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Eleven from Eleven

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Mark Kermode | 16:28 UK time, Friday, 6 January 2012

At the end of 2011 I posted my ten worst movies of the year. Since then a lot of people have been asking me for my list of the best. I already revealed them on the 5 Live show but here they are again plus a difficult question - since I was forced to leave out Drive, one of my favourite movies of the year, which of my choices would you lose to make way for it?

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Related Posts on Kermode Uncut
The Worst ten films of 2011

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Take your pick of Mark's A-Z

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Why follow convention - just have a "Top Fourteen"?

  • Comment number 2.

    I would lose Melancholia. It was good, but not great. Not as good as Antichrist anyway.

  • Comment number 3.

    Easy, Kill List. Done. My top 10 films of 2011 are:

    1. The Artist
    2. A Separation
    3. Senna
    4. We Need to Talk about Kevin
    5. Hugo
    6. Midnight in Paris
    7. 13 Assassins
    8. The Skin I Live In
    9. Oranges and Sunshine
    10. Another Earth

    Honourable mentions: Melancholia, Drive, Moneyball, 50/50, The Tree of Life, Super 8, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Kill List, Source Code.

    I have not seen the likes of The Descendants, Take Shelter or Snowtown.

  • Comment number 4.

    You are absolutely right; how DARE you leave out Drive! By far the best film of 2011. A film that is both a great piece of cinematic art and an enjoyable guilty pleasure. A refreshing take on a tired storyline which succeeds in spades. Brilliant soundtrack, brilliant cinematography, brilliant art direction and a fantastic peformance by both Gosling and Mulligan.

    To answer you're question; which film do you omit to put Drive in your list. Very simple: Melancholia. By far one of the most pretentious films of 2011, and yet another cinematic con from Von Trier.

    Melancholia is in, but Drive isn't? Seriously man, what's wrong with you!

  • Comment number 5.

    Drop 'Hugo 3D' i saw that film solely on your recommendation, an hour in i was slumped back in my seat thinking "whats the running time? when is the film going to get a move on? why did Kermode think the 3D was so good?". And when the kids went to see 'Safety last' i thought "God i wish i was watching that film instead".

  • Comment number 6.

    How can Drive not be No.1?

    Was so great to see a film that made me remember why I love movies so much - the opening scene was like a breath of fresh air after so many under-whelming Hollywood movies (yes even Inception).

    I'm glad Drive gets left out of Oscar et al cos that's exactly the kind of company it needs to stay away from.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why on EARTH have you left out Take Shelter? You implored us to see how great Michael Shannon is as an actor (which he is), what a great film it is (which it is), and then callously left it out? I just caught a screening last night and am still thinking about it, was lying awake thinking about it when I got home.

    Shame on you, Dr K!

  • Comment number 8.

    I'd lose 'A Seperation'. It's very good, held up by the sheer weight of the story, but Drive is a better film. And a pedantic point about video blog - *couldn't care less, not could care less. There.

  • Comment number 9.

    i'd replace all of them with drive

    simple

    (except senna)

  • Comment number 10.

    The only one that I have seen on your list and would omit would be 'Senna'. It's great, for sure, a brilliantly engrossing portrait of an extraordinary career and yet it feels too rose-tinted in its view of the man, not critical enough of the qualities behind the talent and ambition such as his seemingly blind religious faith that made it somewhat unsatisfying as a character portrait.
    Also, where are 'The Tree of Life' and "Dragon Tattoo' ? ? ?
    'We Need to Talk about Kevin' is certainly one of the greatest films of the year, the only film I have been to see twice in the cinema since 'There Will Be Blood' and one of the most harrowing too.

  • Comment number 11.

    Kill List.
    It's alright for what it is, but I didn't find it that enthralling or chilling...
    When it ended I just thought "Meh, could've been worse"

    The question you should ask yourself though is which of the films you've chosen are you going to watch less times than Drive? If none then you're list is spot on, if not...

    Personally I feel that no matter how good a film is on a technical or performance level if there's a limit to how many times you revisit it then it should be shuffled down your personal rankings.

  • Comment number 12.

    Mark, for someone who so often engages in gramatical pedantry I'm surprised to hear you say 'could care less'. It's 'couldn't care less'.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'd leave Kermode out - he's no Claudia or Edith Bowman

  • Comment number 14.

    I would disagree with some but not all of your 11 but largely salute them. Drive I can accept missing your or my list. Yes it is beautifully shot and acted but for me I found it uncompromisingly cold and unrewarding.

  • Comment number 15.

    Thanks for doing this, so many people were asking for it (I'd already heard it). I suppose that's the trouble when you find yourself launched on a multimedia web portal thingy. Shouldn't some intern at the Beeb just cut and paste this stuff together so you don't have to keep track of what you said and where you said it? -- that's funding cuts for you. The techies are probably trying to virtualize you even as we speak, lucky for you they still can't get the hair right.

    When I listened back on the podcast, you also gave notable mentions to Weekend, Deep Blue Sea, Sarah's Key and Red State (if only to mention that KSmith still has something more interesting/better than Cop Out up his sleeve).

    I'm ashamed to say I only managed to see 4 of your top 11, so have little basis for judgement. I wouldn't lose Hugo, Senna or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which were all stunning in various ways, so it would have to be We Need To Talk About Kevin, which I thought was interesting but it didn't grab me or get under my skin in any way, even though I could see it trying. And I really liked Ratcatcher, so it's not any antipathy towards Ramsey's work. Drive is one of the films I enjoyed most, so on that basis it's a no brainer as We Need to Talk About Kevin left me cold. On the other hand it's your list, so I don't see how my tastes come into it.... but, you did ask...

    I've never got into the whole ranking list thing, but it does help me compile a list of things to bump to the top of the never ending rental queue.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ 10 Even though Mark liked the Tree of life he said it was flawed and he didn't like Dragon Tattoo.

    I'd swap Melancholia (good, but not great and this is from a von Trier fan) or Hugo (which again was good, but not great). Drive is better than both those films. end of...

    My top 10:

    10. My Week with Marilyn - It was ok definitely better than some of the rubbish I've seen this year

    9. The Inbetweeners Movie - Had it's moments that made me laugh

    8. The Skin I Live in - It was a good story and Antonio Banderas was good.

    7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Even though the Swedish 1 is better I still did enjoy it and it did out do the swedish 1 in some aspects (visually and some of the narrative problems the swedish version had).

    6. True Grit - The Coens at their best, but the some years later ending could have been done without.

    5. The King's Speech - Great acting and great cinematography, but didn't deserve best film at the Oscars.

    4. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - Ever bit as funny and exciting as the original.

