1. The Artist
My concern that there will be a backlash with this film isn't enough for me not to make it my number 1. I came out of the cinema with a great big smile on my face and that's a rare thing in modern cinema. If you are satisfied with the simple things in life, I think you'll love it. A small film with a very big heart.
Biblical, spiritual, immense. Yes, the dinosaur scene might have worked a little better on storyboard than on screen, but The Tree of Life definitely had vision. I'm astonished that it hasn't been nominated for more of the big awards, but perhaps the world still isn't ready for Malick.
I saw Drive at an early preview not knowing what to expect. From the second the pink eighties credits rolled and the first synth beat pulsed from the speakers, I was hooked. Nicolas Winding Refn has made a brilliantly crafted film with killer set pieces that never fail to shock. Gosling doesn't have much to do other than brood and look pretty, but he does it awfully well.
Lars Von Trier doesn't do light and fluffy. Lars Von Trier does bleak, intense, and in this case, the end of the world. A film of two halves which leaves you thinking long after the credits have rolled.
No classic Laurence Olivier adaptation here. Andrea Arnold has ripped up the (tired) costume drama rule book and brought us a film that blisters and brings to live that tragic romance on the moors. It is a film to stir the senses and make you grateful for the warm bed you go home to each night.
6. Black Swan
Released in the UK in January, although it feels last one of last year's babies. It's a love-it or hate-it experience, and I fall firmly in the former camp. You never quite know what's going on, and that's the fun of it.
It's a dog eat dog world out there. Brilliant.
Cold, clinical and beautifully shot. Tilda Swinton proved she's one of the best in the business with a pitch-perfect performance.
Devastating. I'm a sucker for films about lost love, and this one resonated strongly with its beautiful mise-en-scene and restrained direction from Terence Davies.
A four and a half hour costume drama set across two centuries. Rashomon meets Barry Lyndon meets Crash. I loved it.
Still to see:
The Ides of March
It's been a great year for film. Roll on 2012. I have high hopes.