The innovation went retro as “The Artist,” a silent film, topped many lists, including my own. More on that film later….
The retro approach had Director Nicolas Winding Refn adopting a 1980s motif with his violent crime film “Drive,” a movie that also resurrected the career of Albert Brooks in the process. “Drive,” which contained the best Ryan Gosling performance of the year, started far better than it ended. The film may have enchanted fanboys and wannabe filmmakers, but I found the narrative a little too one note and ultimately as vacant as the stares from Gosling in the lead. Expect more pugilistic violence and male posturing as Winding Refn and Gosling team up again in 2012 for the Bangkok set boxing film “Only God Forgives.”
Form trumped substance more than once in 2011, especially with Evan Glodell’s debut “Bellflower.” The homemade feature literally shot by a camera built by the director has as its highlight a slow-motion scene of a car, called “Medusa,” racing recklessly down a residential street. The car like most everything in the film was created by the production team specifically for the movie. Sure, every production has sets and props, but few are as detailed and intricate and, well, as drivable as the ones from “Bellflower.” The story told in the film is a bit of metaphorical non-sense–a rumination on relationships that was given much more credit than it deserved because of the clever and arguably cutting edge camera work. Think of it as a much less entertaining take on the “Fight Club” world.
Next: Raunchy comedies for girls…