    3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Went to see this 3 times, a first in many a year. It's just a brilliant cast and a brilliant story.

    2. Drive - One of the best film soundtracks I've ever heard and a brillaint visual style and great acting especially from Gosling

    1. Black Swan - I think when I first saw this it was always going to be my film of the year. Aronofsky doing what he does best: a Polanski-esque psychological thriller where a protagonist spirals down into insanity.

  • Comment number 17.

    I've only seen 1 of the films on the list and that was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. As a fan of the TV series with Alec Guiness, I found this film good looking but cold and more than a little bit over rated.

    True Grit was very good (the only Coen Brothers film I can say I genuinely enjoyed).

    Best film of the year for me was The King's Speech which surprised me because a film about speech therapy could have been dull and boring and dry as dust.

    As always there are some guilty pleasure films (films that I should be ashamed of for liking but enjoyed all the same). These films include The Mechanic, Thor, Mission Impossible 4 (a big improvement on 3) and Sherlock Holmes 2 (and if you think those 'guilty pleasure' films are bad I will say that I love Stargate and the remake of Death Race).

  • Comment number 18.

    You were right to leave Drive out, Dr Kermode. Why? Because it was the most overrated film of the year. I'm not "trolling"! I'm seriously! It was the ultimate example of a heartless, soulless, vacuous, superficial piece of pseudo-art. That in and of itself isn't necessarily enough to condemn any film outright, but as Drive was boring and pretentious to boot, I think it qualifies as a 1-star floppo. I cannot believe how popular this film has been (with those few people that actually saw it).

    So bearing that in mind, I really like your Top 11, and would largely agree with your choices. Unfortunately I didn't manage to catch A Separation, Le Quattro Volte, or Benda Bilili, so I'll substitute those particular movies with 13 Assassins (action movie of the year by a long shot), Black Swan (engrossing baroque craziness) and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (the greatest documentary I've seen in a long time, Senna notwithstanding).

    However, I wasn't especially keen on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a spy film about spies behaving in a spy-like fashion while doing some spying (couldn't help myself), so I would remove that one and put Richard Ayoade's Submarine in its place. Now that I think of it, I also actively disliked We Need to Talk About Boredom, so I'll pie that title and replace it with Super 8 which, for its joyful and successful reveling in the cinematic tradition of sheer popular entertainment, I may well leave in first place. And finally: Tintin instead of Hugo. (I liked Hugo, but it's not Top 11 material)

    So actually, we don't really see eye to eye at all, Dr Kermode. But I still trust your opinion when you give scathing reviews, and that's the important thing. I saw very few bad films this year, and I have you to thank.

    So despite your preposterous championing of We Need to Talk About Kevin and Drive, praise be Mark Kermode!

  • Comment number 19.

    I know it's your number 1 but I wouldn't even consider 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' in the top 40 films I saw this year. An impossible mediocre adaptation that batters it's audience with relentless symbolism.

    Yes Lynne, I am aware that red is symbolic of blood and that it represents Kevin's acts and Eva's feelings of responsibly for her son OKAY?

    'Drive' completely deserves a spot in the top 10, as does the forgotten 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' - a breathtaking, profoundly moving and mesmerising blockbuster which rounds off one of modern cinema's most ambitious franchises. 8 films in 10 years, all of which are good? That's practically impossible.

    My top 10 is as follows (and yes, I know two entries technically are released in the UK this year but I saw them at LFF):

    10. 'Tyrannosaur' - Kitchen-sink drama but at it's grubbiest, most unsanitary and best. Colman is incredible.

    9. 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' - Probably the surprise film of the year.

    8. 'Tinker Tailor Solider Spy' - Thrilling, brooding and magnetic filmmaking.

    7. 'Midnight in Paris' - Not just a great Allen film, this is a glorious and heart-warming affair that will be enjoyed again and again.

    6. 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' - A gripping, earth-shattering and utterly absorbing spectacle.

    5. 'Drive' - Explosive in it's fits of rage, awesome in it's style and scale, and beautiful it it's portrayal; 'Drive' is a class-act.

    4. 'The Descendants' - A delicately crafted and gloriously executed example of how to make character cinema.

    3. 'Hugo' - One of Scorsese best-ever films and a film-fan's dream.

    2. 'Shame' - A graphic and undeniable film aided by breathtaking performances, assured direction and the most haunting score one in years

    1. 'The Artist' - A simply spellbinding, utterly joyous and truly heart-warming depiction of an era which saw the rise of the all-American cinema.

  • Comment number 20.

    I don't know why I wrote 'one' during the 'Shame' segment? My bad.

  • Comment number 21.

    I would drop Kill List, a really good film, in fact a great film, until the last 5 minutes. It's like the writer couldn't figure out how to end it properly, lazy!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Well, in terms of what could replace Drive, I think the most obvious choice would be Senna because the two films are kindred spirits in a way. They both have heroic but flawed lead characters who live for the thrill of driving.

    In fact, you could do what you did in your worst of 2011 list, and have Drive and Senna as a double bill (a la I Spit On Your Grave and Straw Dogs).

    Of course, if you really wanted to bend the rules, you could argue that since The Artist only played in one cinema during 2011 (and only for two days), most people would see it in UK cinemas during 2012, and discount The Artist for that reason (but something tells me you won't be keen on that idea).

    My favourite film of 2011 hasn't been mentioned yet - Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris

  • Comment number 23.

    Ditch Melancholia. Answer this question: what ideas are in that movie that hadn't already been explored more interestingly in Antichrist?

    Drive most definitely deserves to replace it and Tinker Tailor deserves to be higher.

  • Comment number 24.

    Drive was my favorite film of 2011, and what film it should replace in your list? A Separation, easily. Why? The characters were dull and one-dimensional, the only intrigue the story held was as a kind of pseudo-Rashomon knockoff, and the social/political conclusions of its house-of-cards narrative couldn't be more obvious and "who cares." Of course life sucks in Iran; that's why they call it Iran. Drive is a vastly superior film for reasons I'm sure I don't need to name.

  • Comment number 25.

    For me Drive would replace Melancholia as I feel, although Melancholia is a pretty good film, it just seems like it's trying too hard to be profound...at times it also steers nearer and nearer to being somewhat kitsch and trite. A good, but flawed film, not a great film in my opinion.

  • Comment number 26.

    Thanks for this. I had to stop listening to the 5 Live show. As much as I like it, it's got ridiculously long. It was perfect at 45mins, maybe an hour but 90-120mins it's just to long sorry.

    As to the films. Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy not because it's not good (because it is) but because it's far to detailed. I say that so rarely but did they really need to put the entire book into the film?

