Top Five Films from 2011

Drive 

Featuring a magnetic Ryan Gosling, Nichol Winding Refn’s Drive is certain to enter the cult-consciousness, largely thanks to an excellent soundtrack and stylish direction. Drive is so much more than its stylish aesthetics though, its subtle reflections upon the violence of man and the ability, or inability, to connect emotionally with others, creates a truly intellectual experience which some may find surprising considering the level of violence.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller make for both unsettling and chilling viewing in this story of a mother’s reflections upon her son’s act of mass murder. Heralding Lynne Ramsay’s return to filmmaking after difficulties within the Hollywood system, We Need to Talk About Kevin shows that Ramsay has learnt to successfully balance her own directorial style with a film that has mass appeal.

Snowtown

Featuring a number of highly disturbing scenes, Snowtown certainly isn’t an enjoyable watch: it is however, incredibly admirable, with excellent direction and a flawless, largely unknown cast. Documenting Australia’s worst serial killer, John Bunting, Snowtown takes the original approach of following the perpetrators of the crimes rather than the victims, resulting in a truly challenging work.

Wuthering Heights

The first adaptation to really capture the violent, passionate nature of Brontë’s novel, Andrea Arnold’sWuthering Heights dispels with much of the original dialogue, allowing the essence of the novel to be depicted in all its glory.

Take Shelter 

Demonstrating perhaps one of the finest depictions of mental illness and paranoia committed to film, Take Shelter stars Michael Shannon in arguably his best role to date. His performance as Curtis, whose increasing obsession begins to affect his relationship with both his family and friends, is entirely engaging.

The Tree of Life

Marking a return for the hitherto elusive Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life is arguably his most personal film to date. Depicting an exercise in mourning and grief, The Tree of Life’s personal nature in turn makes it Malick’s most touching and empathetic film.

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