While the upcoming Academy Awards will again stir up the debate about quality versus popularity, in my opinion 2010 has been a fantastic year for film – giving us a trove of moving and visceral filmmaking and giving me my favorite movie going experience since Ghostbusters. Without further ado, here are my Top 10 films of 2010:
10. Boy – Taika Waititi’s semi auto-biographical story of a young Maori kid is a touching and whimsical tale that takes full advantage of its beautiful New Zealand setting. I imagine this laugher/crier flew under most moviegoers’ radars – but it is well worth seeking out. [Covered in my Sundance’10 wrap-up]
9. Winter’s Bone – Like most of the films on this list, Debra Granik’s Ozark thriller played at Sundance’10 – though I didn’t catch it until much later. What I love most about this film is the way such an interesting and complex story unfolds so expertly from the point of view of the young protagonist (and of course enough can’t be said about Jennifer Lawrence). We are along for the ride from moment one as it spirals from mundane to outrageous.
8. Blue Valentine – My fest fave from Sundance’10 falls a few spots back upon reflection, but Gosling’s and Williams’ performances stand firm for me a year removed. The movie is picking up steam in the specialty market as it enters its third frame of release this weekend and is well worth tracking down. [Covered in my Sundance’10 wrap-up]
7. Animal Kingdom – I can’t think back on David Michod’s film without dwelling on the startling performances by Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver. They are both simply chilling. This movie is one of the best crime thrillers in years. [My review on Twitch]
6. Exit Through the Gift Shop – Banksy’s docu-mystery was certainly one of the most talked about documentaries of the year and also one of the best. I personally believe most of the mystery is drummed up and what you see here is mostly what you get. But the real success of the film is the unparalleled view into the street art movement. This documentation will live on long after
the Space Invader tiles fall off the wall. [My review on Twitch]
5. A Prophet – I thought for some time on whether to include this film here since it made so many lists in 2009. But when it came down to it, the movie played in theaters in 2010 and I didn’t see it until then so here it is (sorry True Grit, you got bumped). Jacques Audiard’s prison drama is both haunting and magical with scenes that make you want to hide your eyes and others that make you sigh with awe. On top of that, Tahar Rahim’s performance might be one of the most overlooked of the year.
4. The Social Network – Plenty has already been said about the film I still predict to take home the best picture Oscar. What strikes me most a few months later is the absolute pitch perfection that David Fincher manages to achieve time and time again with his films. He is quite possibly the most skilled director working today. [My review]
3. Restrepo – Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s Afghan war documentary is without a doubt the most visceral war movie ever made. Fans of Platoon, Saving Private Ryan, and The Thin Red Line need to seek this film out right away. This is war. These are soldiers. Those are enemies. This is the real thing – and it is incredible.
2. Fish Tank – A surprise late entry to my top 10 list this year came in the last few weeks after I saw this title cropping up on a number of top 10 lists and sought it out. Andrea Arnold’s coming of age story of a poor 15 year old girl in suburban England is hauntingly honest yet ultimately uplifting. Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing, and Michael Fassbender hold nothing back in their stirring performances. Andrea Arnold is a filmmaker on the move and I am a fan.
1. Black Swan – No surprise here as I have been able to do nothing other than rave about this film to everyone I meet since seeing it a month ago. It is one of my favorite films of all time and probably the most thrilling cinematic experience I’ve ever had. 2011, this one is gonna be hard to beat. [My review]
I am very interested in hearing what you think of the list. Please feel free to leave your comments here. Thanks!