    Sure I know so many people dislike how films cut stuff out of books but they're completely different mediums. Films should portray the feeling of a book.

    Drive on the other hand is a fantastic genre movie, a great B Movie and does it what it says on the tin in a fresh and new way. My only complaint being the violence at times is gratuitous (and the villains are your usual cardboard cut-outs) but otherwise I cannot fault it. I love the 80s feel and soundtrack especially.

    My review for it in fact is in this month's Artrocker magazine, get it from WH Smiths.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hmm, that's a tough one. I'd go for Hugo. As much as I enjoyed it at the time, it seems rather lightweight in comparison to the others.

  • Comment number 28.

    I haven't seen them all, but since I found Melancholia just boring rather than melancholic and if one really has to go, (can't u have fourteen like the first dude said?) let Melancholia fall and just be happy and sleep well again!!
    I'm not a doctor, but that's my advice, doc!

  • Comment number 29.

    Sticking with round numbers my top Ten was..

    10. Benda Bilili!
    9. Hanna
    8. Melancholia
    7. Submarine
    6. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    5. Win Win
    4. Moneyball
    3. Drive
    2. Senna
    1. We Need To Talk About Kevin

  • Comment number 30.

    The film to remove (or perhaps just swap directly in the rankings rolling out from 11), would be Tyrannosaur.

    It is an exceptionally well made film, with great photography, great story-telling, great acting and a real unique identity...that being said I struggled with a sensation I couldn't shake for the rest of the day (possibly week) after seeing it when people wanted to discuss the film.

    Can you say a film was good even if you would never want to see it again?

    For all the merits in the construction of the film and the big film kudos of eliciting genuine emotion it is hampered by the fact that those emotions were a twisting-uncomfortably-in-the seat feeling of oppression, loathing and disgust. I think it would be hard to push yourself through it again and simply put it to you Mark; would you watch Drive again before you watched Tyrannosaur and how important is that in judging the merit of a film?

  • Comment number 31.

    I think it's a shame many some are saying they'd omit Kill List. I think that Kermode featured it in his top ten is really ballsy and helps draw the attention it deserves. It's an incredibly interesting, unique little film. I loved it. Probably for the same reasons many have for hating it.

  • Comment number 32.

    I wouldn't drop anything - just extend the list. In future, we'll be able to judge the cinematic year by whether Dr K's 'Good list' had 5, 10 or 50 items... and maybe by the size of the bad list too...

  • Comment number 33.

    Out of the films I saw last year, that are on your list, Kill List, Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, We need to talk about Kevin; Drive stands up very well, and I'd almost quite easily replace it with Kill List.

    I quite liked Kill List, but I thought that Drive was a much more confident, and cinematically successfull film. Kill List was maybe more interesting and unusual, but Drive was better made, more assured.

    In terms of favourite films, I think Kill List makes sense (not that it's my favourite film, or that I liked it better than Drive), but in terms of the best films of 2011, Drive is, I think, better technically.

  • Comment number 34.

    Good list doc, but I would definitely replace Melancholia for Drive. Melancholia is a good film, but nowhere near good enough to be in a best 10 (or 11 in your case) of the year.

    Personally I would have The Guard in there too. Brendan Gleason makes the film brilliant, with anyone else Gerry Boyle is an unlikeable insult of a man, but Brendan makes him living and breathing. A troubled man, worned out by life and working in the backwaters of Ireland (like Father Ted), despite the occasional racist remark. Has to win awards.

  • Comment number 35.

    Well for me personally it would be Senna because I never rate documentaries along side regular acted movies. I have Drive as the best film of the year by a fairly wide margin so you could pick any of the others but id perhaps lean towards replacing Hugo.
    My top 11 (although I am still to see Ides of March and Tinker Tailor)

    1. Drive
    2. Warrior
    3. X-Men: First Class
    4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    5. The Tree of Life
    6. Crazy, Stupid, Love.
    7. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
    8. The Beaver
    9. Bridesmaids
    10. The Debt
    11. Win Win

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm very surprised at how many people want to replace Kill List, for me it was the second best film of the year (sorry but for me Drive is still the film of 2011) It was the first horror film since Audition that has truly made me feel both uncomfortable and horrified. A great film that should have gotten much more attention. And to thing when my friend and I saw it at the Empire, the screening only had six other people, and four of those people walked out. Just goes to show how gore and blood has replaced suspence and tension for some horror fans.

    We Need to Talk About Kevin was also a great film, although I still prefer Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy over it anyday. However I'm surprised no one has mentioned Hanna. A brilliant surreal action film that was also sadly ignored by many.

  • Comment number 37.

    great list Mark. Even moreso with the omission of Drive. To be perfectly honest I did not find it engaging. It looked and sounded wonderful, but for an action flick, it bored me rigid I'm afraid; contrived B-movie style over substance (and I know I'm in the minority).

    Loved Benga Bilili, Tyrannosaur, Tinker Tailor and Senna. I'd make room for Bridesmaids (if indeed that film was 2011)

  • Comment number 38.

    Kevin? Meh, remove that. It worked as a horror film, like the Omen - but had the same level psychological depth. I was entertained but thought it was essentially arted-up trash, not top-10 material.

    Agreed with you on Separation - a wonderfully generous, adult film. We also shared Kill List, Senna and Tyrannosaur.

    My list: http://shotthroughawindow.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/my-ten-favourite-films-of-2011/

  • Comment number 39.

    The Guard is my personal film of the year, along with Kill List and Source Code. I guess if you'd reviewed it on release it may have even been among your top 11 too. Every bit as good as In Bruges, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 40.

    Lose 'We Need to Talk about Kevin'. It wasn't even the best film I saw that week - and it was the only film I saw that week. The red/blood symbolism was obvious, pretentious and overdone, the storyline ludicrous and the acting wooden. It has to be the most overrated film of the year.

    ps 'The Guard' was rubbish too - not a patch on 'I Went Down (1997)' which made better use of Brendan Gleeson's talent.

    pps Film of the year? The Artist!

  • Comment number 41.

    The Artist.
    Not because it's not worthy but because a few flea pits in soho for a film that was already being described as an oscar contender is not a release so it should be in the 2012 list instead.
    Whatever the faults are with digital it did at least make the only in London , the provinces will have to wait, fiasco unnecessary as limited prints were no longer a consideration.
    Though I agree that Hugo was too slight, a thin veneer of a story wrapped around the directors main interest in the story of Georges Méliès. Entertaining yes, pretty to look at true but not his best work.

  • Comment number 42.

