Best Film of 2010

Pete’s Choice- Enter the Void

Gaspar Noé, 2010

Gaspar Noé’s first feature in eight years was met with decidedly mixed reviews upon its initial release, with a large portion of these being negative. Critics accused the film of being overly self-indulgent, pretentious, and unnecessarily graphic both in its portrayal of violence and of sex. What they failed to credit it with is just how much it accomplishes with it’s aesthetic, structure and experimental approach.
The film is shot entirely in the first person, from the perspective of Tokyo drug dealer Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), with the only cuts in the otherwise fluid camerawork occuring when he blinks. Shot dead during a drugs raid, his soul proceeds to ascend from his body and begin flying over Tokyo, revisiting elements of his past before facing reincarnation.
Despite referencing the Tibetan Book of the Dead, on which Oscar‘s path to resurrection is based, the trip his soul embarks on is not supposed to be real, simply his final drug induced hallucination as he reflects on the life he is leaving behind. Therefore the Tokyo his soul flies through is every bit as bright, colourful, and sometimes scary, as it is would be experienced under the effect of hallucinogenics. With this Noé brings to the screen a representation of psychedelic drugs more accurate and visually mesmerizing than anyone before him.
Noé cites Stanley Kubrick as one of his main influences, particularly 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here it shares both the grand scope of its narrative, attempting to condense the whole of Oscar's life experience into a two and a half hour running time just as he did the history of mankind, as well as it’s fantastic cinematography and framing. It’s important to note that 2001 was similarly divisive of opinion on it’s initial release, only finding the acclaim it deserved as time passed, hopefully this will prove to be the case for Enter the Void also.

Dan’s Choice- I'm Still Here

Casey Affleck, 2010

One of the most commercially unsuccesful, and serverly overlooked movies of this year has been the Casey Affleck directed mockumentary I'm Still Here, which follows Joaquin Phoenix on his transition from recently-retired actor, to hip-hop artist, and exposing the dark side of the star's personal life. In many ways, Phoenix is the perfect candidate for a film documenting his supposed breakdown, with his upbringing in the religious cult the Children of God, the death of his brother River Phoenix, and his rehabilitation for alcholism in 2005.

The movie can be easily compared to the films of Christopher Guest, such as
Best In Show and This Is Spinal Tap, using similar awkward and embarrasing situations and docu-style filming, with the camera stalking 'Jo-pho' as he embarks on his rap career, issuing demos to an underwhelmed Sean 'Diddy' Combs, binging coke and prostitution and being defecated on by his maltreated assistant.

I'm Still Here
is the performance of Phoenix's career, and a showcase in method acting, with him lending over two years of his life to his character, devotion that hasn't been seen since Vincent D'Onofrio's mesmerizing portrayal of Gomer Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, or De Niro in Raging Bull. With Affleck's announcement of its fraudulence soon after it's release, I'm Still Here was largely disregarded by critics and audiences alike, dismissing the film as self-indulgent and narcissistic, but in truth, it is alot more than that, a journey into the psychosis of a lost and lonely individual. Whilst the film may have flopped in theatres, the place it will gather momentum on is dvd and blu-ray, and the movie is foreseeable to gain a major cult following.