2011 was an exciting year for film, particularly homegrown British efforts. For the first time on this blog I have knuckled down and found my top 5 films of last year. I thought a top 10 was a little too easy, so below are what I believe to be the cream of the crop of the most enjoyable features. Enjoy! Oh and let me know your top 5 list in the comments section below.
Attack The Block
The feature film debut of one half of Adam and Joe (Joe Cornish behind the camera and the script), we brits were treated to a taut and enjoyable 80s throwback in the vain of Gremlins and The Goonies via inner-city kids. It achieved the impossible by having the audience sympathize with a gang of hooded youths and by providing a few neat little twists towards the end. While its action set pieces are some of the best to be found within modern British cinema, also the monsters were worthwhile editions to film monster history.
Again another feature film debut, this time from Richard Ayoade this is quite possibly one of the best British comedies in some time. Hilariously painful to watch at times, which is down to the central performance from newcomer Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate. While he is a hugely unlikeable protagonist at times, it still becomes an enjoyable watch. Full of subtle, intelligent jokes and a fantastic soundtrack from Alex Turner, this is one of the best British films this year.
Of all the sports documentaries to be released during 2011, Senna was by and large one of the best. Containing footage of the great man himself and of the fatal crash which ended his short life, it manages to do the impossible; Making Formula 1 racing interesting and accessible for those not interested in the sport. It is a heartbreaking piece of filmmaking and one that stands up to numerous viewings. We urge you to take a punt and take this for a spin with this harrowing and thought-provoking piece of cinema.
Less cutesy then Ponyo and better then Tales From Earth Sea, this feature from Studio Ghibli’s youngest animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi (at the tender age of 38) is a thrilling and heartwarming tale based on Mary Norton’s The Borrowers. The animation is richer and more beautiful then some of the more recent Ghibli features. The Borrowers home and tools of their trade are lovingly detailed, while feeling convincing and authentic within the films universe. Worthwhile, intelligent and hands down the best-animated feature of 2011
If some cinema from 2011 left you wanting then Nicolas Winding Refn’s ode to 80s cinema, Drive, was a shocking punch to the gut. Ryan Gosling turns out a career best performance as the no-nonsense and quietly aggressive driver. Gosling oozes style and charisma in each and very frame he is present in. While being surrounded with some of the best supporting actors such as the likes of Brian Cranston and Ron Pearlman. When the violence hits, it’s brutal, punishing and sickening realistic. And once the first gunshot goes off it reverberates throughout the rest of the picture with its interludes of graphic aggression. It also contains the best soundtrack of 2011, all of which only adds to the films perfectly paced tone. This is cinema perfection.
Lets see what 2012 holds for the world of film