Okay, folks, let’s get this out before I change my mind again.
First, if this were a top 20, these would be the additional ten in some kind of order:
A Separation, Attack the Block, Black Death, Contagion, The Descendants, The Guard, Midnight in Paris, Our Idiot Brother, Redline, The Tree of Life. I love each of those movies and, at one point during the crafting of this top 10 list, they each had a spot on it.
But, alas, there can be only one. Or, there can be only ten. And these are the ten.
10 – Rubber
One of the most overused words in English is “surreal,” but Rubber’s deadpan True West surrealism tickles me on a very basic level. It’s like the best bits of every Hal Hartley movie exaggerated by 100 and put into one movie.
9 – X-Men: First Class
I watched this again the other day to make sure. Yeah, it’s really quite good – certainly the best Marvel movie ever.
8 – United Red Army
This Japanese film from 2008 finally got its New York theatrical run this year. This look at 60s/70s leftist groups puts you through the ringer, taking political fanaticism to its strange, inevitable conclusion.
7 – Take Shelter
One of the best descents into madness I’ve ever seen.
6 – Rango
5 – We Need To Talk About Kevin
It’s not just Tilda Swinton’s performance but Lynn Ramsay’s. This is total cinema, and more playful than her previous work. Is it wrong that I found some of this movie funny.
4 – Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Next time I curse a money-grubbing reboot I’ll think of this sharp and highly entertaining movie.
3 – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
If I think about this too much I might make this my number one. It is not only gorgeous to look at, but so rich in subtext that watching and trying to understand it makes you truly empathize with the lead character. Good the first time, brilliant the second and I’m itching for a third.
2 – Meek’s Cutoff
The landscape of Herzog, the interpersonal dynamics of Polanski.
1 – Of Gods and Men
My Catholic fetish and Francophilia are powerless against this gorgeous film. It’s not just the best of 2011, it’s on my list of best movies of all time.