2010 TOP FILMS by By Brendan Rose

Here is the 2010 version of my Top 10 Films List, with apologies to RESTROPO, ENTER THE VOID, BOXING GYM and a few others that I have not yet seen. 2010 shaped up as quite a strong year for documentaries. In addition, more domestic films have made my list than normal, suggesting an encouraging moment for American filmmaking. On the other hand, I don’t believe this year’s roster of movies offered the same quality at the very top that could be found in recent years.
1. CARLOS (Olivier Assayas) – This 5.5hr monster of a film covers the rise of a so-called leftist revolutionary and demise of a burned out, cynical terrorist. Sweeping and magisterial direction by Assayas.
2. LAST TRAIN HOME (Lixin Fan) – Compassionate, rigorous documentary detailing the underbelly of China’s economic ascendance through a study of human migration during the Chinese New Year holiday.
3. THE FIGHTER (David O. Russell) – A gritty, somewhat conventional boxing tale blessed with exciting (though sometimes over-the-top) performances, a rooted sense of place, and consistently assured direction from Russell.
4. VINCERE (Marco Bellocchio) – Filippo Timi overwhelms as Il Duce. Not your average biopic!
5. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (Banksy) – A labyrinth of a film. Thoughtful, comedic, confounding.
6. BLACK SWAN (Darren Aronofsky) – A flawed film for sure, but also daring, intense, and captivating. Portman comes of age.
7. INSIDE JOB (Charles Ferguson) – A devastatingly composed indictment of the neo-liberal financial system and its relationship to the 2008 (and still current) economic crisis.
8. GREENBERG (Noah Baumbach) – Stiller’s eponymous protagonist may be an unlikable jerk, but Baumbach’s approach, a mix of criticism and compassion, serves the film well. Funny and sad.
9. THE SOCIAL NETWORK (David Fincher) – Jesse Eisenberg’s lead performance, more so than Sorkin’s quick-as-a-whip screenplay, or Fincher’s directorial fireworks, is what impresses me most months after having seen the film.
10. LEBANON (Samuel Maoz) – This claustrophobic, unrelenting film set during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon traps the viewer in a tank and captures the psychological intensity, mission confusion and moral compromise of war.

WINTER’S BONE (Debra Granik) – Jennifer Lawrence is a revelation, Granik’s direction is solid, and how many films out there can be called an Ozark Gothic!?!
EVERYONE ELSE (Maren Ade) – A quiet, realistic movie about a flawed relationship. Clearly, this film was not made in the States!

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