Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Still at 232/250, and more 2008 films

In the last week or so I've watched 3 more films from 2008, 2 of which were also in the top 250. This has gotten me back to 232 out of 250 seen, at which I've been basically stable for the last year or two.

The first I watched was the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The story, of a man aging backwards through the changing times of the twentieth century, has a strong influence on the style of the film, part yarn, part strange romance, and part historical retrospective. There are a lot of elements in common with Forrest Gump, although its less overtly comic. Its well made, and well told, and has moments of real compassion.

The next I watched was the one not currently in the top 250 (and probably not likely to appear there, albeit not for lack of merit. Lars and the Real Girl is a strange film about a man who develops a delusionary relationship with a doll, and the reaction of the community in which he lives. This is a great example of a very simple film done very, very well. The performances are note-perfect, and the story arcs naturally and interestingly.

The third film I watched was The Wrestler. I had looked forward to this film based on the acclaim given to the performance of Mickey Rourke, its lead. It is a good performance, too; it really rings true with the strength and love that the character has for his sport/profession, and the way he reacts to crowds, and his striving and failing despite himself as a person, particularly in his relationship with his daughter. The ending is really tragic, but very true, which is something I've always loved in a film. I'm a sucker for tragedy.

I would have put all of these films as more meritorious than Slumdog Millionaire for Best Film of 2008. Rourke's performance was really good, but I think I'd still put Ledger's in The Dark Knight, and Langella's in Frost/Nixon, as my favourites for 2008. Brad Pitt got a nomination for Benjamin Button, but I don't see it. Outside of 12 Monkeys, Fight Club and Snatch, he generally plays too close to type for my tastes.