Time for the infamous top five. I got to say I’m a little bit surprised not seeing more controversy among the comments on part 1. Check it out here, it also contains info on which films I haven’t seen and my main criterias on which films I have chosen from.
In the last post I didn’t go into that much detail on my ranking of the films I thought I’d go through it swiftly here because its quite simple. After deciding on the bunch of films that is the core group f this list I simply ranked them against each other until I came up with the order of the list in these two posts. Also my main feeling that I went with was how entertained I was by the film since thats my main reason for going to the cinema.
Being a huge fan of both Gosling (thanks to Blue Valentine) and the director Nicolas Winding Refn (mainly for the Pusher films) this was of course a must see for me. It certainly lived up to most of the hype having a ton of great acting performances but also really memorable scenes. The only thing that ruined it a little for me was the ending I did wish he had been a little more conventional with it. For people that liked Drive I recommend that you check out the Stuntman. Its obvious that Drive was inspired by it and its a solid film that is a forgotten gem in many ways.
Ruben Östlund is one of Swedens most critically acclaimed younger directors. Play is his third feature and it might be his best so far. The plot is simple its about a gang of teenage boys robbing other teenage boys of their wallets and cell phones. However, they do it by approaching them friendly and luring them into a trap where the victims more or less hand over their valuables willingly in the end. Ruben has his own cinematic style that is based on really long uninterrupted takes but it never gets boring or uninteresting and his amateur actors always excel in amazing naturalistic performances. I can’t find who is in charge of international sales but I’m quite sure it will get some international distribution after being screened in Toronto and Venice.
3. Fast Five
If I had anticipated 2011 films beforehand this would have been one of my biggest surprises. I’ve always been a fan of the first film but for some reason I hadn’t seen any of the sequels until this one and wow was I blown away. It probably has some of the most over the top action scenes since 70′s James Bond films. Hell the final car chase was alone worth the admission fee. Just see it if you haven’t yet!!!
2. Real Steel
This was another film I wasn’t really expecting to be this good. At first I wasn’t that interested in seeing it but after reading a review that hinted that it might be a Joel Burman film and hell yeah it was! Sure its completely done through the Rocky under dog formula but I got to say its one of the best in that sub genre. The main thing I really liked was how it brought me back to my childhood of seeing all the cheesy 80′s classics. I had huge problem with the alibi sub-plot of Hugh Jackmans girlfriend. Other than that this is pretty much as good as it gets entertainment wise.
So time for the big one, the one I’d really recommend that you see because I’m fairly sure you haven’t if you don’t live in Sweden (unfortunately not that many Swedes have seen it either).
Gränsen is about a group of Swedish soldiers who are guarding the Swedish side of the Norwegian border during World War II. One night a couple of the soldiers are involved in a gunfight with the Nazis and they flee into Norway. From that point on its a nonstop-action/chase film a la First Blood. Script wise its a great evidence of how good it can be when simplifying rather than overdoing which unfortunately is something that we are good at in Sweden. More or less all elements are really good but I’d especially like to highlight the acting, the action sequences and the set design and whats even more incredible is that it was financed outside the tax funded Swedish financing system which more or less deducts 1,5 million dollars from the budget to begin with. NonStop Sales is handling world sales and I know that for instance UK has bought the DVD rights for it.
Thats it for my take on the cinematic season of 2011. Please let me know in the comments what you think and if you for some reason are interested in an audio version of my list feel free to check out this filmyarn podcast where I talk about it.