I saw many solid films released in 2012. Of those, a few stand out a little bit more than the rest. Admittedly every film on my list is flawed in some way, yet there was at least one thing that was intriguing about each. Although none were great pictures, one almost was…
Well, here are my favorite five. Although most folks come up with ten, I only pick the five. I admit I had more trouble this year than in past years to whittle it down since most films I saw were good. These were a smidgen more interesting.
It takes 10 or 15 minutes to accept the film’s theatricality, yet Cronenberg’s latest is compelling because of its allegory of an elite class insulated and isolated from the chaotic reality of the rest of the world. Relationships are portrayed as being emotionless. Sex and money are treated as simple and instant gratifications. The film is quite goofy, yet it is highly satisfying.
4. “Moonrise Kingdom”
I’m not usually a fan of Anderson’s upper middle class shenanigans, yet his objectified nostalgia works for the first two acts of his latest. Although the film falls under its own weight by the surreal and the absurd in the final act, the process of style is on full display in an enjoyable, gimmicky piece.
3. “The Master”
What could have been? Anderson is truly a master at capturing a classical rhythm and tone in his films as well as bringing out the best in his actors. This is no less true here. However, this work falls short of greatness because of its muddled direction in story and plot, especially after an hour into it.
Complaints have been made that the film glosses over the subjects of racism and colonialism. Yet the film is intriguing because it reminds us that films are used as a way to capture memories, and people always remember the best and dismiss the worst. Here, the film’s first half is a cold reality juxtaposed against the nostalgic romanticism of the film’s second half.
1. “This is Not a Film”
I am reminded of the idea that art is borne out of conflict. This is shown quite clearly in this simple film as Iranian society forces a new meta experience for the viewer. The film allows its audience to imagine a scrapped film only to open up critical thought and discussion on the boundaries of taste and art in different cultures.