That Danny Boyle sure does know how to make movies doesn’t he? 127 Hours is daring filmmaking as Boyle decides that after 20 minutes he is going to center the next 70 minutes on a man with his arm trapped by a boulder against a rock wall. Such a scenario depends greatly on the person in the director’s chair, but Boyle had another trick up his sleeve in James Franco as his lead and it was an excellent choice if there ever was one.
This is a film that plays on your senses. Boyle brings the feel of the rock wall and the agonizing electricity of pain to real life. He uses sound as much as he uses narrative to tell the story. Inside the final five minutes of the film I never realized I would need the duration of the credits to regain my composure. Brilliant filmmaking if I may say so.
SIDE NOTE: I saved my commentary on a pair of Honorable Mention titles worth noting for now as 127 Hours was just one of three impressive single setting features this year. Adam Green’s Frozen and Rodrigo Cortes’s Buried (the one true single-setting feature of the year) both deserve mention. Neither live up to 127 Hours, but both are worth watching. Click the titles for my reviews of each.
The most overlooked and under-appreciated film of the year so far is Mike Leigh’s Another Year, that’s it, end of story. It was one of the most loved films out of the Cannes Film Festival and shortly after its premiere Sony Pictures Classics snatched it up and it seemed a foregone conclusion it would be a major Oscar contender. Then, Sony Classics forgot about it, mismanaged the Oscar campaign and will dump it into a couple of theaters at the end of the year.
Terrible marketing aside, the film stands on its own as one of the best of the year with what is most likely the best ensemble of the year including leads Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen and the supporting cast of Imelda Staunton, David Bradley, Karina Fernandez, Peter Wight, Oliver Maltman and, of course, the knock out of the group, Lesley Manville.
There’s life in every corner of this film, be it the ups or downs, it’s simply brilliant and while it does hit some rather tragic lows at times, I rewatched it only a few days ago and it’s just as good as it ever was.
Inception was my number one film of 2010 up until the last minute. This is a film that garnered the most conversation around these parts for the majority of the year and every step of the way it was an absolute joy. My article discussing my interpretation of the film is still getting comments and Zack Hemsey’s trailer music even inspired me to recut a trailer for 1947’s Black Narcissus.
While I’ve focused much of my attention to this point on the performances in several films, Inception‘s brilliance comes from Christopher Nolan, his script, his vision and his imagination. He also manages to continually surround himself with the perfect crew including cinematographer Wally Pfister, composer Hans Zimmer and editor Lee Smith, all of which worked with him on his two Batman features (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) and will likely continue the trend with The Dark Knight Rises.
Nolan has brought cinema some of its most intriguing features for the past several years and I for one can’t wait to see what else is around the corner once the Batman saga comes to a close.