Top 5 Films of 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button dir. David Fincher

benjamin-buttonAfter a career of creating films that explore serial killers (Se7en, Zodiac) and the male psyche (Fight Club), David Fincher shows his heart in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The film has its flaws, but there are some truly breathtaking moments in this 3-hour epic that make it one the year’s best.

The Dark Knight dir. Christopher Nolan

the-dark-knightIt’s a rare treat for a film to be well executed and meaningful as well as popular. The top grossing film of 2008 at nearly $1 billion, the second installment of the reincarnated Batman series stretched beyond a good-guy/bad-guy tale to become something larger than itself: speaking on terrorism, the nature of chaos, and the role of morality among the masses.

My Winnipeg dir. Guy Maddin

In this docu-fantasia, Guy Maddin, “the mad poet of Winnipeg,” explores his love/hate relationship with his hometown. Casting actors to reenact key moments from his childhood, Maddin explores the role of myth in the Canadian conscience while playfully ignoring the line between fact and fiction in his signature, black & white melodrama style.

Rocket Science dir. Jeffrey Blitz

rocket-2Rocket Science is the quirky comedy of the year: a boy with a stutter joins a debate team in pursuit of a girl. Awkward hilarity ensues. Eef Barzelay creates a pitch perfect soundtrack to backdrop Jeffrey Blitz musings on teenage confusion through an ensemble of idiosyncratic characters: from desperate adults to ambitious oddballs.

Slumdog Millionaire dir. Danny Boyle

photo_04_hires1Danny Boyle – whose eclectic mix of films includes Trainspotting, Millions, and 28 Days Later – creates a love-letter to Mumbai with his crowd-pleaser Slumdog Millionaire. The story tracks Jamal Malik from the slums to his turn on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The premise sounds cheesy, but this film is bursting with so much colour, life, and love that its fairy tale roots become real.

Best Utterly Depressing Foreign Film:

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days dir. Cristian Mungiu

It’s hard to recommend this Romanian film, but I am still in awe of its execution. Setin Communist era Romania, the film follows two college roommates who try to arrange an illegal abortion. Oleg Mutu’s filming is stark and subtle, lingering far beyond comfort on the frightened protagonists as their decisions drive them into further peril.

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4 Responses

  1. Everyone is loving Slumdog Millionaire. I have to see it!

    • yes yes! I want to see it again!

  2. I’m always curious to see the list of films that didn’t make the list. Since you’re not a film critic by profession I assume there are a lot you didn’t see. Would you be willing to share the competition these five were up against?

  3. I thought it was actually a pretty weak year for films. I had to scramble to come up with this list. I thought Burn After Reading or Body of Lies might be contenders before I saw them, but they while they had their moments, they were ultimately unsatisfying. I still want to see Australia, RocknRolla, and Synecdoche, New York, and angsty Oscar contenders Revolutionary Road and Doubt. As well as foreign films Waltz with Bashir and The Edge of Heaven.

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