Better late than never…
1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo US
David Fincher’s visceral sucker-punch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo comes in at number 1 on the list. Featuring a stellar performance from Rooney Mara (The Social Network), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo pulls no punches when it comes to displaying the violence and disturbing material originally included in Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel. With sharp editing, ice cold cinematography and a hauntingly hypnotic soundtrack from Trent Reznor and Atticius Ross, TGWTDT feels like Fincher’s most taut, lurid and best work since the likes of Fight Club and Se7en.
At number 2 on the list is Lars’ Von Trier’s earth shattering marvel Melancholia. The film is split into two main sections, the first entitled “Justine” and the second “Clare”, both sections tell the tale of two sisters who become increasingly depressed and anxious as a near looming planet Melancholia threatens to collide with earth. The film contains breath-taking cinematography and art direction, the images in the film almost leap of the screen at the audience. Controversial director Lars Von Trier (Dogville, Anti-Christ) balances the plot pacing delicately in the film, although the story sometimes feels a little plodding and stretched, it none-the-less manages to keep the audience mesmerized throughout.
This astonishing achievement from director Nicholas Winding Refn (Bronson) is sure to divide audiences around the world. Due to the film’s misleading trailer, many moviegoers that were expecting a barrage of violence and intense action from start to finish are probably going to be disappointed with the film’s slow pacing. While audiences looking for something entertaining, yet deeper than the stock-standard action film, will delight in this brilliant piece of filmmaking. Loaded with style and 80’s flair, this absorbing and occasionally confronting homage to action films of the past, marks one of the best performances in both Refn and Gosling’s career.
4) The Descendants
Alexander Payne’s moving character drama The Descendants tells the tale Matt King (George Clooney), a Hawaiian resident who learns that his recently deceased wife had been having a secret affair behind his back for years. George Clooney plays the character of Matt with Oscar-deserving class in this touching character drama, that moves along the plot with a gentle, slow ease. The calming beauty of the Hawaiian landscape acts a nice backdrop to the film, with the many palm trees and beaches on the island becoming as much of a character in the film as the actors themselves.
Carnage is the hilarious 2011 bottle comedy from acclaimed director Roman Polanski. The film takes place in the Brooklyn apartment of Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly) Longstreet who invite Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christopher Waltz) Cowan into their home to try and deal with an incident involving their children that took place at their local park. As the confines of the Longstreet home become increasingly claustrophobic (with the camera only ever leaving once or twice), both sets of parents become more and more childish in their interactions with each other, creating an side-splitting series of events that will leave the audience in stitches.