This is part of a series of year end lists here on The Lost Boys this week... Check back for more, and enjoy Matt's 5 best films of 2011 below:
1. THE TREE OF LIFE
Derek Malcolm described this as “a brilliant little film about family relationships encased in otiose pretension”. I tend to agree - but don’t let that little film’s transcendental brilliance of observation and insight get lost in all the discussion of dinosaurs and Armani perfume ads. In truth, I lapped up those parts too, much as I found the ending a failure. Throw in the added resonance of having grown up the middle child of three brothers in a semi-rural setting, and there was no way this was not going to be my film of the year.
2. THE SKIN I LIVE IN
“Sometimes, swear to God, I thought I was playing Shakespeare. And sometimes this cheap Mexican soap opera”. The feeling is mutual, Antonio Banderas, but that didn’t stop this from being the most entertainingly spun narrative of the year - an art that is sometimes afforded lesser status by critics, but has no greater current master than Almodovar.
Dogtooth was perhaps my favourite film of the past decade behind Synecdoche, New York. I had high hopes for this follow up from Giorgos Lanthimos, but they weren’t so much met as thrown wildly off-kilter by this profoundly strange and constantly surprising study of a group of misfits who moonlight as substitute loved-ones-for-hire for the recently bereaved. Possibly more excited about this man’s career than any other current filmmaker.
Believe the hype - Kenneth Lonergan’s self-styled “teen epic” was another film that spun off in directions one could not possibly have anticipated. There should be more teen epics - and more great films about teenage girlhood - but they would be hard-pressed to beat this film’s unnerving, captivating and - by the way - non-eponymous heroine.
Because it is better than all but one entry in the “gay cinema” pantheon of the past twenty years, and quite frankly “gay cinema” is grateful.