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Top Ten Films Of 2008

by Antisuttree
1) Doubt - USA, dir. John Patrick Shanley. Slumdog Millionaire was sold out as usual, so I saw this instead. A profound film with profound themes. A circumstantial doubt standing as symbol for the larger doubt of faith. Pared back; well-made. Based on Shanley’s play, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Trailer 2) Man On Wire - UK/USA, dir. James Marsh. The premise is clear: Frenchman Philippe Petit illegally tightrope-walked between New York’s Twin Towers in 1974 for roughly 45 minutes, and this is the story of it. I was fortunate to see this film opening weekend with both Marsh and Petit present for discussion. Petit’s vibrant,… Read more

1) Doubt - USA, dir. John Patrick Shanley. Slumdog Millionaire was sold out as usual, so I saw this instead. A profound film with profound themes. A circumstantial doubt standing as symbol for the larger doubt of faith. Pared back; well-made. Based on Shanley’s play, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Trailer



2) Man On Wire - UK/USA, dir. James Marsh. The premise is clear: Frenchman Philippe Petit illegally tightrope-walked between New York’s Twin Towers in 1974 for roughly 45 minutes, and this is the story of it. I was fortunate to see this film opening weekend with both Marsh and Petit present for discussion. Petit’s vibrant, alive personality translates to celluloid. Brought me to tears. Trailer



3) The Dark Knight - USA, dir. Christopher Nolan. At first, I wasn’t thrilled about arriving 45 minutes early for a midnight screening to find that only front row seats were available; soon, I considered my seat one of the best in the theater. It was a good year for Hollywood pictures, starting with this one, I’d say. I have no real objections to the film for the first ~90 minutes, and it’s easily the best Batman movie since Tim Burton’s 1989 adaptation. Heath Ledger is stellar. Trailer



4) The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button - USA, dir. David Fincher. Fincher’s seventh feature (others include Se7en, Fight Club, and Zodiac) is an aesthetic departure, however temporary, for the powerhouse director, and it feels to the viewer almost like a tasteful version of Forrest Gump. Based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Trailer



5) Gardens Of The Night - USA/UK, dir. Damian Harris. I just happened to find myself at this unassuming film one night midweek and was soon engrossed in its profound story of unflinching truths. In fact, it’s likely too truthful for some viewers. Stunning acting. Beautiful and unbearably sad. Also brought me to tears. Trailer



6) Che - Spain/France/USA, dir. Steven Soderbergh. This two-part epic biopic of controversial political revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara had a very limited theatrical release in December 2008 before finding a wider audience in 2009. Political biopics are often taxing or overwrought, but Che is soulful and engaging throughout all four-plus hours. Trailer



7) Revanche - Austria, dir. Götz Spielmann. A gripping, existential study of love and loss as well as decisions and consequences. Through the intertwinement of sequential events, Revanche summons the viewer to analyze right and wrong and—in terms of revenge and redemption—crime and punishment. Trailer



8) Gran Torino - USA, dir. Clint Eastwood. Another truthful film, with Eastwood providing thrills as both director and actor. Several delightfully triumphant scenes. An honest look at racism’s sins paired with the roundabout faculties that can be found alongside them. Trailer



9) Slumdog Millionaire - UK, dirs. Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan. Set in India, telling the instantaneous rags-to-riches story of a lucky young man who somehow, even unbeknownst to him, knows the answers to the questions asked to him on the gameshow, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The film tells each little backstory of the experiences leading to each of his answers. A trendy film, and maybe a bit too popular in indie culture at the moment, but definitely worth seeing. Trailer



10) Vicky Cristina Barcelona - USA/Spain, dir. Woody Allen. Allen returns in good form, this time in Catalonia, his second film in a calendar year, and his best since Match Point. Trailer



Other Years’ Top Ten Lists: 2006 | 2007 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

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