1. The Social Network (review)
2. Micmacs (review)
3. The Kids Are All Right
4. World’s Greatest Dad
5. I Am Love
Stinker of the year: The Last Airbender (review)
Now, this is a tough one. Even excluding the ace films I saw at the London Film Festival that won’t see general release until 2011 (Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Never Let Me Go), I still have over 15 end of year list-worthy films, which just goes to show that, if you thought 2010 was an underwhelming year for cinema, you simply weren’t trying hard enough.
Therefore, I’ve had to demote the likes of Scott Pilgrim, Down Terrace, Bad Lieutenant, Dogtooth, Shutter Island, Up In The Air, Kick-Ass, Rare Exports, Still Walking and A Prophet, and it was such a closely-run race, that I can’t pinpoint any flaws that differentiate those from the five I’ve chosen.
That said, The Social Network is the obvious one for me. It moulded genre to its whim, effectively playing out as a character drama, a procedural, an origin story and a dissection of our relationship with the Internet. And it was packed with delightful production polish: Fincher’s direction, Sorkin’s nimble script, nuanced performances across the board, and a score from Reznor and Ross that’s as unconventional as it is perfect.
From there, four uniquely surprising films: Micmacs showed Jeunet reconnecting with his love of oddball design ideas in the context of a charmingly comic caper, The Kids Are All Right avoided all LGBT Hollywood cliché, and offered a deeply involving family drama, World’s Greatest Dad gave Robin Williams his best role in years and revolved around the darkest, most unexpected of comic twists, yet still delivered more than just surprise, and I Am Love tantalised with visual poetry, a feast of cinematography that gelled with the hyper-kinetic passion of its John Adams score, as Tilda Swinton’s upper-class Italian housewife blossomed into radiant sexuality.
For the duffer, I would love to have the gall to say Inception, but even that messy, unimaginative misfire of a film is sublime when laid alongside The Last Airbender.
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