    I can't claim to have seen everything in the top 11 but of the ones I have I'd have to lose Tinker Tailor. I really wanted to love it but somehow it just fell flat for me. I've read the book and loved it, seen the Alec Guiness BBC version and loved it. My girlfriend who I saw the film with went in knowing nothing at all about either. We both came out underwhelmed and little confused. There is just too much going on in the source material that gets lost in a 2 hour film and the characters and story suffer for it.

  • Comment number 43.

    COULD CARE LESS?

  • Comment number 44.

    I really wanted to see Melancholia but couldn't find a cinema anywhere near me that was showing it.

    And did you really say "could care less"? This is very distressing. I suggest you have a quick look at this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw

  • Comment number 45.

    I'd easily leave out 2

    Melancholia - like a half hearted study of depression from a self absorbed teenaged fresher. The tone of the film was entirely flat. An hour in I realised Lars had run out of ideas and I began praying for the planet to wipe them all out! A third rate Festen!

    Kevin - actually a good film, but over-hyped and over-praised. It was a bit too contrived, plodding and over-stylized. Way too much red Lynne! I suspect it would be better if approached as a black comedy

    In my book The Artist is a 2012 film. I still need to see A Separation, Snowtown, Certifed Copy and Kill List but here's my top 10 for 2011 anyway:

    1) Black Swan
    2) The Tree of Life
    3) In a Better World
    4) Drive
    5) Le Quattro Volte
    6) Benda Billili
    7) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
    8) Hugo
    9) Senna
    10) Take Shelter

    Hounourable mentions: Tucker Dale Vs Evil, A Better Life, TT Closer to the Edge (quite possibly better than Senna)

  • Comment number 46.

    I'd leave out 2 - one to make way for Drive, the other for Sucker Punch.
    Inception was clumsy and superficial by comparison.

  • Comment number 47.

    Dear Mark,

    Having not seen all of the movies on your list, I'm not sure I can comment. However, for me Drive is a cinematic experience deserving of every piece of attention and critical acclaim it can get. So even by creating the debate, you're doing it a great service!

    On a totally different note, I was recently watching Inside the Actors Studio with Matt Damon and of course the topic came up of Good Will Hunting and the precedent set by Sylvester Stallone with Rocky by which they were able to star in the very movie they wrote, despite being relative unknowns.

    As a budding screenwriter myself, I'd love to see you do a piece about people who have broken into the business by starring in the very movies which they've written. I'm sure there are more examples than just those two.

    Last time I mention that, promise!

    All the best,
    Ciaran

  • Comment number 48.

    Simple, pick anyone other than The Artist and We need to Talk About Kevin because Drive is by far the best film of the year and these other two deserve not to be left out of any top 10 (or 11) list.

  • Comment number 49.

    I've given up ranking films, and I'll tell you why:

    A couple of years ago I realised that I didn't have a favourite film of all time. If I sat down to watch, say, Back To The Future, I'd find myself thinking "That is, without a doubt, THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME." and then a voice in my head would say "Good shout but um... what about Goodfellas?" and then another voice in my head would say "Well if we're talking Scorsese, it has to be Raging Bull, no wait, The King Of Comedy! Damnit!" and before long I'd have a whole history of great cinema in my conscious, jostling for a pointless, imaginary gold medal. I gave up.

    I don't have a favourite film of all time. I have 44 favourite films of all time.

    It's a strange list, a mix of nostalgic popcorn gems and groundbreaking works of art. The only criteria needed to get on the list is "It gets better every time you watch it" and "It's perfect, I wouldn't change a single frame". It's a place where Michael Haneke's Hidden can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with John McTiernen's Predator, and be viewed as equals.

    So instead of paining yourself over whether Drive deserves to make the chart, Just make a list of the best films of the year and don't bother numbering them, don't even bother to limit yourself to just 10 or 11 places. Just say "These are the films of this year that I think everyone should see". Honestly, it's a weight of one's shoulders.

    Some years there might be 20 must see films, other years, I dunno, 7. If you feel a film deserves recognition, give it recognition.

    So therefore my top film of 2011 is The Tree Of Life... and Submarine... Oh, and We Need To Talk About Kevin*. No doubt there'll be a few more to add to that list once I've caught up with a lot of other releases.

    On the subject of Drive, I wouldn't feel to guilty about leaving it off the list. Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but it's not 'year's finest' material in my eyes. I went to see it, liked it, and that was it. It didn't 'stay with me' like the other films I mentioned.


    *None of those three films have made my all time favourites list...yet. I need to see something at least twice before it can take it's coveted place alongside Fletch or Vertigo in my pointless, but strictly moderated, hall of fame.

  • Comment number 50.

    My top 10 movies of 2011 are 1.A Seperation 2.The Tree of Life 3.Shame 4.The Descendants 5.Beginners 6.Drive 7.Contagion 8. Moneyball 9.Margin Call 10.The Artist
    If there is one movie in your top-11 that doesn't deserve to be there......it of course is 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'. Its such an old-fashioned film with same old actors doing same old stuff. Just like 'The Kings Speech'(doesn't deserve any of its oscars) , its brilliantly made empty movie.

  • Comment number 51.

    I missed "Drive" in theaters so I guess I can't participate in answering your question. As far as your list is concerned, 7 of the 11 films have not yet been released in my area, so I'll have to wait for them. I'll see an eighth film on the list, "Senna", over the weekend. We did have two in common, though; "Hugo" (both at #9) and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy". I liked the latter even more than you did.

    Here's my own Top 10 (or 12) list: http://crashlanden.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/crash-landens-best-10-films-of-2011/

    I'm surprised that you haven't mentioned "Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil",Dr. K... It's a really fun horror-comedy that does for the 'cabin in the woods' film what "Shaun of the Dead" did for the zombie movie.

  • Comment number 52.

    I would leave out "Hugo" but I wouldn't put "Drive" in - "The Tree of Life" would be my No1 - It was good enough to make the Sight and Sound No1 spot -

  • Comment number 53.

    Where is The Skin I Live In Mark?

  • Comment number 54.

    I'll gloss over the issue of Tyrannosaur ranking so low.

    The decision over which film to drop will not cause an iota of lost shuteye: Planet of the Bad CGI Simians is the obvious choice for the mincer. Entertaining, yes. An original take on the old yarn, quite possibly. But it's a long way from perfection and when each aspect of film craft is considered it's just clumsy monkey business next to Drive's originality and ultra-cool hit.

    [steg-off-ill-ist]

  • Comment number 55.

    "Drive" is clearly one of the best movies of 2011 and therefore a glaring omission from your "Top 11."

    So which movie should you leave out to accomodate Drive's rightful inclusion?

