12 of 2012: Part 1 opinion

2012 hasn’t been a classic year for film and there were none – not a single film – that I would say is truly, absolutely “great”. But there have been plenty, plenty-plenty, of very, very good films. Here’s the first of three selections of films released in the UK this year that I would put up there with the best.

Damsels in Distress

Quirky to the extreme, Damsels in Distress is not for everyone and quite probably appears in many 2012 bottom-12 lists. But it is the very full-on indulgent camp whimsy that will irk the crap out of so many that will equally appeal as original, fun, funny, and charming to others. Add the strengthening of the reign of indie queen Greta Gerwig to the mix and you have a delicious niche film, if you have acquired the taste.

Killing Them Softly

For a dialogue-heavy, action-light film, Killing Them Softly is an impressive example of filmmaking, from the compelling, clever and humorous script to the luscious cinematography and a turn at directing that will further contribute to Andrew Dominik’s growing strong reputation. Reviewed 24th September.


Skyfall is the best Bond ever made (not that you have to be a Bond fan in the slightest to enjoy Skyfall), it was the best blockbuster of 2012 (and The Dark Knight Rises is no slouch) and it’s undoubtedly one of the very best action films of recent years. While it looks superb, sounds superb, and performances, most notably from Judi Dench and Javier Bardem (who clearly should be the baddie in every film ever made from now on), are superb, Sam Mendes firmly demonstrates, if we didn’t know already, that he is one of the most multi-faceted and, more importantly, reliable makers of high quality films in the business.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Remarkably bold in its own right, Beasts of the Southern Wild is all the more remarkable given it is the director’s first feature film. A grand, original fantastical tale more than successfully shot on a budget a tiny fraction of the usual for films with such epic vision, although it is by no means the film’s only highlight, lead actress Quvenzhan√© Wallis, who was five years old at the time of filming, delivers a quite incredible, memorable performance.


Three others that don’t quite make the top-12 are Alexander Payne’s intelligently humorous The Descendants, the Dardenne Brothers’ astoundingly naturalistic The Kid With a Bike, and breakout American indie with superb performances, not least from Elizabeth Olsen (yes, Olsen), Martha Marcy May Marlene.

29th Dec 2012