There was no one movie that grabbed me the way There Will Be Blood or The Departed did a couple of years ago, but still, there were a lot of standouts this year. After much hemming and hawing, I’ve narrowed it down to my Top 3.
This one kind of snuck up on me. I was setting myself up to watch Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson as U.S. Army Casualty Notification Officers go head to head the entire film, and was surprised at the friendship that developed between the two. There’s a whole subplot with Foster dating the wife of a dead soldier, but you keep watching for the scenes between Foster and Harrelson.
I don’t think it’s necessarily difficult for a film to provoke an emotional reaction. Even if that reaction is mild revulsion or annoyance (cough, Juno, cough), it’s still an emotion. But provoking a reaction as strong as The Road did doesn’t happen very often. Definitely one of the strongest films this year. Not recommended for those suffering from depression.
Quentin Tarantino’s all grown up now. His long-awaited World War II epic delivered on every level it could. You had the over-the-top characters, the long-winded soliloquies, and all the violence you expect from a Tarantino movie, yet much more refined. Behind Pulp Fiction, this is the best movie Tarantino’s ever made, which made me very happy. Because after waiting for this movie since I was in high school, I think I would have broken down and cried if it had been a flop.
Honorable mentions go to…
The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air