Since all your James Bonds and Jason Bournes have deprecated the spy genre into super-serious, po-faced undercover killing affairs, and the likes of Johnny English, Alex Rider, Cody Banks and those goddamned Spy…
One of the finest films of the year turns out to be a documentary. The Imposter is a bold, compelling tour-de-force that employs cinematic techniques to explore the nature of truth, deception and storytelling itself. Above all, it defies documentary conventions to expose a darker side of the human mind as good as any work of fiction does.
This is one for the brains. Alfredson’s vision is an incredibly restrained, intelligently crafted period piece that puts the spy genre back into human realism, questioning values like friendship, loyalty and trust like pawns being moved around in a bigger chess game. And it has Oldman, whose central performance is one for the ages.
Whilst sporadically absurd and often restrained, Hanna works well as a postmodern take on Brothers Grimm crossed with post-Cold War spy thriller. It’s smartly paced, impressively choreographed and directed by Wright, and anchored by a solid central performance by Ronan, who’s running ahead as best young actress of her time. Plus, it has Blanchett playing mega-bitch, too.
Danny Boyle certainly knows how to hold your attention in this exhilaratingly told motivational drama. Not a single minute of 127 Hours drips with abandon nor steers into cheapo sentimentality. This is dignified, glorious and triumphant, with a winning James Franco as the American self-made hero, Aron Ralston.
A marvellously dark, protean piece of postmodern cinema. Black Swan is a high-wire, class act both by Aronofsky’s technical ingenuity and Portman’s bracingly, breathlessly passionate performance. Hers is an acting accomplishment that would soon become a yardstick for any future Hollywood actresses (or actors) to come.