2011 was one hell of a year for film. We went to the cinema more times than we can count on both hands (maybe not hands and feet) and saw a huge variety of great films. We laughed, we cried, we sat open-mouthed with awe and disgust (in separate films, but still) and we argued over what was great and what was so 2010. And then we sat down and found that our three favourites were all from the same genre…
There were tragi-comic turns from Paul Giamatti in both Barney’s Version and Win Win, Gary Oldman returned to form in the thrilling Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and that blonde-haired blue-eyed heartthrob Gosling had us transfixed with his quiet brooding and shocking ultra-violence in Drive. Another honourable mention is owed to Mike Mills for his heartwarming Beginners that saw the always charming Ewan Mcgregor coming to terms with the late-blooming sexuality of his father (silver fox Christopher Plummer).
Page One: Inside the New York Times Andrew Rossi
There’s a quote widely attributed to Mark Twain (although he definitely didn’t say it according to the keepers of his estate) that goes “Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel” or rather, don’t screw with the press. In a year in which the Murdoch empire has come under fire for scandalous phone hacking and a number of other newspapers have become insolvent due to an inability to keep up with digital media, one has to question whether this statement holds true nowadays. At the heart of Page One is an examination of one of the most powerful news enterprises still standing – the New York Times. How do they generate content, who calls the shots day to day, and can they remain solvent in the digital age? Easily the most relevant film of the year if you’ve got any interest in either news or the future.
George Harrison: Living in the Material World Martin Scorsese
One of the biggest men in film made a documentary about one of the most loved men in music, and it’s probably the longest movie ever made. Epic. Just epic.
Senna Danny Leigh
It’s fairly unusual to have a hat-trick of documentaries taking the lead as our top three films of the year, but they were all exceptionally good. Senna chronicles the rise and rise of F1’s all-time champion Ayrton Senna from his first season of racing in 1984 to his death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Cut from hours of press footage and home videos, it retells the well-documented story of this legendary figure from a different angle, exploring his his spirituality, ruthlessness and unstoppable motivation to succeed.