I wasn’t really planning on posting a personal favourites list for 2013, but upon seeing the results of “Vote: Best of 2013” and how greatly they differed from my own, I felt it necessary to share with you all my favourite films from the past year. As for the results themselves, in which you all kindly contributed, they will be posted this Thursday, so keep an eye out for that. I’ll do my very best to keep this list short and sweet. You can find my full review for each film by clicking on the corresponding title, enjoy!
Earlier on, when this film was released, it was very much at the top of my list. However, as the year progressed and more highly-sought pictures caught my attention, Derek Cianfrance’s lovely epic just couldn’t hold on to a spot. That being said, I truly believe it has a significant amount of staying power and if any of the films listed ahead of it falter with time, “The Place Beyond the Pines” will surely make a jump into the top 10.
10: 12 Years a Slave:
Directed by skyrocketing genius Steve McQueen, creator of “Hunger” and “Shame.” “12 Years a Slave” depicts the unbelievable story of Solomon Northup, a free black man abducted and sold into slavery, where he stayed for twelve long years. Featuring a plethora of staggering performances, a tremendous musical score, and stunning, yet disturbing visuals. This flick is sure to be apart of cinema’s canon for a good, long while
9: The Hunt:
The only foreign film to make my top 10 is Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Hunt.” About a man struggling against the simplistic destruction of a rumour, this film is, without question, one of the most disturbing on the list. Starring the magnificent Mads Mikkelsen, “The Hunt” is a lock for best foreign feature this award season, for me at least.
8: All is Lost (review coming soon):
Having only become aware of this film in the recent months, its power and sheer brilliance knocked me off my feet. Following a man at sea who becomes shipwrecked and discombobulated, “All is Lost” is a magnificent triumph. Starring Robert Redford, and only him. What this film is able to achieve with limited cast, settings, and dialogue is miraculous.
7: American Hustle:
My placing of this film may surprise a few as “American Hustle” will undoubtedly be in many cinephiles top 5 films of the year. There isn’t much fault in this flick, the performances are superlative, the direction unparalleled, and its soundtrack timeless. That being said, the film’s shaky story led to its positioning here at number seven.
Up until about November, “Gravity” was very much in play to be in my top 5 films of the year. Unfortunately for Cuaron’s masterpiece however, a slew of infallible films came along and knocked it out of the top tier. Don’t be fooled though, this film is an unrivalled achievement and will be so for many years to come. The imagery, performances, and story are entrancing, not to mention the soothing musical score.
5: Drinking Buddies:
Okay, here is my shocker, went off the board with this one. All kidding aside however, the truth is “Drinking Buddies” is a masterful character study and one of the most honest, authentic, heartbreaking films you will ever witness. Featuring fantastic performances from the entire cast, Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies” managed to surprise everyone, me included, and force its way into my top 5.
Being a former musician, I can really sympathize with the lead in the Coen brothers masterpiece, “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Tossing that aside, this film is still a towering experience and undoubtedly finds itself amongst the Coen brothers best. Featuring outstanding performances and the best soundtrack of the year, “Inside Llewyn Davis” makes the list without question.
For a little while there, I thought “Her” was going to be number 1 on my list. Carrying the most original story, a breathtaking script, and spectacular performances, Spike Jonze really outdid himself with this one. People will be talking about “Her” long after the film has ended, perhaps even after humankind has ended…
Jeff Nichols “Mud” is a modern-day fable. Conveying a harsh lesson about growing up and love, this impeccable tale starring Matthew McConaughey and Tye Sheridan is my runner-up.
Scorsese and DiCaprio, enough said…no, not enough? How about Jonah Hill and stunner Margot Robbie? This flick is absolutely crazy in every sense. I didn’t hesitate for one-second putting “The Wolf of Wall Street” at the top of this list.
With a shocking, at times inconceivable script, menacing atmosphere, and an immaculate performance from Mads Mikkelsen. The Hunt is a rampant, threatening, suggestive thriller faultlessly depicting the limitations of social acceptance. Also drawing serious arguments regarding the affect of current societies impressions on young, innocent minds. The Hunt’s insight into the grave consequences of having access to temptation, knowledge, and private information at the tips of our fingers is bewildering. The Hunt marvellously assigns blame, judgement, and disappointment at the populaces boundless skepticism and untrustworthiness when they so willingly provide every secret, thought, location, emotion, and potentially damaging information unnecessarily. With an emotional, uncompromising heart flaming at its core. The Hunt is driven by the bonds forged between family and friends.
Lucas (Mikkelsen), who recently separated from his wife, is struggling with his lonely life and for custody for his son. Living in a small town, he has found a job assisting in teaching a group of children. When Lucas and Nadja (Alexandra Rapaport) strike up a meaningful relationship and his son delivers good news, it seems that Lucas’s luck has finally changed. As things progress with his career, relationship, and son, all is not well with Lucas’s good friend Theo and the School where he teaches. They are hit with some disturbing news and now Lucas finds himself in the middle of a vicious manhunt.
The Hunt is heavily reliant on the three modes of persuasion and the viewers ability to discover and understand them. Being able to create unjustified discomfort in the viewer while conversely presenting them with undeniable proof of the truth throughout the entire feature is an astounding accomplishment. But rendered useless if the reason for the emotion is miscomprehended. The Hunt boldly states that there is no returning from a tarnished reputation. Distinguishing equal importance to ones actions and others perception of them. Still, even though we know what is really happening, we get caught up in the pandemonium and begin to question our own thought process. It is unprecedented that a films message peer pressures an audience to discard the truth. Who knew that it could even be administered to viewers, let alone work effectively.
Director of The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg’s astounding camerawork is something to marvel. Impeccable shots of a melancholic landscape and breathtaking views of small towns and its citizens, in addition to capturing their expansive emotions are but a taste of what Vinterberg has to offer The Hunt’s viewers. Vinterberg, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Tobias Lindholm, should be applauded, as well as Lindholm, for their poignant, original script. Instead of retracing what others have done, their tale of the relationships we forge, the mistakes we make, and the deceptive cunning of innocence is extremely relevant and unsettling. Even though the main focus is on one man’s struggle, the supporting cast and their gradually realization of the truth and the indifference they feel towards it is portrayed evenly.
To say that a single performance makes a film has never been truer. The Hunt would be lost without its lead, Mads Mikkelsen. His characters ability to separate the rage and invest in peaceful ignorance radiates through Mikkelsen’s portrayal. The subtle, infuriating helplessness his character succumbs to, Mikkelsen portrays beautifully and perfectly. Leading towards his demise, Mikkelsen remains composed and doesn’t crumble under any circumstance throughout The Hunt. The only supporting performance worth noting is Thomas Bo Larsen. His performance almost matches Mikkelsen’s stride for stride and considering how masterful Mikkelsen is in The Hunt, that’s high praise. Overall, the acting in The Hunt equals the quality and compassion of the script and directing, making a modern masterpiece.
The Hunt is terrifically acted, superbly directed, and vastly intelligent. I highly recommend this film to any cinephile.
The Hunt: 8.5 out of 10.
Don’t forget to check out blogger talk in the discussion section and this past weeks top 10, have a great day!