Top 10 Films of ’10

This year, I mean last year — 2010 — was good to me in terms of film, mostly thanks to The Site Formerly Known As The Auteurs. I met some very passionate people on there and got introduced to some incredible French films, Soviet cinema and old obscure British art films that I wouldn’t otherwise have heard of.

This list will probably not reflect any of that because I’m constrained by the fact that only films released in ’10 can be on here, and of those, I’ve only seen a handful. Still, I don’t think that I need to see all the films in ’10 to be able to make a list of my favourites. So without further ado —

10. Siege Of The Dead

Clocking at a little over an hour, this brilliant little film from Germany is about a group of ordinary people trapped in an apartment building surrounded by zombies. While Siege… isn’t quite as scary as REC, it is ultimately more clever and resourceful.

This is one of the films I found out about through an acquaintance on Mubi (The Site Formerly Known As The Auteurs), and boy am I glad that I did.

9. Dogtooth

From Greece comes this disturbingly dark film that I despise because of how it made me feel; yet it resonated with me so much that I find it absolutely necessary to include in this list. On the surface, it’s about bad parenting, but really, it’s a film about fascism and censorship; paranoia and mind control; and incest.

There’s a scene in this film that makes that one infamous scene in Antichrist look like some G-rated Disney shit.

8. The American

While most people compare Corbjn’s The American to Melville’s Le Samourai, I find that it’s a lot closer to Jarmusch’s Limits of Control than the former. It’s a hitman film with no hits; an international spy thriller with no thrill. All you get is some absolutely gorgeous photography and Clooney walking, sitting and having sex with a hooker. Now while that may not sound very interesting, I believe Corbjn made exactly the film he wanted.

It’s an exercise in minimalism and subtlety, and that appeals very much to my senses as a filmmaker.

7. Heartbeats

Now is as good a time as any for a little confession: I didn’t very much like Xavier Dolan when I first heard of him. I just hate knowing that there’s someone exactly my age (he’s only 20 days older) doing something I so passionately want to do — and doing it well. It makes me feel like such a loser. A failure. Also, it doesn’t help that he’s incredibly good-looking too. I’m sorry, but he is. Anyway, that’s beside the point.

His second feature, Les Amours Imaginaires, otherwise known as Heartbeats, is a beautiful film about love, lust and friendship. It’s very well written and incredibly well-shot. The editing can be a bit distracting at times, and the slow-mo shots get old really quickly, but the film is far greater than the sum of its parts.

That’s not something I can say about a lot of films.

6. Flipped

This American film by Rob Reiner is probably the sweetest most adorable film I’ve seen all year. It’s about two eighth graders who fall for each other. Essentially, it’s a film about first love set in the 50s. It’s funny, well acted and very well written. I don’t know what more to say except except that if you’ll only see one film about first love this year, this should be it.

5.  Please Give

Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give is the surprise film of the year, for me at least. I didn’t very much like Holofcener’s previous film, Friends With Money, and went into this one knowing absolutely nothing about it.

It’s a multi-layered ensemble about an upper middle-class couple who buys the apartment of their neighbour, an elderly woman, and wait for her to die. The characters are incredibly well written and the performances fantastic, especially from Rebecca Hall who plays the elderly woman’s granddaughter. Holofcener’s favourite, Catherine Keener, is in this too, and she’s brilliant. In a way, the film feels like good Woody Allen and the very best of Todd Solondz.

As far as slice-of-life films go, this right here is outstanding. Tell your friends.

4. The Ghost Writer

I’d like to go on record saying that I prefer the original title — The Ghost. That being said, this is a brilliantly crafted film by an old master. With The Ghost Writer, Polanski made what is probably the best political thriller in years. It was well written, well acted and had the most amazing score. Most of all, it was actually thrilling.

3. Four Lions

It’s not everyday that you see a film about “jihadists” that’s actually funny. It’s incredibly sharp, witty, dark and really really funny. I haven’t laughed like I did in this all year.

The film’s greatest strength is probably the fact that it didn’t ridicule or poke fun at Islam; it easily could have. It’s a film about idiotic terrorists who just happen to be muslim; not one about how islam “breeds” terrorists. A lesser director could’ve easily gone the other way and made a film I would’ve probably found offensive.

Chris Morris is no hack, and he succeeded in making one of the best films of the year.

2. Carlos

As long as I’m talking about terrorism, I might as well go ahead and talk about Olivier Assaya’s masterpiece, Carlos. It’s not so much about terrorism as it is about idealism, radicalism and battling western imperialism. Like The Baader Meinhof Complex, Carlos is about how someone with arguably good intentions turns into, for all intensive purposes, a monster.

With an ambitious running time of five and a half hours, Carlos is a near perfect film.

1. Somewhere

Like The American, Somewhere goes nowhere, but even more so.

The first five minutes, in which a stationary camera captures a Ferrari going round a race track over and over and over… tells you everything you need to know about this film. But I did not like the last ten minutes. Not because there was anything especially bad with the ending, it’s just that, for a film so subtle, the ending was too “in your face.” Nevertheless, that didn’t spoil this beautiful film for me.

Like Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola has once again made an incredibly deep human story about loneliness. Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning were fantastic; the cinematography absolutely brilliant, and the music wasn’t half-bad either.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my favorite film of 2010.


3 Responses to “Top 10 Films of ’10”

  1. 1 5plitreel January 2, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I’ve totally missed a couple of these -> great list. Really like your blog!

    • 2 Al January 2, 2011 at 10:31 am

      I also missed other potentially good films like 127 Hours, King’s Speech and Biutiful, although there’s no guarantee they could’ve made the list. Thank you 🙂

  2. 3 Mathilda January 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks for the article.

    Nice to read that you appreciated Dolan’s movie just as I did. This young guy is definitely talented and he’s only 22.
    I was surprised to see that his next movie is actually on a crowdfunding website ( in order to find money to produce it ! But I joined this opportunity to help this talented director, and I really hope that he’ll get more recognition with “Laurence Anyways”. Here is the link :

    And also an interview he did in french about it (english subs in comments) :

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: