Best of 2011: Films
Best films of 2011, including Drive, Neds, A Separation, Black Swan and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy
Starring a firmament of male British character actors, this taut, sparse and moody le Carré adaptation, directed by Swede Tomas ‘Let The Right One In’ Alfredson, is an incredibly stylish orange-tinged 70s package (yet not a flare in sight?). Ditched spy chief Gary Oldman, as George Smiley, is brought back into the service to find a mole, working his way back into Hollywood’s top flight of actors in the process.
Original review: Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy
Ryan Gosling. For some his presence alone is enough to guarantee a film ‘favourite’ status. The man who has mastered the art of the hang-dog expression shines as the seemingly immortal stunt/getaway driver who finds himself on a moral mission. But that’s not all there is to love about director Nicolas Winding Refn’s homage to glossy 80s cinema. There’s also some a pulsing synth-pop soundtrack.
Original review: Drive
Excellent Iranian film A Separation is deserving of all the accolades it receives, and not just because it’s a challenging look at some of the issues facing a troubled country’s squeezed citizens. This award-winning drama presents a myriad of moral complexities at the heart of its story of divorce, family bonds and tragic misfortune. Honest and unforgettable stuff.
Original review: A Separation
Winona Ryder goes crazy. Vincent Cassel goes sleazy. Natalie Portman goes lesbian, then crazy. There was something for everyone in this claustrophobic body horror from Darren Aronofsky. Portman’s Oscar win for her schizophrenic performance as demure-turned-devilish ballerina Nina was the subject of some controversy (just how much of the dancing did she do?), but there was much to love here.
Original review: Black Swan
Our Hot 100 number one, Peter Mullan, directs and also acts in this tale of misspent Glasgow youth, with added street violence and hallucinogenic sequences. The plot for Neds was partly based on Mullan’s own experiences in gang the Young Car-Ds. A coming-of-age story of redemption, with subtle magical realism woven into its otherwise gritty narrative. A triumph and easily the Scottish film of the year.
Original review: Neds