    "We Need To Talk About Kevin," "The Artist," "A Separation," "Senna," "Melancholia," "Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy," "Senna," "Hugo," "Tyrannosaur" - all good movies.

    "Benda Bilili!" and "Le Quatrro Volte" - I haven't seen them and have no particular interest in seeing them. Having said that, I understand given your musical proclivities that "skiffling goat-herders" may well be your thing and as it's YOUR top 11 movies of 2011 I am not going to suggest you leave "Le Quatrro Volte" out.

    This leaves us with "Kill List." This movie really has to go. It's inclusion in the first place is frankly baffling. I'm not saying "Kill List" is an awful movie but melding "The Wicker Man" with a bit of torture porn doesn't make for great cinema. I don't even think this movie was as good as "Red State" let alone "Drive."

    Mark, you have got this one badly wrong!

  • Comment number 56.

    I'd put Kill List higher up.

    And lose Senna, purely because I haven't seen it and didn't like your review. It's something of a naive and reactionary reason why, but your review was part of the reason I didn't struggle to find Senna and see it. I'm sure it's every bit as wonderful and brilliant and sparkling as everyone tells me, but I really didn't like how much you emphasised your not having known about the events of Senna's life, and how powerful the later moments of the film were, assuming that everyone else knows what happened. I realise it's a real difficulty in discussing a documentary or any real story, but to tell of how lucky you were to know nothing and pretty much spell it out for the rest of us bothered me.

    It's a very short-lived criticism, I know. But I was still let down. I'm sure I'll see the film at some point.

    But yeah, lose Senna. Or TTSS, which improved a lot for me on a second run, and while being very impressive, I'm still quite agnostic on Tomas Alfredson, despite having been a fan of Let The Right One In.
    Or lose Melancholia, which I liked a lot, but it's first half meanders a little too much I think. Charlotte Gainsbourg's section gets increasingly brilliant towards the end though.

  • Comment number 57.

    No, what am I talking about, lose Hugo. One of those films which was frustrating to watch until the very latest moments, when you're surprised to find out how caught up in it you were. This isn't to give it a huge amount of praise, don't get me wrong. There's a lot which is good about it, most notably its praise for Melies, who I studied a year ago and whose films I think are wonderful.

    But some of the acting is atrocious, it's overly camp and twee (certain scenes felt like a 150 million-dollar version of a BBC childrens' drama), and I found it quite unpleasant to look at. Regardless of the 3D, the colour scheme I found a little nauseating. And it's too long, which I think comes from its struggle to maintain its appeal to a young audience and segue into its more age-ambiguous later moments.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 57 Blodget

    I agree, it is overly camp and over long. It really annoys me in films when the word 'advanture' pops up, I'm actually sick in my mouth a little. It also didn't need some of the characters as they served no purpose for the story e.g. Christopher Lee (who you would expect to have more to do with the story and the character) and Richard Griffiths (doesn't speak until the very end, until then just walking from one end of the train station to another). Also it's obviously that Sacha Baron Cohen is doing Officer Crabtree ("Good Moaning") from 'Allo 'Allo which might be a joke to the adults, but it's never good when a film does seperate jokes.

  • Comment number 59.

    This is Easy Dr K ...........MAKE IT A TOP TWENTY.....!!! :-)

  • Comment number 60.

    To repeat Sam Wilderspin "COULD CARE LESS?"

    C'mon Dr K : I love your reviews and opinions - even when I disagree with them - but "could care less"?! What's next, "awesome"?

  • Comment number 61.

    Without a doubt, Hugo should go. I don't care if Scorsese has done something 'interesting' with 3-D. The fact that this film's success is built around that one fact surely means it should not be considered as a great film of 2011.

    Drive, is by far... THEE best film I have seen in years. Not just the last year. And to not have it in as one of your top 11 does baffle me some what!

    I can not wait to get my hands on my pre ordered Blu-Ray copy complete with fan boy/geek Steelbook.

    thank you and goodnight

  • Comment number 62.

    Lose "Benda Bilil" or "Senna". Decent documentaries but nothing special.
    "Le Quattro Volte" - yes, it was something different and I loved the ten minute dog scene in it but one of the best movies of 2011? I don't think so.

    I am also shocked to hear you gave honourable mentions to "Red State" and "Sarah's Key". "Red State" was one of the worst films of the year - a mess of a movie if I ever saw one. And "Sarah's Key" was overly melodramatic and ill-conceived: It should have focused on Sarah's story rather than that of Kristen Scott Thomas' (who you adore, yes, we know) character.

    Where are "Meek's Cutoff", "Martha Marcy May Marlene", "The Skin I Live In"?

    Didn't particularly like "Kill List" either - "A Lonely Place To Die" was a much better British suspense flick in 2011.

  • Comment number 63.

    Cannot believe you think "Kill List" is a better film than "Drive". Sling it out, have a reshuffle and stick Gosling in at number one. It's also a shame that "The Tree of Life" didn't make the grade. Dinosaurs aside, it was an absolutely magnificent film. They're my two personal favourites of the year.

  • Comment number 64.

    The Skin I Live In, Number 1

  • Comment number 65.

    Drive is the best film of the year BY FAR. It is simply near cinema perfection and it burnes itself into your memory. I can't believe it's not at least in the top 3 of your list mr. Kermode. I bet that ten years from now no one will even remember half of these films in your list, by then I predict Drive will be a -Classic-.

    Also, I think it deserves exactly the same kind of praise you gave Inception last year: It shows Hollywood that good genre films used to have character dimension, depth and mystique. Something most Hollywood films lack these days.

    So to put Drive at the top where it belongs I will have to remove We Need to Talk about Kevin, wich I would have put second.

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't think Drive is a classic, one of my flaws would be the pointlessly over the top violence (in my opinion) and I'm a 19 year old male and violence never usually bothers me. But having said that it was a very good film, suprisingly so. So although I haven't seen a fair few of your top 11 I would get rid of either Kill List (Haven't seen) or Melancholia (Have seen), Melancholia really isn't that great, in fact anyone who called it great i'd call them pretentious. Id definately have Drive in over that or Kill List because horrors really? reallllllly?

  • Comment number 67.

    Drop Kill List, I was completely hooked until the ridiculous ending. It's a film that failed to realise it was much scarier as a realistic hitman film then when it suddenly embraced a series of cult cliches. Drive's omission is made even more shocking by the inclusion of such a so-so film.

  • Comment number 68.

    Blue Valentine and Meek's Cutoff are unfortunately missing from Kermode's list. I am glad to see an Italian movie up there. Le Quattro Volte is great but, maybe, not for everyone

  • Comment number 69.

