in line with Tilda Swinton’s magnificent Eva/
4. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy
dir. Tomas Alfredson
Alfredson’s perfect spy thriller provided the years best ensemble cast, Firth, Strong, Hurt, Jones, Cumberbatch, Hardy. It marks Alfredson out as one of the best emerging directors in the world and provided a film which was serious, adult and contemplative. A welcome break from the dross cluttering cinema over the summer.
dir. Nicolas Refn Winding
The coolest film of the year, starring the coolest actor in the world currently. Drive belongs with those classic crime films which the 70s did so well.
2. The Artist
dir. Michel Hazanavicius
Silent cinema returns to our screens in what is simply one of the most joyous cinematic experiences for longer than I can remember. A true masterpiece which is as inventive and filmically interesting as it is purely entertaining. Film as art and entertainment in the best possible way.
1. The Tree of Life
dir. Terence Malick
A masterpiece of cinematic vision. Flawed yes, but so ambitious, so audacious and so deeply personal that it became more than just a film. The best evocation of growing up and memory ever commited to film, Malick may have delivered his most ambitious film to date, but he also created his most revealing and emotional.
Ten films really isn’t enough in 2011. The films which nearly made the list nclude Never Let Me Go, the most underrated film of the year. Attack The Block – the funniest British film of the year. The Guard, the funniest film of the year and Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Herzog’s awe inspiring documentary.
As with all years, there was just too many films to see in 2011 and below is a list of the top ten films I missed (in no particular order)
Cowboys & Aliens
Once Upon A Time in Anatolia