Laurent Kelly’s Top 10 of 2010

Matt here… Aspiring screenwriter Laurent Kelly joined Obsessed With Film in February of this year and is the creative genius…

Matt Holmes

Editorial Team

Matt here…

Aspiring screenwriter Laurent Kelly joined Obsessed With Film in February of this year and is the creative genius behind our high-concept features including the OWF World Cup, The Other Side of Madness, Film Fail and the recent Oscar Retrospectives. He is also the author of The Writer’s Journey, an inspiring set of articles detailing his personal quest to write and sell his first screenplay.

His top ten of 2010 is below…

10. Inception

The majority of my friends and family adore this film and probably think that I’m just trying to be different by not following the bandwagon. I have no problem admitting that Inception is a film with fantastic ideas and I always root for movies which have something a bit different to offer. However, in my opinion the execution of these fine ideas left a lot to be desired. What begins as a thinking mans film which takes time to explore its captivating arena descends into a convoluted mess which seems to lose comfort in its own skin and suddenly wants to be follow in the footsteps of franchises such as James Bond and The Matrix.

As an indulgent film without humour I very quickly lost interest in the characters and so could not fall in love with the film like so many others did. However Inception will likely prove to be a very inspirational for movies which use various genres to explore this undoubtedly interesting subject matter. For that reason I think Chris Nolan’s film deserves to scrape a place on this list.

9. Another Year

An excellent family portrait with Mike Leigh once again proving that few if any of his contemporary writers have his endearing touch for detail and authenticity. This finely structured and deceptively simple film features fantastic performances from the likes of Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen.

8. Let Me In

Horror remakes usually suck because they focus too heavily on the violence at the cost of creating a suitably dark atmosphere. Luckily director Matt Reeves seemed to be all too aware of this with Let Me In as his American remake is almost as atmospheric as the brilliant Swedish original.

Let Me In succeeds because it is a film which shows key awareness of the music between the notes in its depiction of horror. In other words it is not all about the decisive moment of violence but rather what is happening on screen in the build up to and aftermath of such terrifying sequences. In such scenes the film excels in keeping the audience gripped and anxious.

7) Toy Story 3

As warm, imaginative, clever and funny as its two predecessors. Toy Story 3 may feature whacky set-pieces and elaborate plotting but it is also very much a character driven picture which is delivered with true heart and gusto. There is never a dull moment in this fine animation and it is one of those inspiring films which you can’t help but admire.

6. Winter’s Bone

A grim, convincing family drama which is not afraid to move at its own slow and steady pace. Nineteen year old actress Jennifer Lawrence reveals a maturity beyond her years in delivering such a ballsy and brave performance. Through her character we spent time in a rough and wretched world where there are no happy endings and the undercurrent of violence is felt everywhere we turn. No sentimentality exists here, this film is real and bleak and all the more impressive for it.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

Harry Potter comes of age in a film of real theatrical substance and visual flair. For the first time in the franchise there exists a true sense of dramatic urgency and the ticking time bomb effect carries the film through with a sense of purpose and tension. It is also surprising to see such mature and engaging performances from the lead cast members neither of whom I have ever truly rated.

Money is not just thrown at the screen here either as glorious set-pieces are brought to life with enchanting visual effects that are used to capture the imagination and develop the storylines as opposed to just decorating the background. At the heart of this film there is a captivating darkness which makes for an adrenalin-pumping and emotional rollercoaster ride. Here’s hoping that the second part maintains such quality.

4. Shutter Island

A flawed but exhilarating horror/thriller with a striking cinematic edge. Leonardo DiCaprio is astounding in the lead role providing a truly gut wrenching performance which frequently leaves you on the edge of your seat in a story which keeps you guessing until the end. The set-pieces are sublime and the dark, sinister atmosphere helps to make each moment unpredictable and compelling.

I consider this to be Scorsese’s best film since Goodfellas.

3. Of Gods and Men

Most films with important religious and political themes try to get by on the weight of their subject matter alone but full credit to this French film which fully understands the nature of cinema and maximises the power of the medium to provide high suspense and tension.

This is a character driven story which tests the virtues that defines people’s character. The results are unforgettable.

2. Buried

Talk about a film with balls! A man trapped in a coffin doesn’t sound like a particularly gripping idea for a feature film and yet it is credit to the bravery of screenwriter Chris Sparling that he doesn’t follow the paint by numbers formula of flashbacks or scenes where people are trying to find out the whereabouts of the protagonist. Instead we are kept in the dark and spend the entire duration of the film in the company of actor Ryan Reynolds who is armed with only a lighter and a mobile phone. Somehow this is all the film needs to provide tremendous suspense with dramatic stakes that are expertly raised throughout.

It all builds to one of the most strikingly bleak and excellently crafted unhappy endings I’ve ever witnessed.

1. The Social Network

The Social Network is an excellent film which makes you admire a man’s genius whilst despising his lack of character and human decency. The corrupt nature of power comes at the cost of friendship and loyalty and the manner in which this betrayal is organised is both slick and disheartening at the same time. Ultimately the film does a fantastic job of showing how the world is becoming an increasingly online commodity and how we have come to rely so heavily on technology in our instant gratification generation. Actors Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake are all first rate and David Fincher returns to great form after the abysmal effort that was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.