    Please excuse the previous comment, my fingers ran away with themselves in all the excitement. Kill List was one of the strongest films of the year, which had a demonstrable effect on yourself as well as everyone I know who watched it. You were quite right to leave Drive out of your top eleven, Dr K. Kill List stayed with me long after Drive was forgotten.

  • Comment number 70.

    Right, I've had enough. Drive was, by a colossal margin, the most overrated film of 2011. I just don't get why so many people raved about it so much.

    It's not a clever, postmodern, ironic take on cliched b-movie trash - it IS cliched b-movie trash. It's a pulpy, unoriginal story with at least one groan-worthily painful plot-hole coincidence. The initial "you've got me for 5 minutes" concept sounds promising at the very start, but is actually a shameless, meaningless gimmick which goes absolutely nowhere.

    Refn certainly directs with a confident flair, but I can't think of many better examples of style over content. It's blatantly gratuitous, pointlessly using crass nudity (the strip-club dressing room) and ludicrously over-the-top violence (the elevator scene) not to serve the plot, but purely for effect.

    Gosling has charisma but he plays an empty, inscrutable, cypher-like non-character who makes no sense at all. And before I've even had the chance to say how woefully wasted Carey Mulligan is too, I bet most people reading this are saying, "But that's the point!" OK, so please explain to me HOW this point makes the film any good.

    And as for saying, "But it's just so COOL!" - argh. Is great cinema about being "cool"? Or is it about absorbing stories with engaging characters?

    Dr K, this is an excellent Top 11. The only thing that ruins it is your anxiousness and disappointment about not including Drive, when it should just be ditched like the trash it is.

    Phew. I'm done.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hi Mark,

    I'd be happy to help. It's Melancholia.

    I saw it in Cannes on the infamous night and had the actual world ended around me, I likely wouldn't have snapped out of my boredom. War of the Worlds with no aliens meets Hedda Gabler with no personality.

    Melancholia Mark. Melancholia.

  • Comment number 72.

    Hugo should go, Take Shelter should definitely be in.

  • Comment number 73.

    Hugo is brilliant, my film of the year. My list:

    1. Hugo
    2. Drive
    3. Submarine
    4. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
    5. The Skin I Live In
    6. The Guard
    7. Tyrannosaur
    8. We Need to Talk About Kevin
    9. George Harrison: Living in the Material World
    10. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

    Ignoring films that were up for Oscars last year, otherwise I would have True Grit and Black Swan in there.

  • Comment number 74.

    Good Dr, I reviewed 'Kill List' myself for a website and do not see in it the qualities you do, a few intense moments aside; I actually thought it was rather poor. It is clearly the one to be removed, for my money, and replaced with 'Drive'.

  • Comment number 75.

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes should definitely not be on your list of good films, Mark.

    While it has some redeeming features, the cardboard-cut-out characters in this movie really made me wince and spoiled it something rotten. Watch it again. There is some seriously bad dialogue and acting. The ridiculous conversion of the David Oyelowo character, for example, should be a case study in how not to make movies.

    Infinitely poorer than "Drive" IMHO.

  • Comment number 76.

    Dear Dr K,
    I completley agree with you. Congratulations for making the list perfect, because we had so many good films this year.
    I just think that you should have mentioned the "Tree of Life". Yes, it is a very floud (I hope I spelled it correctly) movie , but overall I think it was brilliant.

    Best wishes from Serbia!

  • Comment number 77.

    I liked 'Drive' but it was like watching two thirds of a great film. The plot and the characters felt under developed, knowing that it may improve on a second viewing i'll see.For me there were only four film outstanding films this year.

    4 Tinker,taylor,soldier,spy. For a film which predominantly consists of people talking its very cinematic and doesn't feel talky.

    3 Dreams of a life. Surprised this didn't at least get a mention during the docs review show. For me this story is a modern day 'Marie Celeste' trying to peice together fragments of a persons life and the circumstances of her death.

    2 We need to talk about Kevin. I know when i see this film again i'll have a different interpretation and so on with each viewing.

    1 Snow town. This is a "horror" film in the truest sense of the word. I didn't "enjoy" watching this film nor was i supposed to. People talk about the bone crunching violence in 'Drive' this film with its slow pace and matter of fact presentation of violence made me reconsider my entire attitude to screen violence.

  • Comment number 78.

    I think it's very very easy... obviously the last film on the list "Tyrannosaur", I haven't seen it I'm sure it's good but it's the last film on the list.

    My Top 10... for the record

    1. Drive
    2. Hugo
    3. Blue Valentine
    4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
    5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    6. True Grit
    7. Bobby Fischer Against the World
    8. Tree of Life
    9. Source Code
    10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

    there was about a dozen films I missed but will see on dvd We need to talk about kevin, super 8, My Week with Marilyn, Senna, The Skin I Live In, Tyrannosaur etc...

  • Comment number 79.

    Kill List, I had to wait till the DVD came out, so maybe I lost something from the cinema viewing experience but despite it being filmed in Sheffield I felt let down. It took a while to get going, once it did it was very good. The film takes a left turn which was let down by the sloppy ending. The ending has been done in other films and the plot holes are massive.

    I went back and watched it again to check that it isn't me, it isn't. A real missed opportunity, I hope the director continues though and would look forward to further work from him.

    For me films of the year are the ones you can't wait to see again and will watch again and again in ten, twenty, thirty years. I won't watch Kill List again but Drive will be in there.

    I haven't seen all the films on your list, so I cannot say which is better but thought Take Shelter was a really great film this year.

    I also though Warrior was great and enjoyed the film Win Win which for a little film had the charm of Sideways.

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh and Red State was good too.

    Probably the biggest surprise of 2011 - Not amazing but very good, well worth another viewing. John Goodman in that and the Artist. Not a bad year for him.

  • Comment number 81.

    Definitely Kill List. It was only when it reached the last 20 minutes that this turned from a rather humdrum affair to something baffling, as if the makers didn't know what to do.
    Oh and i'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the "could care less" Americanism. Less of that please!

  • Comment number 82.

    I'd say jettison Kill List. I didn't get it at all. Performances - fine. Dialogue - fine. Gritty realism - fine. Pity it doesn't make a lick of sense. I was completely at sea for the entire film, and then when it should've started to make sense it decided to make even less sense, and then it finished. And I shrugged.

  • Comment number 83.

    My omission from the list is the goat film. Only because I haven't seen it, because you actually make it sound about goat herding. The Wife couldn't be sold on a saturday night!

  • Comment number 84.

