I certainly won’t be the first to say it and I’m saying it now so I won’t be the last: 2012 has been a fantastic year for film. We’ve had major critical and commercial successes (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises), the return of directing masters (Anderson, Spielberg, Tarantino, Scott), and further outings of cult favorites (Whedon, McDonagh, Johnson).
Not only that, but even some of the films that we regarded through their trailers as laughable or nonsensical or even cliched turned out to be above average – consider Premium Rush, Pitch Perfect, or The Grey; all films we’d thought we’d seen before taken passionately by the filmmakers and made into something fresh and fun.
So, with that in mind, we’ve had a lot of strong features this year. Now, here are some of the lessons we can take away from them.
8. Movies That Battle Their Own Self-Awareness Can Still Be a Blast – Seven Psychopaths
I’ve always enjoyed Martin McDonagh’s plays (this film seems like the closest adaptation of The Pillowman we’re likely to get, and it’s still pretty far off), but the entire movie toys with its own sense of self-awareness to the perfect “t” that it’s wonderfully reminiscent of Spike Jonze’s 2002 film Adaptation. And that’s something a lot of movies just can’t work with. It comes off as too much of a wink to the audience or too hammy or too laughable for its own sake and completely takes you out of the film.
But Seven Psychopaths does the exact opposite. Its self-referencing plot twists make you eager and excited to see how the rest of the film will play out. The jokes aren’t mockeries of the characters or plot, they’re there to help inform the direction, which helps rejuvenate this somewhat lost art in cinema.
With added performances from the fantastic trio of Walken, Farrell, and Rockwell, this could have been a movie floundered by its own ambition, but which instead hits a bulls-eye in its case for an identity.
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