The Frame Loop’s Top 10 Films of 2012

This list was originally compiled by Luke on New Year’s Eve, 2012.

So, below is my Top 10 of 2012 list, and a Podcast friendly, slightly more rambling audio version. The choices are based on a bastardized mix of UK/Denmark releasing schedules. Following that is a few things worthy of mention. Let me know what you think of the list, whether you agree or violently disagree. I’m thick skinned and can take the slander.

#10 – Rust & Bone (France / dir: Jacques Audiard)
rustMy first experience with the work of esteemed French auteur Jacques Audiard. Absolutely adored this brutal romance story. Cotillard and Schoenaerts have fantastic chemistry, putting in physical performances which are quite eerily tragic and sexy. (Read the full review here)

#9 – A Simple Life (Hong Kong / dir: Ann Hui)
Surprised not to see a lot of love for this movie on other film sites. A eulogising film about a mother and son relationship in it’s fatal final stages. Astonishing performances and a thing of unassuming beauty. (Full review here)

#8 – Sightseers (UK / dir: Ben Wheatley)
sightseersCaught this only yesterday and boy am I glad that I did. Following Down Terrace and Kill List, Ben Wheatley returns with this fantastically dysfunctional black comedy, again driven by two astonishing central performances. (Full review here)

#7 – The Master (USA / dir: Paul Thomas Anderson)
the masterPTA’s latest is his messiest, most beautiful film to date. Hardly driven by it’s story, the undermining love subtext struck a chord with me, and it’s a career best for the disheveled Phoenix. (Full review here)

#6 – Once Upon A Time in Anatolia (Turkey / dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
anatoliaLike a portrait from the romantic period, Ceylan’s latest social commentary drama is incredibly ornate. A painterly veneer with layers laying underneath the surface. Stunning. (Review? Yeah? Here)

#5 – Amour (Austria/France – dir: Michael Haneke)
Amour 02Coming from the man who made Funny Games, I thought the name ‘Love’ would be ironical. Quite the contrary, Michael Haneke’s latest is an unflinching take on the hardships of aged endearment. Not dissimilar to A Simple Life, but this one is a lot more poignant and haunting. (Review)

#4 – Beasts of the Southern Wild (USA / dir: Benh Zeitlin)beastsMagical realism at it’s finest. Whilst the story may be thin, Zeitlin’s debut feature is filmmaking at it’s most exuberant. So full of life, so real, so poignant and the kind of film Terrence Malick stopped making 34 years ago. (Review)

#3 – Martha Marcy May Marlene (USA / dir: Sean Durkin)
marthaSaw this at the start of the year before I started taking this site serious (hence the very shit review), but it’s stayed with me ever since. John Hawkins is maniacal, yet Elisabeth Olsen is the big surprise here. The winner of my favourite performance of the year. PS – Some people say this came out in 2011, well, not in Denmark, buddy!

#2 – Killer Joe (USA / dir: William Friedkin)

Beneath my cuddly exterior, I’m a dark hearted bastard. Perhaps that’s why I adored William Friedkin’s finger lickin’ latest picture. It’s a greased up story of revenge, greed and the despicable depths the human race will go to, to get what they want. Some people were horrified, but I saw this at the BFI with Friedkin, aka the Colonel, sitting in the cinema and I found it an absolute hoot. (Full, talkie review here)

#1 – The Act Of Killing (Denmark, England, USA, Indonesian – dir: Joshua Oppenheimer)

killingA documentary in my top spot, who would have predicted that at the start of the year? While this won’t be released in most places until next year, Denmark has been gracious enough to give it it’s first proper release. Yes, technically a documentary, but it’s unlike any film I’ve ever seen before. A poetical look at a crucially uncontested Indonesian genocide, filmmaker Oppenheimer has created something that long outlives it’s near three hour running time. I hope that you see this film, in fact I beg you to do so. If any piece of cinema has ever been worthy of your attention, it’s this one. (Full review here)

Honorable Mentions
Miguel Gomes’ ode to cinema Tabu was only just pushed out. Leos Carax’s Holy Motors was fantastic, and Skyfall was by far and away my favourite blockbuster of the year. Oooh, Silver Linings Playbook was solid too. Damn, this year was too good.

The one that got away…
One 2012 film that I didn’t get a chance to see was the Danish drama The Hunt (Jagten). An alleged return to form for Festen’s Thomas Vinterberg, it’ll be interested to see this back in Denmark amongst natives.

The shittest film of the year
Twixt was to put it mildly, fucking horrendous. The latest from that dude Coppola – you know, the one behind The Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now and The Conversation – it sees Hollywood’s second go-to meathead Val Kilmer as a writer on the hunt for a macabre new gothic story. (The first meathead? Travolta, of course!)

The best album of the year
I like music too, and I really adored Swans’ The Seer. Brutal layers of noise which sound like the apocalypse and a new beginning all at once. Here’s a documentary about the album and band.

Most anticipated film of 2013
Park Chan-Wook – the genius behind Old Boy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance returns with his first ever American language movie, Stoker. A few trailers are out, and already I’m bewitched by it.


That’s all, folks!

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4 thoughts on “The Frame Loop’s Top 10 Films of 2012

  1. Pingback: The Frame Loop’s Top 10 Albums of 2012 « THE FRAME LOOP

  2. Some great films in your top ten – Beasts Of The Southern Wild is one of my favourites of the year. You mention a few films I wish I had chance to see – Once Upon A Time In Anatolia and Tabu are at the top of my must see list! Try to see The Hunt if you get chance – a very powerful film that made my top 20!

    • Hey Natalie, thanks for your comments.

      I caught The Hunt just after the new year – absolutely floored by it! Mikkelsen’s performance is astonishing. I’d also recommend Vinterberg’s Submarino (and, of course, Festen). The director has a huge following here in Denmark.

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