    Wel my first thoughts were ditch Benda Balili or Le Quattro Volte but since I haven't seen either of them it's wrong of me to judge them. With that in mind I will have to pick one of the others...it's not too tricky... I say ditch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Don't get me wrong, I see why you loved it, I enjoyed it myself, but Drive is the better movie. TTSS is a lovely lesson in 70s fashion and decor with some of Britain's best actors (and they all turn in superb performances) but you have to admit it is pretty slow going. It's got a treat of a cheese fondue at the end but you have to crawl through a whole load of beige shag pile to get there.
    Might I also suggest that you put ROTPOTA in its place too, as it's even better than Drive :D
    http://rogueshark.tumblr.com/

  • Comment number 85.

    Where is Warrior and 50/50 !?
    Take Senna out. It's quite clearly a documentary. My favourite documentary of the year was Being Elmo. Flawless.



    1. Drive
    2. Warrior
    3. The Descendants
    4. 50/50
    5. The Help
    6. Shame
    7. The Artist
    8. Take Shelter
    9. Midnight In Paris
    10. Crazy, Stupid, Love.

  • Comment number 86.

    @22, 41, 45-- you've made me change my mind. Dr. K should leave out The Artist, not because it isn't the fine film that so many who have seen it claim it to be (and frankly though I've not seen it, the trailer had me enraptured, will need to suitably adjust expectations before I see it when it comes round our neck of the woods Feb 20th), but for the pedantic reason you cite, it is simply not a 2011 release for the ordinary UK punter.

    This is one of the reasons that I try to have a go at the BAFTA's every year for having rules which allow films not released in the calendar year in question. Now I would never level charges of elitism at Dr. K, but BAFTA has graced 9 films to be released theatrically in 2012 with nominations on their longlist (out of 65 films). These are films which the BAFTA members have had a chance to see, but not the UK public (barring festival and "platform" release screenings). These 9 films rack up 56 nominations which is just over 20% of the 279 longlist nominations. 2 of them are released just 2 days before the 12th February Awards Ceremony. 50% of the nominations are for films which will be released on DVD in Q1 2012. Sadly this makes the BAFTA's look like a cynical marketing exercise poised irrelevantly betwixt the Globes and the Oscars. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change when the longlist gets whittled down.

    As for the critics end of year lists, well, if it's their own personal list of the films that they have happened to see in that year, then fine, can't argue with that. But by that token why consider release dates at all? Due to caring for a litter of puppies causing cabin fever isolation and temporary exile from the cinema, I caught up on a number of titles I missed from previous years, and I can say that amongst my favourite films I saw in 2011 I'd include Gilliam's Tideland and Davies' Of Time and The City. However, I think there's a reasonable expectation that professional critics lists are meant for their audience, and perhaps should be geared accordingly, not based on their at times rarefied privilege (or pain) to exalt in the great films (as well as endure the endless dross) before the rest of us.

    So, depending on which emphasis Dr. K would like to give his list, based on the films he had a chance to see or the films that we had a chance to see, then he could bump The Artist.

    Or maybe I'm just being mindlessly pedantic. All in good company here then....

  • Comment number 87.

    Mystified by the way The Guard seems to be so overlooked or forgotten in so many 2011 roundups - absolutely one of my films of the year, along with Kill List and Kind Hearts And Coronets (it's a new for 2011 print!).

  • Comment number 88.

    Either KILL LIST or MELANCHOLIA could happily go. But to be honest, I didn't think DRIVE was top ten material. I liked it, I enjoyed it, but I wasn't as blown away by it as everyone else seemed to be. SUPER 8 was the best movie of the year for me.

    http://streetrw.blogspot.com/2011/12/list-best-films-of-2011.html

  • Comment number 89.

    I would eliminate your top choice 'We Need To Talk About Kevin'.

    I was late to the party with this one, but after several weeks of positive reviews I was looking forward to it. As a middle-aged, dedicated non-parent, I may not have the attitude to see the worth in this film, but I found the whole thing very irritating, disorientating and grindingly noisy. I suspect that was the director's intention, but I also despised all three lead characters, so met the end credits without any added value or thinking I'd seen the same things as all the critics.

    I would certainly vote 'Drive' above 'Kevin'.

    I would also make room for 'Another Earth'. Many of MK's reviews of this film have placed it in the shadow of 'Melancholia'. LvT's film is a good work, but let down by one or two wooden performances amongst the cast, and took time to recover from that incredibly annoying opening 'limo' sequence. The central performances in 'Another Earth' are excellent, and for that I would displace 'Melancholia' with its shadow.

    May I also give an honourable mention to 'Sarah's Key'? Fine film, held me all the way to the end, and the final scene had me blubbing through the credits.

  • Comment number 90.

    I agree with the 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' dissenters. Didn't get it at all: it wasn't a horror film and wasn't a psychological thriller and you can't do both. The pant-crapping, eye-balling Damian of a toddler is plain evil and so is the hamster-slaughtering teen but there's no supernatural aspect to it (so not horror). But his home life is bearable (two parents, huge house) and there's no drug use (legal ones are probably the worst) so bang goes the 'loon' diagnosis (so not a psychological thriller). The tiny amount of contrition at the end utterly fails to humanise a Kevin that showed precious little humanity up to that point. There was no mundane Freudian analysis and Pinhead didn't show up. As the Russians say, it was neither meat nor fish.
    On the other hand, big plus for The Guard. Totally misleading trailer but gripping Bendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle performances and a ballsey script.

  • Comment number 91.

    I have to say that The Guard was one of the most disappointing movies I've ever seen. The script is theoretically amusing but somehow the execution just doesn't work. I sat there dispassionately thinking "yeah, that's a funny idea" but I didn't laugh.

  • Comment number 92.

    Not that I've actually seen "Drive" yet, but if you're looking to remove something from your top eleven I'd choose "Hugo". Yes, it was charming and the 3-d wasn't the worst, but as a recently graduated film student it felt like Film History 101. I can't imagine children are that interested in it once it becomes a lesson and it felt too juvenile for adults.

    My Top 10:
    1. Melancholia
    2. Margin Call
    3. Last Night
    4. Shame
    5. Midnight in Paris
    6. W.E.
    7. The Skin I live in
    8. A Dangerous Method
    9. Friends with Benefits
    10. My Week with Marilyn

  • Comment number 93.

