5. Blue Valentine
The first of two Films in my top five featuring Ryan Gosling, this film is on the list just because of the strength of the two central performances by the aforementioned Gosling and Michelle Williams. The film tells the story of the unwinding of a marriage from the romatic start to the tragic end. The film is painful to watch because of the honesty of showing a crumbling relationship but so well made and peformed that it makes you want to rewatch it even though it hurts you, it’s the ultimate masochists movie. It’s a film where you forget there is even acting involved, both characters are at fault but the blame doesn’t matter when both are so unhappy which is the tragedy. The film even makes a comment on how our memory works as the main characters remember really the only things you remember about a relationship once it ends. The giddy start and the heartbreaking end, the film also has the most lovely end titles i’ve probably seen at the end of a movie.
4. We need to talk about Kevin
Sometimes a film can get under your skin, you know the sort of film i’m talking about one that you just can’t shake off and rolls around your mind for days afterwards, Kevin is one of those films which disturbs you profoundly. Lynne Ramsey showed she was a visual magician with her first film Ratcatcher and also her flawed film Morvern Callar but the visual way she paints this story is masterful. We start the film seeing Tilda Swintons character hated in her community and struggling to go outside her house. We also see her scraping off red paint daubed all over the outside of her house a glimpse of the horror that has been. Through flashbacks we slowly work out that her child Kevin has done something unspeakable. Kevin is really about nature or nurture, the child from very early on shows signs of unnease but the small acts of a mother who never wanted him ripples down into the boys teens. Make no mistake this is a horror story but not blood and guts fantasy where the hot cheerleader gets a knife to the chest this is something much more frightening, the chilling notion that you could not only spawn evil but also be complicit in it’s creation. By the end of the film we have no easy answers just as in life.
3. 13 Assassins
I not a massive fan of the filmaker Miike Takeshi but with 13 Assassins he nailed the epic Samarui film so much so that he is currently in production with another one (oh lordy!). This for me is his second best film behind Audition. It is visceral exciting filmaking with a 45 minute fight scene at the end of the film which pushes it to the top of all time samurai films. It slashed and diced it’s way into my heart.
see my review here!
2. Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
An antidote to the violent, visceral spy films that have come out in the last 5 years including the Bourne’s and Bonds this was back to the cerebal spy film which was more interested in the mechanications of people then fighting and car chases. The film looks into the lives of the people controlling the country in the backrooms of government in the cold war and the tense situation that there is a mole right at the top. The lead character George Smiley is pulled out of forced retirement to find the culprit. Smiley is played by the always impressive Gary Oldman and he plays him as the man in the background, the man you never notice but he is many steps ahead of everyone and dogmatically will complete his mission. The film has the best esemble cast i’ve seen for a long time and they are all on the top of there game, noticably brilliant performances come from Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch. I like to compare the film to a beautiful symphony where from the conductor to the percussionists they all work in perfect harmony. It’s a film where the raising of a characters voice is more thrilling then a fist fight with a newspaper.
see my review here!
As instantly iconic as a zippo lighter, it’s a dark brooding film powered by Goslings performance. It is sleek and stylish but always has an intensity under the surface that makes it exciting. Our main character starts the film as the quiet lone gunman, the hero who wants to save the girl, but as the film goes on we realise that the cold stare and impassive stance is hiding a sociopath, someone who would stamp you to death if you got in the way of what he wants. The main character is a shark in a emblazoned jacket and driving gloves, if he’s not driving forward he will wither. I can’t wait to see what Golsing and Refn do next.
read my review here!