    HUGO OUT! I'm really sorry Mark and coming from a HUGE fan of Scorsese it pains me to say how wrong I think you and seemingly the majority of people are about this film. The 3D is utterly redundant and the narrative could be lapped by a snail with a tortoise on its back it's THAT slow and directionless. My Top 10:

    10. Drive Angry- A total rip-roaring guilty pleasure that is pure OTT gold and completely unashamed of it!

    9. Kill List- The first film to make my blood run frozen cold in a LONG time, so unrelentingly set in the real world that it makes the violence and mystery THAT much more in your face and terrifying. Full on gritty violence mixed with bizarre jump cuts and a constant sense of unease over what's real or not, even David Lynch would call this one a brilliantly scary oddity.

    8. Super 8- A pure-hearted piece of totally indulgent nostalgia that harkens back those first time viewings of past classics of our childhoods like 'Jurassic Park'. The best group of kid actors I've ever seen all work so well together and the genuine violence and dread whilst restrained for its target audience is no less tense or action packed. Sentimental and touching without over-coating it in sugar, a future classic in the making.

    7. Scre4m-Lifelong dream of seeing a Scream film in a cinema fulfilled with more than worthy 4th installment that upped the anti in terms of both comedy, self-parody and great mystery over the killer's ID. Pure bloody good fun!

    6. Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy- The most action packed non-action film. The oppressively grey atmosphere of mistrust and backstabbing was matched only by the wonderful smorgasbord of acting talent and the tense verbal swordplay that flowed like a modern day Shakespeare. Gary Oldman is simply legendary.

    5. Source Code- A brilliantly simply idea that's spun out like a beautifully complex maze of genuine ingenuity and dexterity on the part of the amazing Duncan Jones who blends together exciting action set-pieces seamlessly with proper human character development. The BEST new director out there by a country mile

    4. X-Men First Class- Second only to 'The Dark Knight' in terms of a comic book based film that breaks the mold and brings to this table something that's about so much more than just superheroes with superpowers kicking ass. We get a totally balanced presentation of the argument of viewpoints of Charles and Eric and more importantly how it properly effects the others like Mystique. A swinging 60s backdrop that must surely lead to a 70s sequel that CAN.NOT.COME.SOON.ENOUGH!!! Also Fassbender FTW

    3. Blue Valentine- Few films can leave you feeling like you've been punched in the stomach and that you still enjoyed it. The most emotionally raw and moving film i have seen in a very long time, the fiery onscreen chemistry between Gosling and Williams is pitch perfect and the film presents a hoping from their current state of doomed marriage to the early dawn of their relationship in order to present a beautifully tragic masterpiece that makes you want to go out and burn all copies of "Hollywood Romance" films.

    2. Drive- Gosling again! Admittedly one's enjoyment of the film is 100% down to if you can see Los Angeles as a backdrop for a modern-day fairy tale setting, if you do then this is the most entrancing and yet brutally violent B-Movie fairy tales you will ever see. With a sublimely 80s soundtrack and the fact that as the nameless 'Driver' Gosling goes from a mild-mannered shop mechanic to a full on avenging angel equals simply one of the best films I've ever seen. The fact that Gosling and Mulligan have scenes in which they say very little is because it's all done brilliantly through the emotions conveyed in their faces. Gosling's look of loss and shame when Mulligan sees the monster he has unleashed in the lift scene is heartbreaking and when you consider seconds earlier he'd caved a guy's face in with his boot...is pretty damn special!

    1. Black Swan- Simply majestic. This film positively thrives in the darkness, darkly manipulating and twisting the tale of Swan Lake into a real life setting as Natalie Portman goes through one of the most terrifyingly dramatic character changes of all time. Mixing Lynch-like surrealism with the overtly flashy horror-melodrama of Argento, you simply can not look away for a second for fear of missing a flash of something unexplained to heighten your fright or fail to to be entranced when the final act performs its hauntingly moving dance infront of your eyes and Portman descends down the rabbit hole into full madness. The transformation scenes are also done fantastically with a genuine sense of realism that we havent seen since Cronenberg and rise above looking daft or silly to becoming genuinely unnerving and flesh-crawling. A superb supporting cast and a constant use of fascinating motives:The film of the year right at the start and has remained queen ever since!

  • Comment number 94.

    I am alarmed at the number of people claiming Kill List either didn't make sense or had a "sloppy ending". Kill List is not a straightforward narrative film. There are various moments within it which encourage the viewer to question why and how things are happening and, crucially, if they are happening at all.

    The plot does not make sense in a linear manner; neither do the motivations and behavior of certain characters. Instead these elements (and the film as a whole) are meant to reflect the fevered mental state of a shell shocked war veteran and his attempts to come to terms with the things he's done, the country which sent him to fight and where he now fits in, both in British society and the greater war machine he was part of. Throughout the film his violent and sadistic behavior is rewarded - note how many of his victims say "thank you" before he kills them. Note also how his victims and employers all seem to be part of the same group - for the purposes of the plot a pagan cult.

    Again I don't believe this is to be taken literally. Rather the cult represents the unknowably large, powerful forces which send men to war. Though he may try to tell himself that the people he is destroying are "bad people", his real reasons for being sent to fight are beyond him, the whims and ambitions of far more powerful men.

    In the end he is “crowned” for his brutal services, a metaphor for military awards for bravery.

    The main similarity I can draw is with Kubrick's The Shining. Similarly I don't think that's a straightforward story but a tour around the protagonist’s fevered and disturbed mind.

    All in my opinion, of course...

  • Comment number 95.

    Easy: Kill List
    I don't think that you credit a film purely on it scaring you, it has got to do something else as well which Drive managed to do.

  • Comment number 96.

    It has been mentioned above, but I will mention it again: "I could care less"‽ (and yes, that is an interrobang).

    I suggest that Mark watches David Mitchell's "Dear America..." soapbox episode on youtube to grasp just how upset we are about this nonsensical phrase and that he has used it without mockery...

  • Comment number 97.

    Tweeted you but darned 140 characters do limit one! Anyhow -jist of my message is to either keep the eleven films adding Drive to make it a nice round twelve., which would correspond roughly to a film of the month x 12 makes twelve movie choices. Alternatively if yoy are doggedly stuck on eleven put Drive in and take out the artist because most mortals will only be able to see it from this coming Friday making it a 2012 movie, which can then be put into the 2012 best of list. Problem solved!

  • Comment number 98.

    With the exception of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I would easily replace Drive with any of the films that you mentioned. Although I still wouldn't put Drive in my top 10 of 2011, despite enjoying it I thought it was highly overrated.

  • Comment number 99.

    All I'll say is that I'm EXTREMELY surprised 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams' didn't make your top 11, indeed didn't even get an honourable mention on the show as one of the nearly made-its!

  • Comment number 100.

    Mark, don't listen to anyone who says exclude Kill List from your list. They're wrong. Clearly.

 

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